This time of year you don’t necessarily want to eat fruit, but it can boost your immune system and help you maintain a healthy weight.
You may be surprised to learn that pineapple is a seasonal fruit in winter in Europe. When winter hits, you might find yourself gravitating towards winter squash and other hearty vegetables. But don’t forget the fruit. It’s important to make room for them in your diet because the nutrients in these fruits support the immune system and your overall health, not to mention a healthy weight.
Fruits rich in vitamin C
When it comes to immunity, vitamin C is a star nutrient for fighting colds and winter illnesses and citrus fruits are full of it. Vitamin C is a powerful, evidence-based, well-researched, and very well-studied antiviral. To get the most benefits, past research suggests whole foods containing vitamin C are preferred over vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements. Also, be sure to spread your vitamin C-containing foods throughout the day, as this vitamin is water-soluble, which means your body will flush out any excess of this nutrient.
Vitamin C helps the body produce white blood cells, warrior cells of the immune system. These cells attack foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. And while vitamin C doesn’t prevent you from catching a cold, it could reduce the duration and severity of your illness. It could therefore prevent your simple sniffle from developing into something more serious, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. While vitamin C-rich citrus fruits may be a winter highlight, they’re not the only nutritious fruits the season has to offer. Here are eight of the best fruits to eat in winter.
1 Pears for their high fiber content
One pear provides 5.58 grams (g) of fiber, making it a good source of this nutrient. Fiber is important for the immune system because it encourages good bacteria to grow. The more fiber you take in, the more you increase the population of immune cells. What’s more, fibrous foods, including pears, may independently help support a healthy weight, as found in a randomized controlled trial published in October 2019 in the Journal of Nutrition. Fiber promotes satiety, which can prevent overeating.
2 Pineapple, like citrus fruits, is an excellent source of vitamin C with 78.9 milligrams (mg) in 1 cup. This tropical fruit also has other health benefits, including disease-fighting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity and benefits for the nervous and digestive systems, according to a September 2020 analysis published in Food Research International.
The holiday dinner staple isn’t just festive, it’s also nutritious. According to a study published in Advances in Nutrition, cranberries may help lower cholesterol levels as well as the risk of developing coronary heart disease. They are also a good source of vitamin C, with 14 mg in a cup of whole, raw cranberries. Sprinkling cranberries is a great way to liven up your salads.
This Asian fruit is a good source of vitamin A, with 138 micrograms (mcg) in one fruit Vitamin A may improve immune function and help protect the body against infectious diseases, according to a review published in September 2018 in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. “It’s important for our barrier immunity, which is our lining in the throat and lungs.
One orange contains nearly 82 mg of vitamin C, making it an excellent source of this vitamin. But don’t try to replace real fruit juice with brick juice. It’s best to eat the whole fruit, as the juice usually contains added sugar and essential nutrients like fiber. An orange is a good source of fibre, with 3.6g, so you won’t want to miss it. Pro tip: If you’re not a fan of oranges, try tangerines or clementines, which are nutritionally similar.
Grapefruit is another excellent source of vitamin C, half a raw grapefruit contains 43.7 mg. Grapefruit also contains lycopene, which has antioxidant properties and may play a role in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer, according to a study published in Oncology.
A cup of this festive red fruit is an excellent source of fiber (7 g) and a good source of vitamin C (17.8 mg). Additionally, pomegranate is rich in vitamin K, with 28.7 mcg in one cup. Vitamin K helps blood clot and promotes healthy bones in the body, according to the NIH.
8 The Kiwi
One kiwi contains 56 mg of vitamin C, making it an excellent source of this vitamin. Eat a kiwi for breakfast. It’s a great way to refuel vitamin C and fuel your immune system early in the day. Kiwifruit is also an excellent source of vitamin K, with 30.2 mcg per fruit. Fun fact: you can enjoy this fruit with the skin on, contrary to popular belief. You can do this to increase the health benefits even more: The skin increases its fiber content by 50%.