With the return of pumpkin-spice-who-knows-what lattes, desserts, and more, our light and healthy summer eating habits can easily spiral out of control this fall.
Our favorite seasonal drinks, treats, and comfort foods can make it tempting to keep going back form more (you know… just a second slice of pie or maybe just one more pumpkin spice latte to help get us through the day).
With a little effort, autumn’s best super foods can help us stay true to our healthy eating efforts throughout the upcoming cold-weather months.
10 Seasonal Super Foods You Won’t Want To Miss
Don’t let the upcoming windy weather and end-of-summer sniffles keep you cuddled up with a big bowl of your favorite carb-loaded comfort food.
Autumn’s best super foods can help satisfy your cravings while making you feel rejuvenated.
The real power behind their bright orange hue is beta-carotene, a provitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Known for its immune-boosting powers, beta-carotene is essential for eye health and has also been linked to preventing coronary heart disease. What’s even better- there’s no need to choose fresh to get the benefits of pumpkin. One cup of canned pumpkin contains seven grams of fiber and three grams of protein- even more than the fresh stuff, and contains only 80 calories and one gram of fat.
Butternut squash is inevitably one of the most popular fall and winter veggies. This nutritious root vegetable can be used in multiple ways to enhance your plant-based dishes. It’s also one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can choose, and one of the best foods to eat to protect your body against cancer. It’s packed with carotenoids, known as beta-carotene, which your body naturally converts to Vitamin A.
Sweet or tart, apples are satisfying eaten raw or baked into a delicious dish. Just be sure to eat the skin—it contains heart-healthy flavonoids and they are loaded with antioxidants. Just one serving gives you 4 grams of dietary fiber.
4. Brussels sprouts
The health benefits of Brussels sprouts are so impressive that you'd think this hearty cruciferous vegetable shows up near the top of every 'super food list'. Research shows that Brussels sprouts contain more glucosinolates than any other common crucifer, more vitamin C than oranges, and almost twice as much vitamin K as red cabbage
Curly kale is a nutritional powerhouse packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol and quercetin. As a result of its high antioxidant content, kale is one of the vegetables with the highest ORAC rating (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). Only a handful of vegetables including raw garlic, red cabbage, sweet potatoes, savoy cabbage, beet greens and arugula – have been reported to have a higher ORAC rating than kale.
6. Sweet potatoes
Packed with both nutrients and a sweet flavor, sweet potatoes are one of the most versatile and healthful vegetables available. They are chock-full of disease-preventing, cancer-fighting, and immune-boosting benefits. These tubers are also good sources of the anti-inflammatory nutrients, vitamins A and C, making them an excellent food choice for those suffering from arthritis or asthma
We know cranberry sauce as a staple at the holidays, but cranberries are a super food that you should enjoy all year round. Cranberries have vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fighting antioxidants, cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable--including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries. One cup of whole cranberries has 8,983 total antioxidant capacity. Only blueberries can top that: Wild varieties have 13,427; cultivated blueberries have 9,019.
Pomegranates contain strong antioxidants and properties that can help prevent fatty deposits from building up around our arteries. This buildup may lead to heart attacks and other heart problems. As more and more people are looking to sip on super foods rather than sugary sodas, pomegranates (both in their natural and juice forms) have become increasingly popular
Leeks, which are stalks from an onion-like plant in the allium family of vegetables, are full of flavonoid antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. A one-cup serving will provide a hefty dose of vitamin K, manganese, vitamin B6, iron, folate and vitamin C.
Come from the same family as the turnip, but they’re not as harsh in flavor. The fall vegetable is a great source of vitamin C, folate, and manganese, which can help boost your mood once the weather gets chilly and dark.