It might not look like it yet but Fall is officially here and that means one thing…OK, maybe two things, football and the delicious foods of the season.
But don’t think that all those wonderful autumn foods are just for your eating enjoyment, they can be good for you too. In fact here are 10 Fall Superfoods that are good for your tongue and your body.
Pumpkins – We’ll start with the fan favorite that’s actually a type of winter squash. Though they may look great on your porch, the real power behind their bright orange hue is beta-carotene, a provitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Known for its immune-boosting powers, beta-carotene is essential for eye health and has also been linked to preventing coronary heart disease.
Harvest season: October–February
Apples – No list of Fall foods would be complete without apples. They come in a huge variety of flavors and while apples are a good source of vitamin C and a few other nutrients, that’s not the whole story— they’re rich in plenty of other antioxidants, nutrients not always tallied on nutrition labels. Antioxidants, also known as phytochemicals, are found in plants (they’re often responsible for fruits’ bright hues) and fight off the damage caused by free radicals, which has been linked to cancer, hardening of the arteries, inflammation, and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
Harvest season: August-November
Brussels Sprouts – “Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables, which means they’re loaded with cancer-fighting compounds,” says Lainey Younkin, MS, RD, LDN, founder of Lainey Younkin Nutrition in Boston, MA. “They are also high in vitamin K, which helps your blood clot. Shred them in a food processor and use as a base for your next salad or simply roast them on a baking sheet in the oven — add a little maple syrup for a sweet-savory punch.”
Harvest season: September–March
Cauliflower – A popular substitute for pizza crust and rice, this starchy vegetable is also anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and may boost both your heart and brain health. Eating cauliflower will provide your body with impressive amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene, and much more while supporting healthy digestion and detoxification.
Harvest season: September–June
Sweet Potato – More than Thanksgiving casseroles, these orange-colored favorites owe their appearance to the carotenoid beta-carotene. As an antioxidant, beta-carotene can help ward off free radicals that damage cells through oxidation, which can speed up aging and make you vulnerable against chronic diseases.
Harvest season: September–December
Pears – Rch in vitamin C and copper, pears are on of the highest-fiber fruits (one medium pear contains about 5.5 grams of fiber). Fiber plays an essential role in your digestive, heart, and skin health, and may improve blood sugar control, weight management, and more. People who ate a diet high in white-fleshed fruits like pears or apples also had a 52 percent lower risk of stroke, according to an American Heart Association study, likely due to their fiber and phytochemical contents.
Harvest season: August–February
Cranberries – Not just the premier Thanksgiving side, cranberries are a great source of antioxidents but its the fiber that really is worth writing home about. The fiber in cranberries provides 20% of the daily recommended value in every serving for maintaining a flushed system. The same amount is found in manganese. One serving of cranberries also provides 24% of the daily value (DV) in vitamin C, along with vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), the only form of this powerful antioxidant actively maintained in the human body.
Harvest season: September–November
Pomegranate – This slightly sour fruit has gotten a lot of press as an antioxidant powerhouse. The juice provides a tangy base for marinades, and the seeds can be tossed into salads to amp up the flavor. Health benefits include: A UCLA study showed pomegranate juice has higher antioxidant levels than red wine and is a good source of vitamin C and folate
Harvest season: August–December
Tunips – Tender and mild, these root vegetables are a great alternative to radishes and cabbage and are an excellent source of vitamins A, C K, potassium, folate and fiber.
Harvest season: September–April
Dates – A rich source of fiber and potassium, along with B vitamins, vitamins A and K, copper, magnesium, and manganese. There are also at least 15 minerals in dates, including selenium, along with protein, 23 types of amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids including palmitoleic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. One caveat: dates should be eaten only in very limited amounts because they are high in fructose.
Harvest season: September–December
As you begin to plan your menus this Fall, don’t forget to add a little “super” to your foods and give your guests something extra to smile about.