Seasonal foods aren’t just cheaper because they are so abundant. They are also tastier, as they were not previously chilled or shipped across great distances. Better yet, produce is packed with far more nutrients when it has grown during the appropriate season. For example, broccoli that was grown during autumn – which is the best season for growing broccoli – contains almost twice as much vitamin C as broccoli that was grown in the spring!
Are you looking for some affordable, tasty and healthy fall food ideas? Then consider Fargo Spine your personal guide to the best fresh fall foods!
Let’s continue extolling the health benefits of broccoli. It is a superfood: low in calories, remarkably dense in nutrition, and perhaps best of all nice and crunchy. A single cup of broccoli contains 2.5 grams of protein which helps your body repair and grow new cells, 2.4 grams of fiber which promotes gut health, and only 0.4 grams of fat.
Broccoli also contains vitamins C, K1 and B9, as well as essential minerals including potassium, manganese and iron. The green vegetable is also rich in glucoraphanin, the substance our bodies need to make sulforaphane – a compound which can protect against numerous types of cancers.
Although berries are commonly associated with the summer, North Dakota’s peak blueberry season extends well into September. That makes blueberries a bona fide fall food, which is great because they are also high in fiber which can relieve constipation, help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your chances of getting cancer.
Blueberries’ cancer-preventing properties aren’t limited to their high fiber content. The colorful fruit is also rich in phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants that neutralize free radicals before they can damage DNA and potentially cause cancer. Eating blueberries may also reduce your risk factors for developing heart disease – just another reason to throw a few into your morning smoothie!
The apple is the most American fruit of all – once it has been incorporated into a pie, that is. But apples are far more than patriotic. The healthy fall fruit is rich in polyphenols, which are organic compounds including flavonoids, tannic acid and ellagitannin that can help improve circulation, reduce chronic inflammation, lower the risk of developing diabetes, strengthen the immune system, and even reduce the risk of cancer. If you add more apples to your fall diet, just make sure to leave their peels on. That’s where most of the polyphenols are!
A single cup of raw cranberries contains one-quarter of your daily requirement of vitamin C, making the cheerful red berry a great way to ensure your body absorbs iron, creates collagen, heals from wounds, and properly maintains bones, teeth and cartilage. Cranberries are also packed full of quercetin, myricetin, peonidin and ursolic acid – all antioxidants which help mitigate the negative effects of free radicals.
Cranberries get their color from anthocyanins. These pigments look pretty, but they also possess an astounding number of antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity effects, and may additionally help to prevent heart disease. Dried cranberries unfortunately lose much of their anthocyanins, but are still rich in potassium, calcium, and proanthocyanidins which help protect the heart.
Butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash are all rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium, and they are absolutely brimming with beta-carotene as well. Your body converts beta-carotene into retinol (also known as vitamin A), which is essential to maintaining healthy functioning of the corneas and conjunctival membranes in your eyes. Retinol further promotes a stronger immune system and healthier skin.
Are you carving a jack-o’-lantern this fall? Save those pumpkin seeds! They are packed full of omega-6 fatty acids, which do everything from regulating metabolism to maintaining bone health. Antioxidant-rich pumpkin seeds may also improve cardiovascular health, lower blood sugar levels, and even promote better bladder and prostate health.
Although delicious on their own and a flavorful substitute for onions, leeks are an often overlooked healthy fall vegetable. This is unfortunate, because in addition to containing plenty of fiber, leeks are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin: both carotenoids your eyes need to avoid becoming damaged by sunlight. That’s why leeks can help to prevent a number of eye diseases including macular degeneration and cataracts.
Leeks are an allium vegetable. Consuming leeks and other alliums like onions and garlic can reduce bad cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, as well as the risk of colorectal cancer. This is partly thanks to leeks’ high level of kaempferol, a flavonoid which enhances the body’s antioxidant defense against free radicals.
Fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C are all essential to good health, and all amply supplied by your friend the sweet potato. But if you’re looking for a good source of beta-carotene – an antioxidant that promotes healthy vision, more robust gut health and stronger brain function – then you couldn’t ask for a better food than sweet potatoes. Just one cup of sweet potatoes contains over seven times the beta-carotene an average adult needs in a single day!
Are you looking for even more help eating healthy this fall? Contact Fargo Spine today! We offer functional wellness and nutritional coaching in Fargo, ND that can help anyone lose weight and achieve greater health. We’ll even share our favorite leek recipes with you.