The time has come to grab a basket and head out to your nearest farmers market or grocery store because we have reached the season for FRESH fruits and vegetables. Fall is a great time to fill your crisper and kitchen counter with great tasting fruits and vegetables for your family. Here are a couple of my favorite fall veggies to spice up the season and some reasons why you should include them on your plate.
Broccoli: When it comes to a super food, broccoli has the title knocked out of the park. It is a member of the cabbage family that packs a might vitamin C punch. Eating only one cup of raw broccoli provides more than double your daily need for the vitamin! Broccoli is packed with cancer fighting phytochemicals, reducing the risk of many common caners. But wait that isn’t all. Broccoli has calcium to help maintain strong bones and is full of folic acid aiding in the prevention of birth defects. Serving broccoli raw or steamed helps keep all those nutrients trapped inside the floret to deposit in your body.
Brussels sprouts: Another cancer fighting food and member of the cabbage family, it is great for its fiber content. It has equal parts soluble and insoluble fiber, helping to decrease that bad cholesterol while keeping you regular! Now like most vegetables Brussels sprouts are low in fat and calories, however they are rather high in protein! Only 24 calories in a half cup of cooked sprouts. So add some quinoa or other whole grain to make a protein packed meal without adding any animal products.
Cranberries: What is Thanksgiving without a bowl of cranberry sauce? But why should you eat these berries more often? They are full of antioxidants, protecting cells from cancer causing agents. They can help prevent plaque from forming on your teeth and can help decrease the cause of stomach cancer and ulcers by binding with bacteria. With that bacteria binding power, some research shows they aid in the prevention of urinary tract infections!
Pumpkins: It isn’t fall without a friendly jack-o-lantern smiling at you! But pumpkins are not only useful for your front porch, they are full of antioxidants. Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A, which aids in skin integrity and vision and helps protect your body against some cancers. And don’t forget those seeds! Pumpkin seeds are a good source of fiber and healthy mono-unsaturated fat which are both heart helping food components.
Spinach: Great in early fall, spinach is a great source of vitamin K and vitamin A, as well as folate, magnesium and iron. Research shows that spinach can help to reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including stomach, prostate, and skin. It can also act as an anti-inflammatory to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with asthma, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. When shopping for spinach, look for firm, crisp, deep green leaves. Spinach is great as a base for salads, delicious when added to soups or casseroles to provide bulk. I like to add spinach into my pasta sauces, on pizza, and in sandwiches instead of lettuce.
Check out this post on Health Bytes: http://healthbytesnyc.com/uncategorized/fresh-for-fall/