You might not think of winter as a bountiful fruit season, but there are quite a few fruits that are available during the coldest months. Here are a few common winter fruits and their health benefits.
Some of the winter fruits below grow during winter months, while others are fall fruits you can naturally store well into the winter months. What they have in common is that they’re readily available all winter long, just when your body needs a boost of vitamins and minerals to fight the winter ick.
HEALTHY WINTER FRUITS
Grapefruit is high in vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. It also contains powerful cancer-fighting compounds that protect us from stomach, pancreatic, bladder and cervical cancer.
It’s also a natural source of naturally-occurring salicylic acid, aka aspirin. Perfect for when you have a cold or flu and need a little bit of pain relief!
The last apple harvest of the year is usually in early- to mid-fall, but these fruits are hardy enough to store well into the winter months. And that’s great news for your health!
Apples are packed with healthy fiber, which supports healthy blood sugar, a healthy heart and weight loss. They’re also good sources of vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A and C, iron and potassium.
There is some evidence that apples may help protect us from respiratory disease, which makes them a perfect snack during cold and flu season.
Like apples, pears are a hardy fall fruit that keep well all winter. They have a low glycemic index, meaning that they help control your blood sugar.
There are a few interesting studies out there about pears and our health. One study found that pears may help reduce stroke risk. Another suggests that pears and apples help reduce lung cancer risk in women. And a third study found that they might help support healthy weight loss.
Kiwi season is deliciously long and includes all of the winter months, and there are so many great reasons to eat this tangy, fuzzy fruit!
Eating kiwi aids digestion, balances our electrolytes, boost our immune system and may help prevent cancer. Two to three kiwi a day may also help prevent blood clots without the side effects you get from daily aspirin. Kiwi is also rich in antioxidants that support immune health, so they might just help keep you from getting a cold this winter.
For the most health benefit, try leaving the skin on your kiwi when you eat it. The fuzzy texture might feel a bit strange at first, but the extra fiber is well worth it. Plus, when you don’t peel, you get more kiwi for your buck!
Lemons don’t get enough credit for their amazing health benefits. Of course, like all citrus fruit, they’re packed with vitamin C, but they also contain compounds that protect us from cancer, eye disorders and kidney stones.
When you’re juicing a lemon, make sure you reserve some of the lemon’s zest—the bright yellow part of the peel. Lemon zest is lovely in soups, sauces and baked goods. And lemon zest actually contains compounds that supports brain health.
6. Mandarin Oranges (and other tangerines)
Step away from the canned mandarin oranges in syrup and reach for the fresh mandarins in the produce section! Mandarin oranges and other tangerines are winter fruits packed with health benefits.
Studies have found that mandarin oranges may help prevent liver and breast cancer. And there are compounds in the peels that protect us from leukemia, so sprinkle some tangerine zest into your next bowl of oatmeal or smoothie!
One study also found that a compound found in tangerines supports heart health, especially if you’re diabetic, by reducing the hardening of your arteries.
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