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Healthy Winter Fruits and Vegetables

When winter hits, you might find yourself gravitating toward winter squash and other hearty vegetables. But don’t forget about fruit. “We still in the winter

have a tremendous variety of fruit available to us,” says Marie Ruggles, RD, a registered dietitian-nutritionist and author of Optimize Your Immune System: Create Health & Resilience with a Kitchen Pharmacy, who is based in Floral Park, New York. Most notably, winter is prime time for citrus fruits in North America, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

And it’s important to make room for them in your diet because the nutrients in these fruits support the immune system and your overall health, Ruggles says, not to mention a healthy weightAccording to MedlinePlus, As far as immunity goes, vitamin C is an all-star nutrient for fighting winter colds and illnesses — and citrus fruits are replete with it. “Vitamin C is an evidence-based, well-documented, very well-researched, and strong antiviral,” Ruggles says. To reap the most benefits, past research suggests choosing whole foods with vitamin C over vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements. Also, be sure to spread your vitamin C foods throughout the day because this vitamin is water-soluble, meaning your body will flush out any excess of the nutrient, according to Medline Plus.

RELATED: Which Foods Are Highest in Vitamin C?

According to Harvard Health Publishing, vitamin C helps the body produce white blood cells, which Ruggles describes as “warrior cells in the immune system.” “Those cells attack foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria,” she says. And while vitamin C may not keep you from getting a cold, it could reduce the length and severity of your illness, according to MedlinePlus. “Vitamin C prevents escalation,” Ruggles says. So, it could khttps://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/best-winter-fruits-to-help-keep-you-healthy/?slot=0&xid=nl_EHNLhealthyliving_2020-12-21_22448152&utm_source=Newsletters&nl_key=nl_healthy_living&utm_content=2020-12-21&utm_campaign=Healthy_Livingeep your straightforward sniffles from advancing to something more serious, like bronchitis or pneumonia, she explains. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whether vitamin C can help prevent or treat COVID-19 is still being investigated, but an article published in December 2020 in Nutrients noted it may help reduce the mortality rate and speed up recovery in people infected with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

RELATED: Can You Boost Your Immune System to Help Fight the Coronavirus?

While vitamin C-rich citrus fruits may be a highlight in the winter, they’re not the only nutritious fruits the season has to offer in North America. Here, explore eight of the best fruits to eat during the winter.