While eating seasonally fresh harvests of fruits and vegetables is great for your body and the environment, it’s not always easy to know what’s in season and which foods contain the most benefit when it comes to your nutrition. Don’t fret! “Fall” in love with these five superfood staples of fall:
Bring on the beautiful gourds and winter squash! Acorn squash, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, is a go-to superfood that offers a bounty of crucial nutrients including potassium, Vitamins C, A, and B-6, as well as fiber, magnesium and a little sodium and iron to boot. Potassium plays an important role in relaxing blood vessels which can aid hypertension, while fiber is known for helping lower cholesterol and keeping bowel movements regular. Acorn squash can be roasted, steamed, pan-fried, you name it! Blend in with soups, stir into whole grain risotto, even add it to pasta or bake it with brown sugar for dessert.
Nothing smells quite like fall melting into the holiday season like apple pie! While apples are available in many grocery stores year round, buying them fresh from local farms is most common around the fall season. In addition to being the ultimate fall ingredient for pie, cider, salads, sandwiches, and more, apples also load you up with generous amounts of fiber and Vitamin C. On top of all that, apples are known for their rich antioxidant content which can help stave off free radicals in the body and prevent hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
You might have heard these delicious little snacks referred to as “pepitas,” but don’t let their size fool you – they are packed with nutrition! Just 1 oz. of pumpkin seeds loads you up with nutrients including protein, fiber, magnesium, and the kicker: Omega-3s (plant-based alpha-linolenic acid to be exact) which help fight inflammation and support good brain health. You can find raw hulled pumpkin seeds in many grocery stores these days – great as a topping for granola, oatmeal, cereal, and even soups and salads, you’ll definitely want to plant this seed in your fall diet.
Cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kale generate a surprising amount of nutrition, including almost all your daily recommended Vitamin C in one serving! Low in calories and with almost no fat, cauliflower also delivers appreciable amounts of Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin B-5 and 6, choline, and fiber. Does cooking cauliflower inhibit its nutrient intake? It depends. Frying typically causes the most nutrient degradation, however, eating cauliflower raw or with a quick roast or steam should help you retain most of its beneficial properties.
Talk about your holidays, no Thanksgiving is complete without sweet potatoes on the side, right? This deliciously sweet and fleshy starch might seem like it’s all bad and no good, but sweet potatoes actually contain an impressive nutritional profile. Absolutely loaded with Vitamin A (no other food on Earth has more!), sweet potatoes also offer lots of Vitamins C, B-6 and fiber, as well as essential minerals including potassium, manganese, copper, iron, copper, and phosphorous. While sweet potatoes make for a delicious mashed side or a holiday pie, they also pair well with black beans in tacos and enchiladas, as well as roasted and tossed with salads, scrambled eggs, and soup.
What are your favorite fall superfoods or meal ideas?
Guest post written by Joe flemming, Vive Health