Fall is harvest season. This means that if there is ever an optimum time to stop by your local farmers market, now would be it. But before you strike out, it's important that you know about some of the top foods that are in their prime right about now.
The reason why it's so beneficial to consume foods that are in season is 1) you'll be able to take the most advantage of the nutrients that they contain, and 2) you can forego all of the preservatives that foods need to remain "edible" whenever they are out of season.
Two other benefits that come from eating seasonal food is it's better for the environment and you'll be doing your partner to sustain farmers in your area. Plus, seasonal foods are cheaper in price as well. Now do you see why it's a good idea to eat as many seasonal fall foods as you possibly can?
If you're totally down, but you're not 100 percent sure which fruits and veggies make the list, I've included 10 of 'em. As a bonus, I included a recipe for you to try, just in case you want to impress some of your friends with all of your fall cuisine knowledge. Are you ready to get a healthy dose of fall-themed nutrition into your system?
One of the reasons why artichokes are so good for you is they are loaded with all sorts of nutrients. They contain vitamins B6, C and K, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and even calcium—and that's just for starters! If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you'll be happy to know that they've got around 4.2 grams of protein (raw) as well. As far as the health benefits of artichokes go, they are able to help regulate your blood pressure, detoxify your liver, lower your blood sugar levels, relieve symptoms that are related to irritable bowel syndrome and, they contain cancer-fighting properties as well.
Fall Recipe To Try: Warm Artichoke-Olive Dip
2. Brussel Sprouts
When I was younger, I ate Brussel sprouts because I was made to. These days, I enjoy them based on how they are prepared. If you're someone who's always been a fan of this vegetable, that definitely works in your favor because they've got quite a bit of vitamins C and K in them, along with Vitamin A, folate and manganese. If you're constantly on the quest for a food with fiber, Brussel sprouts totally have your back. Another great thing about this vegetable is it's got omega-3 fatty acids as well. Thanks to the Vitamin K they contain, Brussel sprouts can help your blood to clot; thanks to the Vitamin C, you'll get a good amount of antioxidants into your system and, thanks to its sulfur compounds, it's the type of vegetable that can be a wonderful detoxifier—a real plus if you're trying to treat adult acne.
Fall Recipe To Try: Spicy Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Avocado & Pomegranate Seeds
3. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is pretty bananas on the health benefits front. As far as Vitamin A goes, it's got a record 457% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) in it. Butternut squash also has a healthy dose of almost all of the vitamin Bs, as well as vitamins C, E, magnesium, potassium and manganese. If you're looking for a delicious way to stay regular, butternut squash is a good source of fiber. Also, because of the Vitamin C that it contains, it's the kind of vegetable that will support your immune system, protect your skin (UV rays can still affect it during the colder months) and reduce inflammation too. As a bonus, since it's only 100 calories per serving, butternut squash is the kind of food that can help you to lose weight too.
Fall Recipe To Try: Butternut Squash Risotto
Two things that are considered to be "nature's candy" are raisins and figs. A part of the reason is because they have a good amount of natural sugar in them. In fact, it's not uncommon for some people to turn figs into a paste and use them as a natural sweetener alternative for their dessert recipes. On the health tip, figs are another good source of fiber. Figs also are able to help control diabetes, lower cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, relieve sore throats, fight free radicals and, thanks to all of the antioxidants in them, they can keep your skin and hair looking pretty amazing too.
Fall Recipe To Try: Fig-Ruby Port Preserves
If you're not familiar with what kohlrabi is, it's basically a vegetable that's related to cabbage (another food that is in season this time of year, by the way). It is considered to be a cruciferous vegetable and has the nickname "German turnip". Kohlrabi is awesome because it has a whopping 93 percent of the daily value of Vitamin C that you need. It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B6, along with some potassium and manganese. Kohlrabi is a good veggie to eat during this time of the year because it's got the antioxidants anthocyanins, isothiocyanates and glucosinolates—all of which help to strengthen your immune system. Not only that but kohlrabi promotes a healthy gut, lowers your risk of heart disease, provides quite the energy boost, strengthens your eyes and even helps to prevent anemia.
Fall Recipe To Try: Crisp Apple & Kohlrabi Salad
Kind of as a sidebar, something that I like about pears is the fact that they represent wisdom. In Zora Neale Hurston's book Their Eyes Were Watching God, the pear tree was a symbol of inner peace as well. So, why not bite into some insight and tranquility this fall? If you do, you'll be enjoying a sweet fruit that will not cause your blood sugar to spike. Something else that's cool about pears is it's a food that has a nice source of fiber in them. Other things that make pears worthy of being on your grocery shopping list is they've got Vitamin C, potassium, electrolytes, magnesium and copper. Also, if you snack on one before you work out, the complex carbs in them will make it easier for you to complete your exercise regimen.
Fall Recipe To Try: Red Wine Poached Pears and Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Filling
If you don't know what persimmons are, they are a fruit that is in peak condition right about now that's known as being a "divine fruit". Because they are rich in catechins and polyphenolic antioxidants, persimmons can provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Some other claims to fame with this particular fruit is its ability to curb your appetite without you having to worry about gaining weight (due to it being a low-calorie fruit). Persimmons also are low in sodium which makes them good for reducing hypertension, they contain copper that can support the production of healthy red blood cells, and—here's a random fun fact—a lot of Japanese people use them as a natural way to treat hiccups. (Try it and report back!)
Fall Recipe To Try: Persimmon Compote
8. Red Grapes
To tell you the truth, all grapes are in season during the early part of the fall. The reason why I specifically listed red ones is because, is it just me, or do they seem to taste better than white ones during this particular time of the year? Anyway, you'll want to store up on some of these because of all of the vitamins C and K that they have. Red grapes also have copper in them (something that your body needs if you want to naturally fight premature greying). Something else that's cool about red grapes is they've got 1,600 beneficial plant compounds in them to help keep chronic diseases at bay. One of those compounds is called resveratrol; it's got the ability to treat and help prevent cancer cells. Two other good things about red grapes is their ability to lower cholesterol levels and even boost brain health (this includes improving your memory).
Fall Recipe To Try: Sangria Grapes
Salsify is a root vegetable that has a very slightly sweet flavor to it. One of the main reasons why people eat it is to treat constipation, due to all of the fiber that it has. Salsify also contains quite a bit of the B vitamins and Vitamin C, along with iron, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium. It's a good source of protein as well. Salsify is another food that will keep your immune system in great shape. And, you'll want to eat it if you want to stay on top of regulating your blood pressure, improving your skin's appearance and, due to the calcium that's in it, reducing your PMS-related symptoms too.
Fall Recipe To Try: Splendiferous Salsify Soup
10. Sweet Potatoes
One more. I'm pretty sure you already knew that the perfect food known as sweet potatoes is in season during the autumn. If you definitely love the taste of homemade sweet potato pie (or sweet potato French fries), but you're not crystal clear on all of the ways it benefits your health, let's run through a few reasons, shall we? They are also a vegetable that's a great source of fiber. Some other wonderful benefits is they can help to keep you from developing a Vitamin A deficiency; the magnesium in them can keep your stress levels low; they've got compounds in them to guard your body against ulcers; they contain antimicrobial properties that fight against health challenges like pneumonia and, the vitamins A, C and E are wonderful for your skin. So yeah, if you don't get anything else on this list, at least pick up a few sweet potatoes. It's a signature fall food that is as healthy as it is delicious. Enjoy!
Fall Recipe To Try: Sweet Potato Pancakes
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