Try eating what is in season this fall. You will not only reap the health benefits of the newly harvested nutrients, you may just find some tasty additions to your family meals.
It’s Apple Season
A medium apple with the skin has almost 4.8 grams (g) of fibre, 6 g of protein and 6mg of Vitamin C. The skin also contains polyphenols, beneficial compounds in plant-based foods. Polyphenols can help lower the risk for heart disease and Type II diabetes and protect the brain from antioxidant damage. Apples also contain pectin, a natural fibre found in plants with cholesterol-lowering effects. Pectin may also benefit gut bacteria.
Pumpkin is not just pie filling
Pumpkins adorn door steps at Halloween but consider consuming them throughout the fall while in season. Similar to Squash, pumpkin contains high levels of beta-carotene and delivers a whooping dosage of Vitamin C and fibre, both soluble and insoluble) Beta carotene is not only a beneficial supplement for eye health. It also plays an important role in the health of your skin. And the two types of fibre sources can help keep you regular and support cardiovascular health. And don’t overlook the extra health benefits of pumpkin seeds. Just one ounce of pumpkin seeds (shelled, roasted and unsalted or raw) provide up to 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of fibre! Naturally occurring chemicals in pumpkin seed ( raw and shelled) support prostate health and, believe it not, also support sleep. When shopping for a Halloween pumpkin, you may want to go big for flair, but for “harvest eating,” look for the smaller ones. They are not as stringy and have more flavour. Puree the flesh after cooking, and add to soups, stews, oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes etc.
Pears deserve more love!
Pears are definitely a fruit we should reach for more often during peak growing season. They contain at least 8mg of vitamin C and 206mg of potassium, a heart-friendly mineral. And if you are looking for more natural sources of soluble and insoluble fibre, they contain an impressive 5.5 grams of fibre which is tied to a healthy heart health program, reduction of cardiovascular disease and a healthy gut microbiome. Even though pears have some natural sugar, their high fibre content ensures your blood sugar will spike after eating one. Buying pears is a bit of a trick. It is best to buy them when they are hard and let them soften up over a few days. If you are not a big pear person, consider adding them to smoothies or muffins or step it up with a poached pear dessert.
Don’t turn your nose up at Squash
The fall is a great time to try out a few of the bountiful squash varieties such as winter squash, spaghetti squash, butternut and acorn squash. Each type has a different taste and texture, but they all have one thing in common. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, especially beta-carotene lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial for immunity and eye health. Squash also provides fibre and a low glycemic index which helps stabilize sugar levels. Try grilling, adding to soups, mashing or using spaghetti squash as a pasta replacement
Cranberries prevent UTIs & More!
Have you ever seen cranberries being harvested? Such a beautiful sight! But cranberries are not just for fall decorating or a turkey dinner side dish. Fresh cranberries can be a nutritious option. A half cup of chopped cranberries makes a great addition to salads, smoothies, added to muffins, cakes and pies and provides 2 grams of fibre and added Vitamin C. Cranberries also help prevent UTIs by preventing the bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract wall. Cranberries also contain anthocyanins that help protect the body from harmful oxidative stress, which is associated with a number of diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Weight loss tip- pure cranberry juice ( no sugar added) has an emulsifying effect
Better Heart Beat with Beets
Beets come in a rainbow of colours and are so versatile they can be roasted, pureed, or shredded to eat raw. Beets contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and lots of iron. But they also have naturally occurring nitrates which the body converts into nitric acid. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that relaxes and widens blood vessels. The process helps lower blood pressure and increase stamina ( athletic performance). The naturally occurring fibre in beets improves satiety and also helps to keep things regular.
Try sweet potatoes for vitamin C. Pick me up
Sweet potatoes are available all year round, but they are more nutritious and delicious tasting during the fall when they are in season. Sweet potatoes are a starchy food but have many health benefits. They contain a number of vitamins, minerals and fibre but also pack a good amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which play a role in the health of eyes, skin and immunity. Sweet potatoes are potassium-rich that may help with blood pressure management. Sweet potatoes also have a lower glycemic index ( complex carb), so they take longer to break down into simple sugars, making them an excellent choice on a dieter's menu. Sweet potatoes can be baked, pureed, mashed, chunked for stews and soups or satisfy a French fry craving
Sleek & Beautiful Leeks Help Protect the eyes
f you are not a big fan of onions but want to add some flavour to food dishes, give leeks a try. The much milder cousin to onions, the sleek leeks can be used interchangeably with onions in any dish you make. From meat pies and casseroles to stir fries and soups, the texture and taste can enhance your meal and leave your guest wondering what is so yummy and different. Much like onions, leeks contain lots of nutrients but are exceptionally high in flavonoids which help protect the heart. Leeks are high in fibre, providing good gut health, and contain the powerful antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin to help protect the eyes from age-related diseases. Did you know that leeks also have incredible diuretic properties
Parsnips are a narly looking root with healthy bone benefits
The white fleshly colour of parsnips may dissuade you from putting them on your regular shopping list. But if you look past their look, you will find they have a similar texture to a carrot but are much sweeter. One cup of parsnips contains about 5.6 grams of fibre which is beneficial for heart and gut health. They are further recommended because of their magnesium, calcium and Vitamin K content. Vitamin K helps your blood clot and, combined with magnesium and calcium, keeps bones healthy. Parsnips also contain Folate ( folic acid), recommended for keeping your cells healthy and for use before and during pregnancy. You can eat them raw ( in salads), stir-fried or cooked into soups and stews.
Brussels Sprouts are not just for family gatherings
Whenever there is a holiday or family dinner, Brussels Sprouts tend to be on the menu. But they are not just a fall holiday dinner side dish. Brussels sprouts are high in fibre with 4 grams per 1 cup, providing a healthy option for fibre intake to keep the gut healthy, the colon moving and managing high cholesterol. They are also a member of the cruciferous family, which evidence has shown to protect the cells from damage and provide anti-cancer benefits, especially for women and reduce the body’s response to inflammation. Their healthy dose of naturally occurring Vitamin K is good for blood clotting and bone health. Did you know that one cup of brussel sprouts contain up to 4 grams of healthy plant-based protein? Purchase brussels sprouts that are bright green with tightly compacted leaves. Brussel sprouts do not have to be bland and mushy; you can bake them with olive oil and spices, making them crispy and tasty. They can also be shredded into a salad ( eaten raw)