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Σάββατο, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

December Superfoods

Drop the eggnog and the sugar cookies! While December may be more well-known for holiday parties and the requisite buffets of baked goods, there are a number of powerhouse fruits and veggies ripe for the picking as the year draws to a close.
The five December superfoods in the slideshow below are also great complements to a lot of the flavors we highlighted in November, many of which are still in season this month. Check out our picks for the best seasonal produce this month and how to enjoy them. Think of something we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Mushrooms
Why we love them: Mushrooms provide a burst of flavor without adding many calories. A number of varieties have antiviral, immunity-bosting and anti-inflammatory properities, WebMD reported. Certain kinds, like shiitake, may lower cholesterol and fight cancer. They’re also rich in selenium, says Vandana Sheth, R.D., C.D.E., registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This antioxidant protects against heart disease, aging and some cancers, she says, and is often found in meat, making mushrooms a good pick for vegetarians.

How to enjoy them: "One of the easiest ways to enjoy is in a salad raw,” says Sheth. “Or, sauté in a little olive oil and garlic. You get a little extra kick and still retain the nutrients,” she says. You can also try chopping the ‘shrooms, stir frying them and serving on top of toasts as a take on bruschetta.
 
Bok Choy
Why we love it: While its relative, cabbage, made our October list, bok choy, which hits peak season in winter months, carries many of the same benefits, says Sheth. "It's a good source of vitamin K, which plays a role in healthy bones, and research shows a connection between vitamin K and possibly some kind of benefit with Alzheimer's,” she says.

How to enjoy it: "The simplest way is just steamed or stir fried," says Sheth. And be careful not to overcook it, which can sap both nutrients and flavor from the leafy green.
 
 
Broccoli
Why we love it: Broccoli's healthy reputation is well deserved. It's loaded with fiber and vitamin C, low in calories and has one of the highest antioxidant ratings around, says Sheth. Broccoli also boasts calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins B, E and K for protection again cancer, heart disease, stroke, vision problems, bone loss and more.

How to enjoy it: If you're tired of the raw stuff in salads or steaming it for stir fries, get creative. Try it in a cozy soup or slice it extra thin for a broccoli slaw
 
 
Celeriac
Why we love it: Also known as celery root, this earthy bulb is rich in fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium. There's been some suggestion that celeriac can fight cancer, especially colon cancer, says Sheth. Its peak season ends in December, she adds, so get it while you can.

How to enjoy it: Try roasting celeriac alongside other fall and winter veggies, with a little olive oil and fresh herbs and spices. "Enjoy it as a side dish or toss it on top of salads," Sheth suggests.
 
 
Garlic
Why we love it: This aromatic bulb can protect against certain cancers and help fight off bacteria and viruses. Allicin, a compound found in garlic and its cousins, onions, “is a big source of cancer protection,” Sheth says.

How to enjoy it: "You can get the benefits from a supplement, but there's nothing like eating it," she says. “It adds so much flavor to everything!”
 
 
 
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/healthy-living/

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