The days may be shorter, but farmers are still working hard to provide us with fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep up your end of the bargain by checking out your local market and stocking up on these top 5 healthy foods for fall:
Part of the allium family that also includes onions and garlic, leeks pack a serious punch when it comes to nutrition. Just one leek (around a cup when chopped) provides the following nutrition:
- More than half the recommended daily intake of vitamin A
- More than a third of the recommended intake of vitamin K
- Phytonutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, known to play a role in maintaining healthy vision
What’s more, leeks are low calorie and mild in taste, making it easy to quash hunger while watching your weight. Include leeks in soups, or sauté them with a little vegetable broth & finish by adding fresh thyme. For a more decadent side dish, roast young leeks in white wine alongside asparagus.
Apples may get most of the attention as fall fruits, but pears are strong contenders too, as they are rich in a variety of nutrients. The skin of pears contains a wealth of antioxidant phytonutrients such as epicatechins, flavonols (including quercetin), anthocyanins (in red-skinned varieties) and carotenoids that support healthy vision (including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin). Pears are also a great source of potassium, copper, and boron.
In addition to being rich in vitamins and phytonutrients, pears are one of the highest fibre fruits. Choose organic, locally grown pears where possible, and eat both the flesh and the skin for maximum benefits.
Few people have fond memories of turnip from childhood, but this root vegetable is a fantastic source of nutrients. Turnip is packed full of vitamin C, contains almost all of the B vitamins, is a good source of calcium and potassium, and provides small amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc and other important minerals. Turnip is also an excellent source of fibre and turnip greens are a fantastic source of folate and vitamins A and K. With just 51 calories per cup of mashed turnip (compared to around 200 calories for mashed potato), this vegetable can help you fill up fast and stick to a healthy weight too!
Turnips have something of a bitter taste that pairs well with sweet root vegetables, squash or maple glazed tofu, brussel sprouts and Brazil nuts. They’re also a tasty and healthy addition to mashed potatoes, stews, soups, roasted roots and casseroles.
Another member of the allium family! Traditionally, garlic has been used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections and catarrhal conditions. Garlic is also a good source of manganese, vitamins C and B6, and selenium.
To get the most out of garlic, slice or crush the cloves and leave them exposed for 15 minutes or so before using in cooking or marinades. The exposure to the air gives the allicin time to form stable compounds that are better able to remain intact and offer health benefits after cooking.
Enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity, cauliflower is a versatile food that offers plenty in the way of nutrition and flavour. A rich source of fibre and B vitamins, cauliflower also contains plenty of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a compound that helps to support healthy estrogen metabolism and balance, and provide antioxidant protection. Cauliflower also contains choline, and vitamin K.
What’s so great about cauliflower, aside from it’s health benefits, is its versatility! Here are just a few delicious ways you can enjoy cauliflower:
- As a rice substitute
- Marinaded and roasted whole
- Tossed in a mixture of tahini, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and cornstarch and roasted
Don’t Forget These Other Fall Foods!
Aside from our top pics, there are plenty of other fantastic fruits, vegetables and herbs that are in season from October through to November that also make great additions to your diet:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Onions (cooking)
- Winter squash