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Winter fruits and vegetables - tips for eating seasonally banner
Winter fruits and vegetables - tips for eating seasonally banner

Winter fruits and vegetables - tips for eating seasonally

Check out our tips for eating seasonally this winter. They’ll help keep your health on track during the colder months with a vibrant range of high quality, nutrient packed plant foods. By eating seasonally, you ensure you get the best quality - especially when you're eating fresh fruit, and raw vegetables in salads - and the best value fruit and veg for all your favourite hearty winter meals. 

Fruit

Apples

Apples are the classic go-anywhere fresh snack, and when winter comes around there’s a wide range available to suit all tastes. They’re also delicious in classic comfort foods such as apple crumble, which you can make in tasty wholegrain varieties. Don't worry to peel apples when you use them in cooking, you'll save some time and the skin gives your recipe an extra boost of fibre.

Oranges

There aren’t many more refreshing things to eat than a fresh, juicy orange. When we think of oranges we often think of desserts, but they’re also great for bringing a burst of flavour to salads and savoury side dishes. Try our Orange and chickpea couscous recipe. The vitamin C they contain also helps with the absorption of iron from plant foods like spinach, so grab one for a sweet finish to your plant based meal that also boosts your iron intake.

Oranges, lemons, limes

You can use the juice and zest of lemons, limes and oranges on their own, or with some good-quality olive oil and garlic as a simple, delicious dressing for salads and vegetables. Just like a fresh orange, the vitamin C found in all citrus juice is great for making plant based iron more bioavailable, so use these dressings to get the most out of your leafy greens. 

Rhubarb

Stewed rhubarb can be enjoyed hot or cold in everything from pies to a tasty oatmeal-based topping.

Vegetables

Those cold winter days are a great time for soup, so it’s good news that the best soup vegetables are in season in winter.

Carrots, pumpkin, leeks, turnips, sweet potato

Carrots, pumpkin, leeks, turnips and sweet potato are all perfect in soups, either as the star of the recipe or as part of a delicious mixed vegetable variety. Soups can be a great way of making sure you’re getting your serves of healthy, high fibre veggies and fluid in at the same time during the winter cold and flu season.

Broccoli, silverbeet, spinach

Steamed broccoli with slivered almonds is a simple but delicious side dish, while silverbeet and spinach are tasty lightly steamed or sauteed with some fragrant garlic. Spinach and silverbeet are great sources of iron when eaten in a meal with a good source of vitamin C, while broccoli is high in fibre and a handy source of protein, making it filling while still being low in kilojoules.

Winter vegetables are also handy for filling out other recipes.

Carrots, turnips, parsnips, pumpkin broccoli, cauliflower

You can fill out casseroles, bolognese, curries and pies with vegetables such as carrots, turnips, parsnips, pumpkin, broccoli and cauliflower – all inexpensive, tasty and healthy ingredients that will help reach your 5 daily serves of vegetables without even thinking about it. By swapping in more vegetables for the meat traditionally used in these meals you can raise the fibre content and lower the kilojoule and saturated fat content, turning them into heart healthy winter warmers that can also help with weight management. 

In many ways we’re lucky to have access to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables all year around, but there’s a lot to be gained by eating seasonally. By knowing what to look out for, you can get the best quality produce at the cheapest prices. And by choosing seasonal produce, you can avoid getting stuck in a food rut and enjoy the anticipation of all the delicious new choices you’ll get as the next season rolls around.

First published in Sanitarium’s Good food news.

Daily handful of nuts can keep your heart healthy banner
Daily handful of nuts can keep your heart healthy banner

Daily handful of nuts can keep your heart healthy

Heart disease (including heart attack and stroke) is Australia’s biggest killer, causing 45, 392 deaths in 2015 alone. That’s one Australian death every 12 minutes.

However, more research is showing that a daily handful of nuts can keep your heart happy and ticking for longer.

In fact, a recent review showed that if you eat ¼ cup (about 30 g) of unsalted nuts each day, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 27%! Or by 31% if peanuts are consumed.

Another reputable study showed that it’s possible to reduce your risk of death from chronic diseases like heart disease by up to 20% if nuts are eaten 7 or more times each week.

When it comes to your waistline, studies show that a regular intake of nuts does not change your weight. In fact, those who consume nuts daily have a slimmer waistline, experience less weight gain, and have a lower risk of being overweight or obese.

Unfortunately, Australians aren’t eating enough nuts. Data from the latest Australian Health Survey, summarised by Nuts for Life, shows that Australians consume just 6g of nuts per day! This is far short of the 30g recommended serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Why are nuts so good?

Nuts are good at protecting you and your heart because they contain good sources of fibre, polyunsaturated fats, magnesium, vitamin E and antioxidants.

Fibre: can reduce your blood cholesterol levels by catching cholesterol in your gut and stopping it from being absorbed into your blood stream.
Polyunsaturated fats: help keep your LDL (bad) cholesterol low.
Magnesium: helps keep your heart muscle healthy, improves stress control, and can reduce sudden cardiac death.
Vitamin E: is a powerful antioxidant that can help capture lone molecules or ‘free radicals’ that can cause damage and inflammation in your heart and blood vessels.

Have nuts, peanuts, and other plant foods too

When choosing nuts, make sure they’re fresh and unsalted. Also aim for a variety, including almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans and macadamias. And don’t forget to eat some peanuts too (sometimes classified as a nut but they're actually a legume). And try these ideas in our Nuts and nutrition article for easy ways to include more nuts into your diet.

If you include a variety of wholegrains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits in your diet too, your risk of heart disease can be reduced even further. Adding regular exercise and movement to your day will also keep your heart strong, and support good blood flow.

How do I know if my heart is at risk?

Heart disease is a serious health concern and can kill without notice. So watch your heart by getting regular weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol checks with your doctor. If you’ve got high cholesterol, high blood pressure, if you’re overweight or obese, a smoker, or have an inactive lifestyle, then it’s likely that your heart may be in need of some urgent care. There's more info on heart health, in our Heart healthy living article.