From cozy hoodies to boots and scarves, cuddling up by bonfires, breathing in the fresh crisp air while reading a great book, pumpkin and apple picking with loved ones, or sipping a cup of hot apple cider, Autumn brings us so much to be grateful for.
As the weather gets colder we tend to lean more toward heavier comfort foods. There are healthy fall comfort foods that are sure to put a smile on your face without feeling guilty.
My Top 10 Healthy Fall Foods That Are Not Pumpkin
Did you know that there are over 7,500 variations of apples? There are 2,500 right in the U.S. alone. With so many different kinds, you are sure to find one you like.
Apples are rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber. Regular consumption of apples will help detoxify the body and improve overall health.
The high fiber content will help smooth bowel movements too. Quercetin, in its natural state can be found in higher amounts in the skin of an apple. This flavonoid antioxidant plays an important part in fighting free radical damage.
Research has shown that quercetin has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. As the saying goes, “An apple a day, can keep the doctor away!”
Squash are one of the largest groups of vegetables! Although Pumpkins fall into this family of some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, I would like to concentrate more on Acorn, Spaghetti, and Butternut squash.
There are so many options from roasted squash, to spaghetti, to soups, and casseroles that you can find tons of different options to change it up! Squash is low in calories and packed with more than 400% of the vitamin A you daily require.
You can count on squash to help improve your vision, skin, and strengthen your immunities.
Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to the carrot. This sweet veggie is rich in fiber, vitamin K, C, and Folate.
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, aids in energy production and plays an important role in DNA synthesis and repair. For the best flavor, choose parsnips that are firm, small to medium in size, and whiter in color.
Dates are a great sweet snack when you are in need of a boost of energy. Although high in carbs and calories, this fruit is perfect in moderation because it’s a great source of antioxidants.
Dates can be used as a natural sweetener in desserts and smoothies. Unlike other sweeteners, dates contain fiber and are a whole food from the date palm tree.
From leaf to root, beets are a powerhouse for our body. Beets are rich in nitrates which our bodies convert to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps dilate our blood vessels and improves our blood flow.
Research suggests that beet juice helps increase our stamina to last longer through our workouts. Red beets contain pigments called betalains which have antiviral and antimicrobial properties that help protect us from many diseases.
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The average pear is just around 100 calories and packed with fiber to keep you feeling full while improving digestion and intestinal health.
With minerals galore from magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, copper, and iron pears support our bones and improve circulation. The powerful antioxidants can help prevent cancer and boost your immune system.
The skin is known to contain 3 to 4 times more phenolic phytonutrients and about ½ of the pear’s fiber so there is no need to remove the skin!
7. Brussel Sprouts
To avoid the loss of nutrients and keep these bad boys smelling fresh, cut the Brussel sprouts into quarters and do not overcook them. Brussel sprouts are linked to the prevention of many types of cancers.
They are packed with vitamin K to help protect our hearts and help with blood clotting and vitamin C to boost our immune system.
Did you know there are links to pomegranate juices’ concentration of antioxidants helping with sexual performance and fertility? This delicious fruit’s powerful blend of antioxidants can help reduce inflammation, and protect our cells from damage. Research has shown that the potent antioxidants in the pomegranate protect against heart disease, cognitive impairment, and cancer.
9. Sweet Potatoes
So why the sweet potato over the white potato? Sweet potatoes have more fiber which will keep you regular and feeling full longer.
They also win in higher amounts of Calcium, vitamin C, and A. Although sweet potatoes are higher in sugar than the white potato they have a low glycemic index.
This vegetable is an anti-inflamatory and *antioxidant rich Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, cinnamic acid.
Did you know that this super food contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound found in certain cruciferous vegetables that has been shown to kill cancer stem cells.
According to the National Cancer Institute cauliflower is shown to have many anti-cancer effects on the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lungs, and stomach.
It’s also very versatile. From raw with hummus, tossed onto a salad, steamed, riced, cauliflower pizza, and my personal fav – roasted with garlic and hot sauce you just can’t go wrong!
Although the fall brings in heavier dishes, you can easily incorporate these fruits and vegetables to take advantage of all the health benefits. Get out and enjoy the fresh air while you support the local farmer’s markets and pick up this fresh produce. Take the time to enjoy all the great healthy foods that are abundant this time of year and they will reward your body.
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