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Winter vegetables: a mine of benefits to rediscover

White and green,with a few exceptions: orange carrots and purple cabbage. But, for the rest,  two colours stand out: the white of fennels, leeks and cauliflowers and the green of green leafy vegetables, cabbages and artichokes.

It’s this that deceives us: the little variety of colours leads us to think that in wintertime there is little variety of vegetables, when instead we have as many vegetables as in the summer.

Let’s discover the variety and quality of vegetables during the cold weather and, in particular, cruciferous vegetables and green leafy vegetables.

Cruciferous vegetables

Also called brassicas, these include cauliflowers, broccoli, savoy cabbages, head cabbages, and also turnips and rocket.

In general, they are rich in glucosinolates that have been proven to advantageously interfere against some tumour proliferation processes.

The way we preserve and cook these vegetables influences the absorption of such substances, which increases if we eat these vegetables uncooked, as fresh as possible, and chewing them very well.

Another advantage of cruciferous vegetables is the calcium content, which is among the highest in the vegetable world, and with a relevant concentration of vitamin K, which can contribute to the mineralization of our bony tissue.

Green leafy vegetables

This is the family of spinach, chard, bitter chicory and chicory.

If we find them freshly picked and tender, it is a good time to consume them raw, in salads or juices, to take as much as possible advantage of their vitamin content – which diminishes when we cook them, because of the heat and boiling water.

Among the vitamins of this family of vegetables, folates are particularly important and their name derives just from the fact that they abound in the leafy vegetables.

For a woman who is planning a pregnancy, a good supply of this vitamin is of great importance for the proper development of the central nervous system of the unborn child: folates are needed in a crucial stage of the first few weeks of pregnancy, when the mother may not know yet that she is pregnant.

The folates also help haemoglobin synthesis, and foster the production of well functioning red blood cells.

Eaten cooked, finally, these vegetables provide us with an excellent supply of fibres in light and digestible dishes.