With a change of seasons comes a new wave of dishes and foods. Even the healthiest eater will feel less tempted by a salad at this time of year.
Much of the produce traditionally harvested at this time of year is incredibly good for our health. Let us give you some interesting information – for example, pumpkins and squashes can protect against cancer and mushrooms can ward off colds, flu, heart attacks, and strokes!
Sure, we all get excited for summer’s bounty of sweet berries and juicy watermelon, but there’s more, the autumn harvest brings – a variety of healthful and delicious produce, from apples and pears to squash and sweet potatoes.
To get the best of what fall has to offer, here is our guide to some of the best healing autumn foods you can choose at the moment and are both delicious and super healthy.
We guarantee you’ll want to include more in your diet after you read how good they are for you!
Apples have been associated with good health throughout the centuries. They are great for our heart. They are a great diet food and fight colds, viruses and cancer (they contain something called chlorogenic acid which, in tests, blocked cancer formation). They are also a particularly good food for diabetics (they have a low glycaemic index – which means that the natural sugar they contain is released very slowly and steadily into our bloodstream). Apples are packed with antioxidants, which may help prevent chronic illness and slow aging. International researchers have found that eating apples lowers cholesterol – one of the main causes of heart disease and strokes. The secret weapon is pectin – the soluble fiber apples contain – when combined with other contents of apples such as vitamin C it helps to remove cholesterol from the blood. Due to the high levels of vitamin C people who eat more apples have a lower incidence of colds and upper respiratory problems.
Besides the familiar reddish-purple color, you can also find white, golden, and even multicolored beets. Cut the greens in salads and roast the beets for their betaine – a compound that may help prevent heart and liver disease – and nitrate, which may increase blood flow to the brain and potentially reduce the risk of dementia.
Full with vitamins A and C, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, boast high concentrations of cancer-fighting glucosinolates.
Cranberries taste their best October through November, though only 5 percent actually make it to the fresh produce section (the other 95 percent are dried, canned, or turned into juice). Cranberry concentrate can help prevent urinary tract infections. Fresh cranberries can help prevent oral diseases and slow the growth of cancer.
Fall’s harvest brings in a bounty of fresh grapes in all varieties. Either as a snack or made into your favorite jam, now is the perfect time to bag a bunch. The nutrients in grapes may help protect against eye problems, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions. Grapes are a good source of fiber, potassium, and a range of vitamins and other minerals. Grapes are suitable for people with diabetes, as long as they are accounted for in the diet plan.
Pears are high in soluble fiber, which helps lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Snack on the fruit whole or try it with breakfasts or in healthier cocktails to get that daily dose of fiber.
Pomegranates have health benefits that have only been recognized more recently. The fruit’s antioxidants may reduce the risk of heart attacks. Pomegranate may help prevent breast and colon cancers, though results are far from conclusive.
Pumpkin is one of the best sources of alpha- and beta-carotene, which can be converted into retinol to promote healthy vision and cell growth. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help those with heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Particularly good for smokers because they are thought to be effective in inhibiting lung cancer. Some studies show that pumpkin and squash seeds may inhibit cancer as they prevent viruses and cancer-causing chemicals from becoming activated in the intestinal tract. Compounds in pumpkin seeds have been shown to deactivate the enzymes that cause prostate enlargement, so may help to prevent prostate cancer. Pumpkin flesh is also thought to protect against cancer because its orange color is full of compounds called carotenoids which are thought to fight free radicals – cancer-causing particles in our bodies caused by smoking, pollution, and unhealthy food. Carotenoids are also thought to help slow down the aging process.
In their peak season, these orange beauties have the best flavor. Like squash, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which can prevent vitamin A deficiencies, promote healthy eyesight and generate retinol production. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C.