Top 5 Fall Foods for Optimal Health

Monday, November 3, 2014

fresh pears

By Sheridan Jonas, Guest Blogger

The sweet smell of apples and the spicy taste of pumpkin seeds are two of the reasons fall is my favorite season. Not only are fall foods mouthwatering and delicious, but they are optimal for a healthy diet. Check out what foods rank as the top five for fall.

Sweet Potatoes
Once the leaves begin to change colors, sweet potatoes are top of mind. But who knew this tasty tuber is packed with vitamin A and potassium. A medium sweet potatoe contains 155% the recommended daily value of vitamin A, an antioxidant responsible for healthy eyes and hair. Potassium is another a key mineral found in sweet potatoes and helps your muscles work properly.

In the Kitchen: Enjoy Alton Brown’s Sweet Potato Waffles from FoodNetwork.com for a delicious fall morning.

Apples
An apple a day does keep the doctor away. This crunchy fruit contains pectin, a type of fiber shown to help lower LDL (or bad) cholesterol. In addition, one medium apple provides you with 1 cup (out of 2 cups total per day) of fruit.

In the Kitchen: This homemade apple butter from FoodNetwork.com goes great on whole grain toast or poured over pecans and heated up in the oven.

Brussels Sprouts
Brimming with vitamin K and folate, Brussels sprouts are a must for your fall menu. This native Belgian veggie is loaded with Vitamin K, which provides important blood clotting and bone strengthening functions. Folate is necessary for neural tube development (part of the brain and spinal cord), making Brussels sprouts a great choice for expecting mothers

Cooking Tip: In order to save those wonderful vitamins and minerals, steam or microwave Brussels Sprout and make sure to not overcook.

Pears
This fall fruit is bursting with health benefits. Pears provide a healthy dose of the antioxidant-rich vitamin C. At 5 grams per medium fruit, pears are also a valuable source of fiber, which can help to maintain a healthy gut.

In the Kitchen: Top a bed of arugula with walnuts, gorgonzola, and sliced pears.

Pumpkin Seeds
Many health benefits are found in this fall classic. A one-ounce serving (about 85 seeds) are relatively low in carbs with only 15 grams. They also carry a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, which is necessary for a healthy immune system.

In the Kitchen: Save those seeds from your pumpkin carving party and toss them with olive oil, celery salt, and ground cumin then pop them in the oven for a delicious snack.

 

Sheridan Jonas is a junior at Miami University studying nutrition with a focus in dietetics. She plans on working towards becoming and registered dietitian post graduation and furthering her passion in nutrition.

 

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