Perhaps one of my personal favorites, this hearty veggie comes in a plethora of varieties just waiting to be picked. Butternut, yellow, spaghetti, zucchini, pumpkin…the list goes on. These little guys are packed with carotenes, potassium, B vitamins, and even vitamin C. They have a high fiber content, which can help protect against certain types of cancer and will make you feel full. With so many varieties and methods to prepare these gems, squash is a perfect staple for fall cooking.
Although apples are popular year round, we often associate them with harvest time. Apples are a very diverse fruit. They can be sweet, tart, and everything between. They can be used for cooking, baking, canning, or by simply taking a bite. Apples contain a high amount of vitamin C and fiber, which can keep cholesterol down and can prevent atherosclerosis. A recent study also suggests that eating apples can help prevent strokes. They’re packed with antioxidants, which can help keep cancer at bay. What’s not to love? Now if we could only grow caramel trees!
Try this: Healthy Apple Pie via Anytime Health
3. Sweet Potatoes
Going along with the pattern, sweet potatoes pack a healthy punch with high levels of vitamin A and C. They also contain a generous amount of fiber, which is good for digestion. Because sweet potatoes contain a high level of beta carotene, they can help you attain healthy looking skin and hair. They also taste great with marshmallows. Sweet potatoes have been a fan favorite as an alternative to traditional potatoes.
Roasted, pickled, baked, or steamed – beets are sweet and tangy all at once. It’s the best of both worlds! In addition to containing a hearty amount of vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium, and iron, beets also possess antioxidant properties, which come from the phytochemicals that make beets red (betalains).
Turn your jack-o-lantern into a snack-o-lantern! The best part about pumpkins? You can eat the inside and the outside. Use the outside of this fruit to make bread, pie, soup, or pasta. While you’re cooking, you can snack on the seeds as well. Pumpkins have heart healthy properties - beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium are all said to help promote a healthy ticker.
Let’s throw some color into dinner! Eggplants contain nasunin, an anthocyanin, which give the veggie its deep purple color. These compounds also bond to free radicals, which can destroy cell membranes in the body. Eggplants are a versatile food. Their texture is unique, so you can use them in dishes like, eggplant lasagna, kabobs, fries, and hotdish. You can even stuff them with wild rice and lean ground turkey to make a rendition of stuffed peppers.
These little guys have so many different varieties, that they’re available pretty much all year round. This time of year, however, they can be enjoyed cold or hot. Pears contain a very high level of antioxidants (even more than many other fruits). Add an abundant amount of vitamin K, calcium, fiber, and vitamin C, and you have a recipe that helps combat type II Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.
Perhaps the most iconic food of the holidays, turkey is loaded with nutrition. The trick is to prepare it in a healthy way. Roasting a turkey is common - and healthy. Turkey is loaded with protein and B vitamins (especially Niacin and vitamin B-6), which help promote a healthy immune system. Potassium and zinc also make an honorable mention. Along with these nutrients, we often hear that turkey contains tryptophan, which is responsible for making us sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. While it is true that this amino acid helps regulate digestion, it is much more likely that the post-meal sleepies come from the amount of food consumed, so make sure to practice moderation! Your pants will thank you.
We love recipes!
If you have a recipe that includes one or two of the above superfoods, share with the community in the comments below!
photo credit: Notasif
9/24/2012 at 12:14 PM