July 23, 2024
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Autumn is a wonderful time of year, with colorful foliage, air rich with fall aromas and harvest flavors to savor. Just like our fashion selections change with the seasons, so do our diet and exercise routines. As the temperature becomes cool and crisp, it is important to nourish and warm our body from the inside to balance things out. The cooler and less humid air quality allows for comfortable outdoor activities. Autumn is the time of year to strengthen the immune system, balance hormones, boost energy and feel well all around.

There is an abundance of vitamin- and mineral-rich autumn foods to choose from. By consuming a variety of healthy nutrient immune-boosting foods, wintertime flus and colds can be minimized. Below are some to add to your autumn diet.

 

Apples

There are a variety of apples with distinctive colors and tastes to choose from in the autumn. Apples are versatile and can be eaten raw, cut up in salads or incorporated into baked goods. This fruit contains pectin (soluble fiber) and is linked to reducing cholesterol levels. Apples contain antioxidants such as quercetin, a protective agent against heart disease and cancer.

 

Pears

Pears are a non-acidic fruit and a good choice for those who have sensitive stomachs. They can be eaten raw, sliced in salads, cooked or juiced. The Vitamin C from pears helps fight the flu. Pears have natural sugar, a great way to boost energy at breakfast or for an afternoon pick- me-up snack. Pear skin is an excellent source of fiber and potassium.

 

Pumpkin

The sweet flavors of pumpkin are wonderful in a variety of autumnal dishes. Pumpkins are winter squashes whose summer cousins include zucchini. As with all orange-colored fruits and veggies, pumpkin contains a high level of the antioxidant “beta-carotene.” When beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A, it helps prevent degenerative diseases and infections. Vitamin A is necessary for night vision.

 

Winter Squash

Varieties include spaghetti squash, acorn squash and butternut squash. Squash is harvested in the fall. Loaded with beta-carotene, a precursor for Vitamin A, squash promotes immunity and maintains eye, lung, heart, and kidney health. Roast, grill, steam, mash or make them into a hearty soup.

 

Spinach and Silverbeet

Both vegetables are nutritious and low in calories. They are rich in fiber, Vitamins A, K, C and folate. These vegetables have significant phytochemicals, which are compounds in plants, giving them color, flavor and aroma. They are believed to protect cells from damage that can lead to cancer. Both vegetables also have significant antioxidant value. Spinach and silverbeet contain the minerals iron, calcium and potassium. They’re delicious in soups and salads, and can even be made into a green pesto.

 

Peas

Peas are legumes. The pea seeds grow in pods and are a good source of incomplete protein, iron, zinc and Vitamin C. Toss peas into salads for additional color and nutrients. Cook quickly to retain texture to add to pasta dishes, stir fries, risottos and/or fritters. Sugar snap peas are crisp and crunchy. Snow peas and sugar snap peas have edible pods.

 

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are fungi. Popular varieties include oyster, Swiss brown and shiitake, and are best eaten during the autumn months. They’re low in sodium, a good source of thiamin, Vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin, niacin, folate and fiber. Incorporate mushrooms into recipes for main or side dishes.

 

Beet Root

Beets burst with color! They are low in calories and have a unique, sweet earthly favor making them a favorite of the foodie world. They are a source of folate, manganese and potassium, and are packed with dietary fiber. The distinctive color comes from the powerful antioxidant betacyanins, which may help in lowering heart disease. Beets are traditionally used in a medicinal capacity to detoxify the liver.

 

Cranberries

Cranberries contain Vitamin C and fiber, making this fruit a healthy heart fruit by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Notably high in anthocyanins (which gives fruit their signature color), cranberries help reduce oxidative stress and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Cook them and add to oatmeal, pancakes, rice, quinoa, and desserts. Or puree them for traditional cranberry sauce.

 

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are full of fiber and antioxidants. Boil, steam, roast or get creative and add them as an unexpected pizza topping!

 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are loaded with Vitamins A and C, and are important for the immune system. Use a mixture of white, red and orange sweet potatoes, tossing them with olive oil and garlic to roast. Try slicing into fries, spray with Pam spray, sprinkle with cinnamon and a touch of salt, and bake uncovered till done!

 

Leeks

Leeks are high in flavonoids, specifically “kaempferol,” which offers protection against heart disease due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Leeks are a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which help with immunity and prevention of eye disease. This vegetable is low in calories, high in fiber, flavorful but milder than onions. Leeks are abundant in the fall and can be used in soups, stuffings, or sautéed and added to fries. Carefully clean the vegetable as there may be trapped dirt on the inside areas.

 

Parsnips

Parsnips are root vegetables like carrots. The vegetable becomes sweeter with exposure to cold weather. They are high in Vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting and bone health. They are also high in Vitamin C and folate. Folate helps in DNA production, cell division and is important in pregnancy. Inadequate intake of folate during the first trimester of pregnancy has been associated with neural tube defects. Add parsnips raw to salads, cook in soup, stews, stir fry or roast with olive oil.

 

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that may protect against cancer. It’s high in fiber, as well asVitamins K and C. Steam, roast or add it to stir fries. Cauliflower has recently been used to make gluten free pizza and pastas.

 

Blueberries

Blueberries are known as a summer fruit but there are varieties available in the autumn. They’re high in fiber (they help relieve constipation) and low in calories and sugar (which can help keep weight down). Their antioxidant, anthocyanins, may help lower risk of certain diseases (cancers, heart disease and diabetes). Blueberries’ Vitamin C properties also help with immunity (infection control). As the autumn temperature cools, blueberries can be made into amazing sauces to lighten up rich turkey and meat dishes.

 

Fennel

Fresh or cooked, the sweet aniseed flavor of this vegetable is wonderful to add to any dish. It is high in fiber, Vitamin C, folate and potassium. In India, fennel seeds are often chewed at the end of a meal to aid in digestion and ward off bad breath.

 

Eggplant

Eggplant can vary in color from deep purple or black to pale green and white. They can be large bulbous sized, finger-slim Japanese types and pea-sized Southeast Asian varieties, all very versatile for use in various recipes. They’re high in soluble fiber (which reduces cholesterol), Vitamin B6 (for healthy blood), manganese (for healthy bones), folate (for heart health), potassium (for blood pressure regulation) and rich in antioxidants (anti-cancer agent).

 

Kiwifruit

Bursting with Vitamin C and Vitamin E (immunity boosters), and fiber, kiwi is considered a low glycemic index fruit, meaning it’s low in sugar. The glycemic index is a tool that measures how different foods affect blood glucose levels over time. The lower the GI value, the less sugar it contains, which is a good reference for diabetics. Peel and eat raw or incorporate into dessert recipes for added color and sweetness.

 

Limes

Green fleshed citrus fruit high in Vitamin C and pectin fiber, limes are used for refined sugar-free desserts, adding a zingy-tangy taste to food. Lime adds a wonderful zestful taste to fish and adds a colorful decorative touch for dish presentation.

 

Grapes

There are hundreds of varieties of grapes for eating and making wine. Grapes are good sources of fiber, Vitamin C and potassium. They are high in natural sugar, making this fruit an energy booster. Serve in salads, desserts and/or horderves with cheese and crackers. Freeze grapes in airtight bags for an afterschool snack. Add to recipes with sweet potatoes, chicken and fish.

 

Green Beans

French beans or string beans consist of edible green pods and soft tender beans. Trim the tips of the stems before cooking, steaming or eating raw. Plunging string beans in ice water after cooking will preserve the green color by stopping the cooking process. This vegetable is low in calories and high in the following nutrients: fiber, Vitamin K (for healthy blood clotting and strong bones), beta-carotene (anti-oxidant), Vitamin C (for immunity and muscle health), potassium (heart health) and folate.

Incorporate these healthy food selections into your diet. These “Super Foods “can help your immune system function at its peak, keep the body healthy, keep weight in check and make you feel energized and youthful! Bon appetite!

Yours in good health,

Jenn

718-644-1387

www.nu-transform.com

 

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