Fall into Autumnal Superfoods
Crisp autumn air makes us think of pumpkin spice lattes and fall treats. While it’s fine to savor these fall flavors within reason, don’t miss out on the treasure trove of nutrients and versatility found in autumn superfoods.
“Superfoods are packed with nutrients that help optimize our overall wellness,” said Kari Kooi, registered dietitian at Houston Methodist Hospital. “Adding new foods is a simple change that can have a lasting impact for those trying to stay healthy this fall.”
Here are five fall superfoods Kooi suggests to incorporate:
Eggplant: Eggplant is packed with vitamins, minerals and protective phytonutrients including nasunin, an antioxidant found in the peel that has been shown to protect the brain from damaging free radicals. Oven roasting eggplant with cherry tomatoes and tossing with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt is a simple way to bring this vegetable to your table.
Apples: Icons of health, apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower bad cholesterol. An apple a day can also keep blood sugar spikes at bay. These crisp, juicy grab-and-go fruits are filling and make a perfect power snack paired with a serving of protein-rich cheese or nut butter.
Cauliflower: This cruciferous vegetable is actually hundreds of immature flowers bonded together. Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C and phytonutrients known for their anti-cancer properties. Pureed cauliflower “mash” is a comforting low-carb stand in for starchy mashed potatoes. Steam, don’t boil, the cauliflower before pureeing as boiling causes major nutrient loss.
Cranberries: These super-tart berries are antioxidant powerhouses. Their ruby red coloring comes from the presence of anthocyanins, antioxidants that have been shown to reduce inflammation and promote heart health. Replace sugar-saturated jellied cranberry sauce with fresh or frozen cranberries mixed with ingredients such as chopped fresh apples and orange juice to cut down on the amount of added sugar needed to balance the tartness.
Pumpkin/Butternut squash: The orange coloring of these gourds comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gets converted into immune-boosting vitamin A. Known as the “vision vitamin” because of its role in promoting eye health, vitamin A also promotes healthy skin and bones.