When you buy fruits and vegetables in season, they’re more likely to be locally sourced and less likely to be picked before they are fully ripened, which compromises taste and nutrient value. They’re also going to be cheaper because the supply is greater, and they’re less likely to have been shipped from somewhere else.
Eating produce while it’s in season ensures you’ll eat a variety of crops, which contributes to a balanced diet.
Here are 10 of Arizona’s most nutritious vegetables in season during the winter. Learn more about them at the from the Arizona Farm Bureau’s www.fillyourplate.org website.
- Bok choy — Very low-calorie and low-carb, this dark leafy green most often seen in Asian dishes is packed with vitamins A, C, K and B6 as well as beta-carotene, folate and calcium.
- Broccoli — This superfood is packed with fiber and vitamins A, C, E, K and most of the vitamin B spectrum. It’s thought to have some anti-cancer properties and may fight prostate cancer.
- Brussels sprouts — These have many of the same nutrients as bok choy but are especially strong in antioxidant and fiber content. They may help protect you against cancer and high blood sugar.
- Clementines — These tiny citrus hybrids will fortify you with up to 40% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which contributes to skin health along with other positives.
- Kohlrabi — This bulbous brassica (you can eat the leaves, too) has tons of vitamin C and potassium, and can prevent cell damage and improve heart health.
- Lemons — Sour, but so good, these carry flavonoids and potassium that according to some research can reduce stroke risk. Other studies have found a possible link to weight loss.
- Lettuce — Often overlooked, the bedrock of salad contains plenty of fiber, iron, folate and vitamin C. Green leaf, romaine and red-tinged varieties are generally more nutritious than iceberg.
- Radishes — These gems provide potassium that helps lower blood pressure, anthocyanins to aid heart function, and they help keep you hydrated with their high water content.
- Rutabaga — These are high in glucosinolates, antioxidants that reduce inflammation and may protect against heart disease and several forms of cancer.
- Sweet potatoes — These can have up to 400% of your recommended daily value of vitamin A, which boosts your immune system, vision, skin and reproductive health.
Photo by Prescott Farmers Market