The warm months are gone — and with them the berries, melons, corn
and other produce you have been incorporating into your summer diet —
but a new menu of fall fruits and vegetables are now available to fill
your harvest basket.
While the weather might be getting cooler, the produce choices are heating
up. Fall brings so many fresh fruits and vegetables that it can be difficult
to narrow down your shopping list. So we’re helping out with a run-down
of some of the healthiest fall fare. They’re the perfect excuse
to get you cooking on a brisk autumn evening.
Sweet potatoes are a Native American plant that homesteaders and soldiers
relied on for sustenance during the Revolutionary War. Colonial physicians
reportedly called them the "vegetable indispensable." And no
wonder--these nutrient-dense roots abound with calcium, potassium, and
flavonoid phenolic compounds such as beta-carotene and vitamin-A, which
are powerful natural antioxidants.
Bake sweet potatoes in their skin until tender, slice them in half and
top the deep orange insides with butter and brown sugar.
Look for firm, small compact heads that with a bright green color and no
blemishes. Try to avoid those that feel puffy or light for their size.
You can refrigerate fresh Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag for up to
five days. They are delicious roasted, sautéed, or blanched. Tender
young sprouts can be thinly sliced and served raw in slaws.
For such dainty vegetables, Brussels sprouts are full of nutrients. One
cup of them provides more than your daily value of vitamin C and vitamin
K and moderate amounts of B vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B6.
Brussels sprouts have a mild, somewhat bitter taste, so combine them with
tangy or savory sauces, like balsamic vinegar.
Technically a winter squash, the ubiquitous Halloween pumpkin shouldn’t
be relegated to the front porch; it deserves an honored spot on your autumn
dinner plate. Unlike summer squash, winter squash is finely textured and
slightly sweet. Because of its thick skin, pumpkin can be stored for months,
although you probably won’t wait that long to eat it. Its nutty
flavor goes best with other fall flavorings like cinnamon and ginger.
A low-calorie food, pumpkins are full of dietary fiber like its relatives,
sweet potatoes and parsnips. They are brimming with vitamin A--a one-cup
serving provides 246 percent of the recommended daily amount. Pumpkins
are also rich in B vitamins like folate, niacin, and thiamin, and a number
of important trace minerals like calcium, copper, phosphorus, and potassium.
It’s enough to make you think twice about turning down that second
piece of pumpkin pie.
Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple, but the pond-raised berries are
a superfood worthy of enjoyment all year round.
Cranberries have 18 percent of your daily value of vitamin C and fiber--and
only 45 calories--per cup. And in terms of disease-fighting antioxidants,
cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable, including strawberries,
spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries.
No list of fall foods is complete without mentioning that most traditional
of American crops—the apple.
Apples, whether sweet or tart, are satisfying eaten raw or baked. Just
make sure to eat the skin; it contains heart-healthy flavonoids.
Everyone has heard that "An apple a day helps keep the doctor away,”
but unlike many food sayings, this one has a basis in nutritional fact.
Apples are well-known for their vitamin C and antioxidant content. They
also furnish both insoluble and soluble fiber—you can get around
30 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake from one large apple.
What seasonal fruits and vegetables are you most looking forward to eating
this fall? Please share your comment below.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.