Fall In-Season Produce
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
Now that Labor Day has come and gone and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back on the menu, it’s time to start planning for fall! Not only is in-season produce incredibly fresh, but the prices are usually more reasonable. Find out why you should grab each of my favorite fall foods during your next trip to the grocery store; your body and your wallet will thank you!
Not only are apples sweet, but they have endless health benefits! The “apple a day” saying holds a lot of truth. Apples are packed with vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Apples have high levels of an antioxidant rich nutrient called flavonoids, which studies have shown can neutralize the effects that oxidative stress causes the body. Whether you are eating raw apples or baking them into a pie this fall, you’ll be feeding your body a plethora of vitamins and minerals!
Beets are my favorite detoxifying food, and these root veggies peak in the fall. Most commonly found are the reddish-purple colored beets, but you can also find golden, white, and multi-colored beets. Beets help to detoxify the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys. In addition to vitamins A, B, and C, beets have high levels of iron, potassium, and magnesium to help maintain normal blood pressure and combat anemia. Beet greens are also delicious and nutritious! Beet greens can be eaten raw in a salad or sautéed similar to spinach.
These cruciferous veggies are in the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and radishes. Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as B vitamins and fiber. In fact, one serving of Brussels sprouts has over 100% daily value of vitamin C, and almost double the daily recommendation of vitamin K. Brussels sprouts contain high amounts of a sulfur compound called glucosinolates, which studies have linked to cancer prevention. You can also find magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese, as well as copper, calcium, and iron.
For years, cranberries have been used to prevent urinary tract infections. Cranberries can also help prevent oral diseases, as well as slow the growth of cancer. Cranberries are incredibly antioxidant-rich, and high in vitamin C. These small nutritional powerhouses are antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral, and may also help with kidney stones.
Pears come in many varieties and are usually classified by their place of origin, either Asian or European. Pears contain high amounts of soluble fiber to help lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Pears also contain vitamin K, which helps with blood coagulation, and vitamin C.
Pomegranate juice has become more mainstream over recent years, but the seeds from the whole fruit are just as tasty and wholesome! Pomegranates get their “superfood” reputation by containing polyphenol antioxidants that have been proven to aid in the prevention of some cancers, as well as heart disease. Pomegranates are also packed with iron to help with blood flow, and vitamin B-6 to help regulate moods and promote healthy brain function.
Pumpkin may technically be in the squash family, but pumpkin has become synonymous with autumn, so that warrants its own spot on my list! Pumpkin is one of the best sources of alpha- and beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A, and promotes healthy vision and cell growth. Pumpkin also has high levels of vitamin C for antioxidant function and iron absorption, as well as folate for cell renewal. Pumpkin seeds are also delicious and nutritious. These seeds contain a good source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, which may help with heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Turnips have a lot to offer a body, and similar to beets, their greens do too! Vitamin B6 and C, folate, calcium, potassium, manganese, and fiber can all be found in turnips. Their greens are also a great source of calcium.
Summer squash is available locally until October in some parts of the country, but soon, winter squash will begin to take over the markets until spring. The most popular varieties are acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash (and pumpkin!). All squash has high levels of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, which is helpful for blood pressure and muscle performance, and fiber to keep you full.
Similar to squash, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, that together fights oxidative stress in the body, and promotes healthy eyesight and generate retinol production. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6 for brain function and mood regulation, and copper for red blood cell and bone health. Next time you eat sweet potatoes, try leaving the skin on to get an added four grams of fiber – and don’t forget to add a few grams of healthy fats to maximize your body’s absorption of beta-carotene!
There are many other foods that are in season for fall, but these are some of the most prominent, not to mention my personal favorites! Whether you are roasting root veggies, making seasonal salads, or fresh, healthy desserts this fall, you will be sure to get a solid dose of vitamins and minerals while incorporating these foods. Stay tuned for some of my favorite seasonal recipes!
#nutrition #healthcoach #produce #seasonal