My mom always used to say that summer is the best time of the year to eat. It’s hard to argue with this, especially when you think of all the delicious, mouth-watering fruits and vegetables that characterize eating during the summer season.
It’s another way, in addition to the weather, that winter gets a bad rap. It’s a little more challenging to get fresh fruit during the winter, since there aren’t as many fruits to choose from, and the harshness of winter weather makes it harder to grow most fruits. We need to keep eating fruit during the winter, though, as fresh fruits and vegetables are recognized as a vital part of a healthy diet. The US dietary guidelines recommend 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day for optimal health.
Fruit might not be as plentiful in the winter, but there are still some fabulous seasonal winter fruits. It’s not a coincidence that these fruits are packed with both nutritional value and properties to help us in the winter season. Many of them have benefits for fertility as well.
Here are 5 fertility-boosting fruits that are great for eating in the winter.
Generally speaking, citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemons rule the winter season. They’re loaded with Vitamin C which helps boost our immune system so we can fight off those pesky winter colds and other winter bugs.
Citrus fruits are also a surprisingly good source of folate – which is crucial for prenatal health – fiber and flavonoids, which are good for reducing risk heart disease and for overall heart health. Citrus fruits are also high in water content, which has tremendous benefits for fertility.
I specifically call out clementines because they make a great quick, on-the-go snack (and they’re easy to peel, bonus!) – but any kind of orange you love will work. Throw a few juicing oranges or grapefruits into your juicer for fresh juice, or squeeze half a lemon in your morning water.
Oh, how I love pears. For me, there’s nothing like a crisp, juicy pear on a brisk winter day.
Pears have many of the same benefits as citrus fruits. They’re good sources of Vitamin C and folate. They’re also high in water content so they help keep us hydrated during the dry winter months, and also promotes excretion of toxins from our body. I regularly offer pears during my winter cleanse due to these properties.
One really great thing about pears is that they’re a fantastic source of fiber. Just one pear gives a woman 6 grams of fiber, one-fourth of the fiber she needs (25 grams for a woman under 50) for the entire day. Fiber helps keep the digestive system in good working order, reduce constipation, inflammation and cholesterol levels.
In a word, pears are awesome. And they taste great! Enjoy them for an afternoon snack or throw one in your morning smoothie.
Pomegranates are one of those fruits that gets overlooked. They’re kind of messy to eat and it takes effort to spoon out all the seeds, so it’s not the easiest choice when you want something quick.
But they are sure worth the effort. Like citrus fruits and pears, pomegranates are a good source of Vitamin C for boosting our immune system and fiber for digestion. Pomegranates are also loaded with antioxidants which helps protect the quality of our cells – including our precious egg and sperm cells – and reduce inflammation which wards off chronic illness.
For fertility, pomegranate helps increase blood flow to the uterus and improve the quality of the endometrial lining, so pomegranates are great for uterine health. They also help stimulate a healthy sex drive, which is always a good thing when trying to conceive. J
You can enjoy pomegranate at any time of the day – simply throw the seeds on your morning oatmeal, your lunchtime salad, or at dinner as a garnish for your soup.
Berries aren’t as ubiquitous in winter as they are in the summer, but cranberries are one hearty berry that’s plentiful in the winter months. Like the other winter fruits already mentioned, cranberries help boost our immune system which is so crucial during this time of the year.
Like other berries, cranberries are rich in antioxidants to protect our cell quality. It pays for everyone on a fertility journey to be concerned about egg quality, and it’s especially important if you’re of advanced maternal age or have suffered pregnancy losses.
Research has also suggested that cranberry consumption can help with managing or preventing urinary tract infections, and can improve prostate health in men.
Unlike the sweet berries of summer, cranberries are tart, and many commercial dried cranberries and cranberry juices have added sugar, which can negate the benefits of eating them. A good way to eat cranberries in their natural form is to make a trail mix with cranberries, nuts, seeds, cacao nibs and flaked unsweetened coconut. The trail mix is a substantial, healthy snack, and the coconut and cacao will serve to counter the tartness of the cranberries.
Grapes are fun! And they’re good for us. Key nutrients found in grapes include Vitamins C and K, and they’re a good source of antioxidants and are beneficial for heart health and to ward off disease through strengthening our immune system.
So grapes are good, but make sure you buy organic. Commercially grown grapes are often treated with harmful pesticides, and grapes regularly appear on the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen list.
In case you’re wondering which grapes are healthier, red or green, there’s really little difference. Red grapes get a slight edge because they get their color from a boost of flavonoids (the same antioxidant found in oranges), but it’s pretty negligible. The healthiest grapes are the ones you’ll actually eat. If you prefer green grapes – as I do – eat and enjoy them!
Grapes are a good finger food, so they make a terrific snack. One of my favorite snacks to help me power through the afternoon is a handful of green grapes and raw almonds. Aim for a cup of grapes a day.
Did you notice a theme among the winter fruits? They’re rich in vitamin C. They’re immune boosters which we need when we’re more susceptible to illness. They’re anti-inflammatory which also keeps us from getting sick. They help keep us hydrated during the dry winter months. Mother Nature has yet again given us exactly what we need, when we need it.
Which are your favorite fruits to eat during the winter? Leave a comment and let me know!