If you’re into nutrition and know what’s good for you, the shorter, darker, and colder days mean all of the best superfoods have arrived. From plump squash varieties and leafy greens to delectable apples and peppery rutabagas, there is no shortage of superfoods during the fall and winter.
When you increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially the ones in this article, you get in better nutritional shape. Consuming a wide variety of different, colorful fruits and vegetables means that you eat more antioxidants and phytonutrients, both of which are important for immune health. Keep your body in optimal nutritional shape by eating the following fall and winter superfoods.
You cannot have a fall and winter produce list without apples. With so many varieties and health benefits, it’s hard to go wrong! One medium apple offers 16% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of fiber, and the polyphenols help to decrease your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. According to a 2017 study in the European Respiratory Journal, the polyphenols in apples helped repair lung damage from excessive smoking. From Honeycrisp and Gala to Granny Smith and Pink Lady, make sure to pick up different apple varieties this fall and winter.
Belonging to the allium family, leeks have a less intense flavor than onions, but they can be used interchangeably in dishes. People classically add leeks to soups, stews, and stocks, but you can add them to lasagna, breakfast casseroles, stir-fries, and more. Leeks contain lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are antioxidants that help fight eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. A 2019 study found that the allium in leeks helped decrease the risk of colorectal cancer in men and women.
The bittersweet taste of cranberries lends them to fall salads with arugula and pomegranate arils, or breakfast puddings and tart smoothies. According to several studies, cranberries exhibit antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2009 review found that they can fight cellular inflammation, which is typically caused by cancer or heart disease. A 2016 review of preclinical studies found that the antioxidant compounds may slow cancer cell growth, and possibly kill cancer cells altogether. They are only in season for a short time, so get your hands on them before they leave grocery shelves.
They look like large, white carrots, but they have a light peppery and sweet flavor. If they get exposed to cold weather, they are often sweeter and more delicious. Parsnips contain a lot of folate, a necessary B vitamin that helps your cells divide to make DNA. One cup of parsnips provides 25% of your RDI of vitamin K, which contributes to bone health and helps your blood clot. You can roast parsnips, add them to soups, or thinly slice them for salads. Try them out as a potato alternative next time you want to make fries!
Native to certain parts of the Mediterranean and Asia, the quince is a close relative to apples and pears. They contain a lot of vitamin C, quercetin, and kaempferol, all of which help to reduce free radical damage and inflammation. Several studies suggest that quinces may alleviate allergic reactions or allergy symptoms. They do this by suppressing the activity of certain immune cells that cause these reactions. You can only find them at certain grocery stores between October and December. Note: You cannot eat them raw. You have to cook them to enjoy them.
Pumpkins are not solely meant for carving or seasonal decor, people. You can roast them, steam them, puree them, add them to oatmeal, or make them into dips. One cup of raw pumpkin cubes offers 55% of your RDI of vitamin A and 3,600 micrograms of beta-carotene. They are also rich in potassium, fiber, and B-vitamins. Keep in mind that the the larger pumpkins are less flavorful than the smaller pumpkins (pie pumpkins), which offer a sweeter, more appetizing flavor.
Beautiful, bold, wonderfully orange, and incredibly nutritious accurately describe persimmons. In season from October to early January, these fall/winter fruits are rich in vitamins A and C. The two most popular and delicious varieties include Hachiya and Fuyu persimmons. They are incredibly tasty and contain shibuol and betulinic acid, which exhibit anti-cancer properties. Several studies found that persimmons help combat breast cancer cells without affecting healthy breast cells.