The temperatures are beginning to drop, and cool-season crops are reaching their peak. Take advantage of this season’s superfoods with our five favorites and healthy ways to enjoy them. We bet you’ll fall in love!
Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte’s aren’t the only way to enjoy this festive fall favorite! A cup of cooked pumpkin serves up 200% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, which aids in healthy vision. Pumpkin is also a great source of fiber, potassium, and the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may help in the prevention of cancer. Even the seeds are healthy; they are rich in plant-based chemicals called phytosterols, which have been shown in studies to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Break away from plain ole pumpkin pies and breads and check out this incredible recipe below for Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers:
2. Acorn and Butternut Squash:
Acorn and butternut squash both peak during the fall season, and while they add flavor to lots of delicious dishes, they offer up some serious health benefits to boot. Like pumpkin, these seasonal superfoods are an excellent source of fiber and potassium. They also contain Vitamin C and carotenoids, which help in the prevention of heart disease. As if that weren’t enough, butternut squash has anti-inflammatory properties which help stave of inflammation-related diseases such as asthma and arthritis.
Warm up with this delicious and nutritious recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallot Soup:
3. Swiss Chard:
This leafy-green veggie is a nutritional powerhouse, offering up Vitamins A, K, and C, along with magnesium, potassium, iron, and fiber. It also contains calcium for bone health, lutein for eye health, and biotin for healthy skin and hair. Even better? One cup contains just 35 calories. Eat both the leaves and stems to make the most of these amazing health benefits!
Enjoy this flavor-packed food with this tasty recipe for Sautéed Swiss Chard and Parmesan Cheese:
4. Turnips and Rutabagas:
These root vegetables are rich in glucosinolates, which help the liver to fight off toxins, fight carcinogens, and help prevent the growth of tumors. They are also packed with vitamins including vitamins A, C, E, manganese, and beta-carotene. They also help to lower cholesterol and contain excellent amounts of folate, a B vitamin critical to cardiovascular health. High in fiber, these cruciferous veggies help aid in digestion and weight loss.
Give your mashed potatoes a makeover with this mashed turnip and rutabaga recipe even the kids will love:
Pears reach their peak between the months of August and February, and bring with them some pretty impressive health benefits. They contain a water-soluble fiber called pectin, which helps to lower cholesterol levels and regulate the digestive system. They are also an excellent source of Vitamins B2, C, E, copper, and potassium. Another interesting fact about pears is that they are considered a hypo-allergenic fruit, meaning that they are less likely to produce an adverse affect than other fruits. Because of this, doctors often recommend them as a good fruit to introduce to infants. Additionally, they contain glutathione, which helps to prevent high blood pressure and stroke, and they even can even help boost your immune system and give you a quick burst of energy. If that’s not enough, pears provide a cooling effect that can actually help bring down a fever.
Need another reason to eat more pears? This peary good recipe for Arugula and Pear Salad with Maple Vinaigrette should do the trick:
Other seasonal superfoods to try this fall:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
- Broccoli and Cauliflower