Winter is here and with it, fruits and vegetables help keep our immune systems at their best. When the seasons change it can be difficult for our immune systems to make the transition. Cooler temperatures mean an increase in lung inflammation and a spike in flu and colds. With everything, our bodies are exposed to on a daily basis coupled with the strain and stress of our daily lives our immune systems take a beating. Luckily, as always, mother nature has our backs and ensures we have foods that boost our immunity. In Winter it can be difficult to find foods high in nutrition. While there may not be the same abundance of options that comes in the fall. The fruits and vegetables grown in the winter provide our bodies with everything they need to thrive.
Let’s face it, we all want to look and feel our best. One of the best ways to do just that is by providing our bodies with the building blocks they need. During the month of December, mother nature fills our cupboards with fruits and vegetables that help bring out the best in all of us. Winter fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that support immunity, slow aging, boost metabolic rate, improve skin and hair health, support your heart health, and more! The following is a list of the best fruits in December along with their health benefits.
Oranges are popular due to their natural sweetness, the many different types available, and the diversity of uses. For example, a person can consume them in juices and marmalades, eat them whole, or use zested peel to add a tangy flavor to cakes and desserts. This popular citrus fruit is particularly known for its vitamin C content. However, oranges contain a range of other plant compounds and antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and work against disease. As an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, oranges may help combat the formation of free radicals that cause cancer. Although an adequate vitamin C intake is necessary and very beneficial, the amount a person would need for the desired therapeutic effect on cancer is more than they could realistically consume.
Oranges contain no sodium, which helps keep a person below their daily limit. On the other hand, a cup of orange juice can boost daily potassium intake by 14%. Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure. However, increasing potassium intake may be just as important for reducing a person’s risk of high blood pressure, as it can help support the relaxation and opening of blood vessels.
Dates are a good source of energy, fiber, sugar, and various vitamins and minerals. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, and zinc can be found in them. Apart from the above-mentioned nutrients, they may also contain important vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K. The insoluble fiber found in dates may potentially promote healthy digestion by bulking up the stool and may also aid in relieving the symptoms of constipation.
Dates can be a good source of many nutrients, including iron. A deficiency of iron can contribute to anemia, a condition characterized by fatigue, dizziness, brittle nails, and shortness of breath. In 2006, an animal study revealed the effects of date palm pollen and its oil on sexual functioning, reporting that the high levels of estradiol and flavonoid components in dates are helping increase sperm count and motility. Therefore, if you are looking for an easy way to boost your libido and sexual function, you may consider consuming organic dates, thanks to their aphrodisiac-like properties.
The health benefits of lemon might be attributed to its vitamin C content. It can help improve skin health, promote weight loss, and may act as a breath freshener. Lemons may also help with dental problems, throat infections, and high blood pressure. These citrus fruits can also be used in skin and hair care. Lemon may also help to strengthen your immune system. Lemon juice might help you manage your blood pressure with long-term use. Drinking warm water with lemon and honey in the morning is said to aid your weight loss efforts. While that might or might not work for you, a research study performed on mice confirmed that polyphenols present in it can suppress body weight gain and body fat accumulation.
Lemon can be used in cleaning teeth. While most remedies will advocate using lemon and baking soda, try and avoid it as it may lead to dental erosion. The safest way is to choose a toothpaste containing this fruit as one of the ingredients. If you are keen to use lemon or its juice for oral care, it is best to consult with a medical expert before trying out anything new. Lemon juice, being a natural antiseptic medicine, may also be able to cure problems related to the skin. The juice contains vitamin C, and therefore, it can be applied to reduce the pain of sunburns and bee stings as well. It is also good for acne and eczema. Lemon juice may assist in relieving respiratory problems and breathing problems, such as its ability to soothe a person suffering from asthma.
Probably the most known benefit of cranberry juice is that it can prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). You may not immediately think of cranberries as a way to prevent cavities, but research shows the same a-type proanthocyanidins that help prevent UTIs can help in other ways. Cranberries have anti-inflammatory effects, thanks to their high amounts of antioxidants, especially anthocyanins and flavanols, which give cranberries their dark hue. If you eat an animal-based diet, cranberries can help put good bacteria into your digestive system. From lowering blood pressure to improving your cholesterol levels, cranberries can help improve your overall heart health. Cranberries may also help lower your LDL (bad). Cranberries contain a plant compound that may reduce the risk of gastric ulcers and stomach cancer caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Cranberries are one of the best food sources of ursolic acid, a plant compound with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potential anti-cancer effects.
These help keep free radicals from bouncing around your body, which has been linked to cell damage and diseases such as cancer. But while most fruits have some sort of antioxidants such as vitamin C, pomegranates have the benefit of especially potent ones called polyphenols that also give the fruits their color. These polyphenols are the same compounds that give green tea its healthy edge. They also contain almost half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, and have three times more antioxidants than tea or red wine, according to Medical News Today.
Pomegranates can aid your digestive tract in more ways than one, which is especially helpful during the holiday season when the meals get a little bigger. Juice from pomegranates has been found to reduce inflammation in the gut that’s related to Crohn’s disease and colitis, allowing food to pass more freely. Meanwhile, pomegranates also contain a pretty healthy dose of dietary fiber – about 7 grams per cup of arils (seed coverings) according to Healthline. Not only can the fruit juice help stop the hardening of the arteries (known in the medical world as atherosclerosis), but also it may even be able to reverse the damage and clear clogged passages, according to WebMD.
Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Serves 12
- 1/2 cup dairy-free greek yogurt
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- zest of a lemon
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup powdered coconut sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pretreat an 8-inch round cake pan with a non-stick option of choice (I recommend lining it with parchment paper). In a large bowl, combine yogurt, sugar, and eggs. Blend until smooth. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and zest. Mix until combined. Slowly add the dry into the wet and mix until combined. Add in the oil and stir well until smooth. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cake feels spongy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack and top with the glaze.
Detoxing Lemon Smoothie
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 1
- 1/2 cup frozen peaches
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
- 3/4 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup frozen mango
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger
- 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp vanilla protein powder of choice
- 1/2 Tbsp maple date syrup
- 1 Tbsp ground chia seeds
Into a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
Sticky Date Pudding
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Serves 4
- 3/4 cup Vegan butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup brown coconut sugar
- 3/4 cup walnuts chopped
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup dried figs chopped
- 1 cup coconut milk full-fat
- 3/4 cup dried dates pitted chopped
- 1 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 2 cups brown coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 cups coconut cream
Soak dates and figs in coconut milk until soft. Into a large bowl, add softened butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat together all the ingredients are well combined. Once combined, add the flour, baking powder, cocoa, milk fig mixture, and nuts. Beat until the batter is well combined and glossy. Spoon the batter into a cupcake pan that is pretreated with the non-stick option of choice. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (around 40-45 minutes). For the sauce, place the sugar and melted butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly. Let the mixture bubble for 2-3 minutes before adding the cream. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the sauce is thick. Remove from heat and let thicken off heat. When ready to eat top the cake with sauce and enjoy.
Cranberry Maple Pecan Baked Oatmeal
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Serves 6
- 2 cups oats
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 5 Tbsp date syrup
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp pure vanilla
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 cup frozen cranberries
Cinnamon Maple Glaze:
- 1/2 cup powdered coconut sugar
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp coconut milk
- pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pretreat a 9×9 baking dish with a non-stick option of choice. In a large bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and pecans. In a separate bowl whisk together milk, syrup, egg, zest, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. Stir in the berries. Place the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden and the oatmeal is set. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. While cooling whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze and pour over the top.
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Keeping your body free of toxins and free radicals is necessary to maintain a healthy life and a healthy mind. There are tons of foods you can add to your regular diet to help your body with its critical detoxifying processes. If you are looking for a safe and all-natural way to detox your body at home be sure to check out my Balancing Abundance Program. Because detoxing is so important and realistically everyone should be doing it on at least a seasonal basis I have taken the time to put together a program to help you do just that. Here’s the thing, I know working with me one-on-one can seem difficult to get into (due to limited space) and I wanted to be able to give everyone an additional solution that has no limits. You deserve to be happy, healthy, and successful at everything you do so here are some recipes to help set you up for success!
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