Cookies on the Healthspan site
Some people may want to eat seasonally for both environmental and nutrition reasons, but may find it more of a challenge in autumn and winter given the reduced choice available. However, squash, pumpkin, beetroot and parsnips are in abundance during these months, as are dark green vegetables like kale.
There may be other vegetables that you haven't thought to try due to being unsure how best to prepare them. Here are three nutritious favourites and some tips on how to make them part of your winter diet.
This brightly coloured root vegetable comes in many varieties including red, golden and stripy.
Beetroot can be good for blood pressure as it contains high amounts of potassium and is a rich source of nitrates. These chemicals are converted into nitrite when combined with saliva in the body, and help to dilate blood vessels.
A large meta-analysis of the research linking beetroot to blood pressure showed that it had a significant effect, but the analysed studies were limited to beetroot juice and supplements.1
Potassium 19% NRV
Phosphorus 7% NRV
Iron 7% NRV
Folate 75% NRV
Vitamin C 7% NRV
Fibre – 2.5g (9% recommended daily amount)
Beetroot is good raw or cooked – roasted beetroot is delicious when seasoned with lemon juice, coriander and salt.
Raw beetroot can be added to salads and works well as a healthy slaw with apple, carrot, cabbage and red onion, then dressed with a vinaigrette or just lemon juice. Coconut also works well with beetroot, especially in curry.
This vegetable has a nutty, celery-like flavour and is a source of vitamin B1, which helps convert food into energy and keeps your nervous system healthy.
Celeriac is also a good source of potassium, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure, and folate, which is required to make healthy red blood cells.
Potassium 23% NRV
Phosphorus 9% NRV
Thiamin (B1) 16% NRV
Folate 26% NRV
Vitamin C 18% NRV
Fibre 4.6g (16% recommended daily amount)
Celeriac works well when it's mashed, making it a good alternative to potato. You can also mash celeriac together with cauliflower, to make something more nutritious that works well on healthy pies and hearty winter stews. Celeriac, like other root vegetables, also works well in soups, and can be used to make gratins when combined with other ingredients such as leeks, creme fraiche and cheese.
This knobbly vegetable is also known as a sunchoke, but is not related to the more attractive looking globe artichoke. Jerusalem artichokes have a nutty and slightly sweet flavour, with a crunchy texture similar to water chestnuts. What makes this vegetable particularly impressive is its high content of fibre (inulin) which acts as a prebiotic in the body, helping bacteria in the gut to flourish.
Potassium 21% NRV
Copper 12% NRV
Phosphorus 12% NRV
Thiamin (B1) 9% NRV
Fibre 9g (30% recommended daily amount)
Jerusalem artichokes work really well when sliced like potatoes over pies or as a gratin. These vegetables also work well roasted or mashed and are one of the few roots that can be eaten raw. You can also use Jerusalem artichokes to make delicious soups which work well with sage or a little truffle oil. They’re also great sliced, roasted then cooled to use in salads.
180 calories per serving
Rob Hobson MSc RNutr is a Registered Nutritionist who has worked with some of the UK’s largest food and health companies and performs training in the public health sector (including government agencies and the NHS). Rob contributes regularly to UK press publications and has a monthly column in Women's Health magazine.
Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible, supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.