Many people will be very glad to see the back of January, for lots of different reasons! And now February, the month of love, is here!
It is a great time to welcome some seasonal food that can help to lift your mood and hopefully put a smile on your face.
Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares five seasonal foods for February and explains why they’ll help boost your feelings of happiness.
Jerusalem artichokes help to feed the good gut bacteria. This in turn helps produce more serotonin, our happy hormone, primarily made in the gut. Interestingly, Jerusalem artichokes have no link to the city or other artichokes: it is likely that the name ‘Jerusalem’ is derived from the word girasole which is Italian for sunflower.
As a vegetable they are quite delicious and whilst they may be slightly awkward to prepare, because of their knobbly shape, it’s well worth the effort. They can be cooked as you would potatoes, either roasted, sautéed or boiled. Jerusalem artichokes can also be eaten raw in salads and they’re great lightly stir-fried with the skin left on.
Scallops are high in brain-boosting zinc, vitamin B12 and niacin (vitamin B3). All these nutrients are needed to help produce our brain neurotransmitters, including serotonin.
We can be very proud of the quality of our scallops from the English waters as they generally have a really fine soft texture and a slightly sweet taste. Scallops balance really well with strong flavours such as bacon but also Oriental spices including lemongrass, chilli and ginger. Indeed, ginger also helps feed the good gut bacteria so eating them lightly fried in a little olive oil with ginger is going to support your immunity.
Passion fruits descend from the Passiflora plant and can naturally help anxiety, plus induce feelings of calm. Whilst passion fruits are clearly not grown in the UK, imports are readily available at this time of year.
Passion fruits are rich sources of vitamin A and vitamin C which help to keep the immune system in good shape. They also contain some energy-boosting iron. The seeds are also packed with fibre and both the pulp and seeds can be eaten. The sieved juice is great slightly heated,with a little coconut sugar added, which makes a wonderful coulis to pour over fruit salad or your favourite chocolate fudge cake. Now that will certainly put a smile on your face!
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Its rich dark colour means it’s high in anti-aging antioxidants to help support anti-ageing – and that’s really something to smile about! The darker the colour of any fruit or vegetable, the more nutrients they tend to contain and purple sprouting broccoli is no exception.
It’s also packed with immune boosting vitamin C, beta-carotene which is turned into vitamin A as needed in the body, and heart-loving potassium (even better for the month of love!)
Purple sprouting broccoli works well alone as a delicious vegetable side, but is also great stir-fried with garlic and sesame seeds, in a pasta dish or steamed and then lightly tossed with almonds and spring onions.
Swede is totally delicious and really doesn’t get enough airtime! From the family of cruciferous vegetables, which contain active compounds that may help prevent serious degenerative diseases, swede also provides good amounts of vitamin C. It’s great for anyone still trying to lose those additional Christmas kilos, as a typical portion size contains only around 11 calories.
Swede works really well on its own simply mashed with a little butter and black pepper or alongside other mashed root veggies such as carrots and turnips. It can also be added to stews or to change things up mashed or roasted with potatoes.
And for those who’ve recently celebrated Burn’s Night, you’ll be familiar with the expression ‘neeps’ which is Scottish for swede! They’re traditionally eaten alongside the haggis.
So enjoy the month of love by including some delicious seasonal produce to make February a happy and healthy month!
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