The fall season is here!! It looks like that summer sun will still be hanging out for a little longer but I am really looking forward to sweater weather and new seasonal recipes. Fall is the best time to grow your own vegetables and fruits because the weather is not too hot or too cold and the amount of rain we usually get allows your crops to be nourished without drowning them. Growing your own fruits and vegetables is not only fun but a great way to have affordable organic produce at your disposal. Even if you are not planning on growing your own food, the fruit and vegetable selection at your grocery store will be amazing this time of year and the best part about it, many super foods thrive in the fall weather making them even more delicious and nutritious than they already are.
What is a super food?
A super food is a food high in vitamins and nutrients that promote healthy lifestyles. Usually high in antioxidants, super foods are great for preventing illness and helping you recover if you do happen to get sick. Instead of filling your body with cold medicines and pills to help you stay healthy when the weather begins to get a little colder, start now by adding more super foods into your diet and I promise you will feel a natural change in your energy levels as well as your over all health. The fall season is filled with many super foods, most of which are around all year long, but just get extra tasty during these next couple of months. But we are going to focus on a couple of my favorites that are not only really good for you but will also get you excited for the fall season.
This awesome fruit has the natural sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth with no regrets. Pears are also high in fiber, potassium and vitamins E and C making it a super food. A high fiber diet is beneficial because it regulates your bowel movements, helps maintain weight loss by making you feel fuller longer, controls blood sugar levels for people with diabetes by slowing the absorption of sugar in the body, and can help lower your cholesterol. Pears are in season from August to February so get them while you can.
SQUASH is another high fiber food; its yellow or orange coloring makes it high in Vitamin A, making it a super food. Vitamin A promotes a healthy immune system, cell growth and good vision. Different types of squash are available all year round but the fall season provides us with lots of pumpkins, acorn and butternut squash, the health benefits of each squash can vary so look them up if you are interested. Adding squash to your fall diet is a great way to lose weight or maintain your waist line because it will keep you full for longer amounts of time, also because of its meaty texture you can substitute a lot of your meat or pasta dishes with squash instead cutting a lot of fat and calories out of your diet.
Squash is really easy to cook, and there are a variety of recipes you can make with them. One of my favorite ways to eat acorn squash is by cutting it into quarters and baking for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees, then tossing it in a blender with a can of low fat condensed coconut milk, this makes an amazing low calorie, vegan creamy soup that tastes so awesome I would eat it everyday.
SWEET POTATO is one of the most popular fall super foods; it is high in Vitamin A, fiber and protein. Sweet potatoes are also high in complex carbohydrates which give you amazing energy and help your body absorb other nutrients in your food that might have been thrown out as waste. It is important to consume at least one serving of a complex carbohydrate a day and if you are exercising then you should have at least two, and because a sweet potato dish is on everyone’s holiday menu, it won’t be hard to get your fill this fall. One more thing to look out for is purple sweet potatoes, they have all the amazing benefits of a regular sweet potato plus they are packed full of antioxidants and available in most natural grocery stores this fall season.
PARSNIPS are roots that are very similar to carrots but their health benefits will rock your kitchen making them a great super food to use in your fall recipes. Parsnips are loaded with vitamin K, Fiber, antioxidants and they are high in potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps send signals around your body, this is essential for your body to function so finding foods that are high in potassium is awesome. Parsnips can easily be added into vegetable soups to make them hearty and filling as the weather gets cooler.
CRANBERRIES are another one of those festive foods that I can’t help but add into my recipes the second that the fall season comes around. Cranberries are high in vitamin C and fiber but it’s the out of this world amount of antioxidants that are found in these small berries that make it a super food. Cranberries have been known to cure bladder and urinary tract infections but more recently studies have shown that they can also prevent heart disease by reducing the amount of plaque build up in your arteries. Cranberries can be found all year round in the frozen section of your grocery store, but in the fall and winter seasons you can find fresh cranberries which is even better. Just one catch, these berries are very bitter and most people find them difficult to eat raw, so I suggest cooking them into a sauce, or adding them to one of your favorite baking recipes when first trying to use them this season.
POMEGRANATES and especially the juice from a pomegranate have become increasingly more popular over the last couple of years. This fruit is packed full of antioxidants, that and its ability to prevent and help reduce heart disease and cancer, is what makes it a super food. Studies have shown that regularly adding pomegranate juice to your diet will reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure because of a compound called punicalagin that is found only in pomegranates. There is also evidence proving that pomegranates can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and improve your mood by fighting depression. Pomegranates can be found at any type of grocery store from now through winter and the juice can typically be found all year round. Try adding fresh pomegranate seeds into your next salad or oatmeal, but be careful these little guys can be messy and the juice will stain your clothing, so if it is your first time cracking one open I suggest you wear dark clothing.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
If there is something on this list that you have never had before I encourage you to try it, but don’t limit yourself to just these foods this fall, eating a serving of fresh fruit or vegetables, whatever they might be, with every meal is the best way to lead a long and healthy life. Like I mentioned before there are many more super foods that are extra tasty this time of year, if you would like me to do another blog post on this topic please leave a comment below.