Winter

Seasonal Moods

Sprouts

In many households Brussels sprouts appear just once a year – which is such a shame when they are such a nutritionally rich vegetable. And delicious when cooked properly – rather than being left to boil for hours on end.

Loaded with vitamins A and C, folacin and calcium they also pack a fibre punch which will make sure you feel full up without piling pounds. Unsurprisingly sprouts are low in fat and calories, but you may be shocked to learn they are high in protein which, when combined with wholegrains, provides a complete protein to rival that found in meat. Great for veggies or anyone trying to reduce the amount of meat they’re eating.

As part of the cabbage family Brussels sprouts have been shown to protect against cancer thanks to a phytochemical they contain

Potatoes

There might not be a lot growing above the soil right now, but below is a fantastically nutritious vegetable which we often take for granted. The humble potato.

Eating potatoes regularly can help regulate your fluid levels as they contain potassium. To make the most of this benefit eat the skin as the highest concentration of potassium is just beneath it. Potatoes are actually almost 80 per cent water so they’re filling but not fattening – unless you smother them in butter or make them into chips! Their fibre content is half soluble and half unsoluble so can help regulate your cholesterol and keep you regular.

Plentiful at this time of year, one potato supplies 20 per cent of our daily requirement of Vitamin B6, required for the breakdown and absorption of all food we eat. It can also help reduce the symptoms of PMT and help keep your heart and nervous system healthy. They also contain iron and calcium to boot.

Raisins

necessary to convert oestrogen and vitamin D into their active forms. This is more important than ever after the menopause when hormone changes caused by falling oestrogen levels mean bone strength can break down.

Raisins are high in antioxidant phenols and help prevent cell damage in the body. And while your mum may have told you carrots are good for your eyes, fruits are actually more effective and three portions a day will help reduce your likihood of vision loss through age-related macular degeneration by more than a third.

Raisins are also a great way of upping your fruit intake as just quarter of a cup counts as a portion towards your five-a-day. And you don’t just have to have them straight. They are great added to cereal, salads and rice or couscous. Their rich sweetness also makes for a delicious stuffing for meat or adding to cakes.

Eggs

There are increasing indications that a moderate consumption of eggs (about 6 a week) could help prevent breast cancer as well. They are also a superfood for dieters as in trials those who ate an egg with breakfast every day lost twice as much weight as people who didn’t. They felt fuller for longer and had plenty of energy.

At this time of year it’s really important to include eggs in your diet regularly as they are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D which is essential when light levels are low. Not enough vitamin D can lead to fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell.

And if you want to really add some glow to your appearance, add eggs to your diet. Eggs help create healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. So much so, you might notice your hair growing faster after adding eggs to your diet, especially if you were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.