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  • Writer's pictureHeather Buda

Fall in Love with these 9 Autumn-inspired Foods

Pumpkins, Apples and Sweet Potatoes - oh my! Autumn. My favorite time of year where the air is crisp and the produce is abundant. Time to head to your local farmer's market to pick up ALL the fruits and veggies.

Apple orchards and pumpkin patches aside, eating seasonally is smart for your body. When picked at their peak, fruits and vegetables not only taste AMAZING but are also chalk-full of all the good nutrients they have to offer.


In this four part series, we dive into the beauty of eating seasonal local produce. Let's get picking!

Live each season in all its bountiful glory

Carrots


While we quickly associate carrots with a vibrant orange hue, heirloom carrots can come in a variety of colors from white and yellow to purple. Incorporating these colorful root veggies will not only make your plate look like the rainbow, but will also fill you with vitamins and antioxidants. The beta-carotene found in carrots is converted to Vitamin A in the liver and provides numerous health benefits including improved eyesight, radiant skin, and a lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases and forms of cancer.


Some of my favorite recipes:


Apples


I know you’ve heard it before - an apple a day keeps the doctor away - but why? Apples are an amazing source of fiber which can help promote digestive regularity, keep you feeling fuller for longer, and lower LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. Most of the fiber, however, is found in the skin of this fruit so keep it raw or cook with skins on. Research has shown that the flavonoids, plant chemicals, and fiber found in the apple peel can help protect against heart damage and may protect your cells’ DNA from oxidative damage, one cause of cancer. The antioxidants in apples can also protect the cells in your pancreas which may reduce your risk of type II diabetes.


Some of my favorite recipes:


Pears


Pears often feel like the forgotten fruit but it’s time to change that tune. High in potassium, fiber, copper, iron and vitamins C, K and B, pears can aid in improved digestion and heart health, elimination of cancer-causing free radicals, and reduced inflammation. The FDA recommends 25g of fiber for every 2,000 calories and yet most Americans get half of the daily recommended value. Incorporating pears in your diet is a smart choice to hitting these numbers, protecting your body and keeping things moving.


Some of my favorite recipes:


Pumpkins


Jack-o-lanterns and pies aside, pumpkins are making an appearance on the dinner table in a nutrient-dense way. Beta-carotene, fiber and potassium – oh my! These orange plants are jam packed with vitamins and antioxidants which boost your immunity, can help detoxify the liver, improve the health of your skin, and may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.


Some of my favorite recipes:


Sweet Potatoes


A beta-carotene powerhouse (converts to vitamin A once consumed) and home to numerous vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium, and vitamins C and some B. Research has shown that vegetables high in antioxidants can help defend the body against damage by free-radicals (“cancer bugs”). These root vegetables are also high in fiber which aids in weight management, keeping you feeling full. To get the most nutrition from your sweet potatoes, keep the skin on (and wash it of course).


Some of my favorite recipes:


Pomegranate


Don’t be intimidated by the hard exterior of these fruits because inside lies little pearls of juicy nutritious heaven. A good source of fiber as well as vitamins A, C, some B and minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron. If you want to talk antioxidants, look no further than these little seeds – packing more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. Some studies have shown positive effects on reducing inflammation, high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease as well as improving athletic performance.


Some of my favorite recipes:


Mushrooms


Button, Portobello, Oyster, Cremini, Chanterelle…the list goes on! So many delicious options with varying degrees of protein and fiber. Mushrooms also contain B vitamins and selenium, an antioxidant which helps support your immune system and prevent damage to your cells and tissues. By aiding in the protection in our cells, mushrooms have shown potential in reducing the risk of cancer. Looking to lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol? Mushrooms contain certain phytonutrients that can help prevent plaque build-up.


Some of my favorite recipes:


Fennel


Are you a fan of black licorice, or anise? Then fennel may be right up your alley. The bulb of this crunchy herb is teaming with vitamin C, fiber, potassium and essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Studies have shown fennel may aid in relief from anemia, indigestion, and constipation, may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and may boost immunity and improve brain function. To all my lady friends out there, fennel has also been used to help reduce the effects of PMS and relieve pain for menopausal women.


Some of my favorite recipes:


Broccoli


Our cruciferous friend is abundant in fiber, vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, E, K and a good amount of B vitamins including folic acid (helps body produce and maintain new cells). Vitamin K has been shown to aid in the maintenance of bone healthwhen partnered with calcium, resulting in a higher bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis. Research also points to the connection between the consumption of cruciferous vegetables and a reduced risk of certain cancers as a result of the flavonoids, vitamin and mineral nutrients contained within.


Some of my favorite recipes:

Bon Appetit!

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