When most of us think about fresh fruits and veggies our minds drift to the bounty that rolls in during the spring and summer months. But if you think you have to swear off of fresh produce… and all the natural nutrients they deliver… all fall and winter long, think again. Because it turns out the health benefits of fall and winter fruits and veggies rival any you can get at the height of summer!
You just have to know where to look…
This underrated root helps lower blood pressure and protect heart health. Beets are brimming with natural nitrates, which studies show may boost your energy and endurance by as much as 15 percent! Nitrates convert to blood-flow-boosting nitric oxide, making beets not only a natural for lowering blood pressure, but also for enhancing brain health, focus and concentration too. And the betaine in beets can help prevent, as well as reduce, the buildup of fat in your liver.
2. Brussels sprouts:
Brussels sprouts are finally having their day in the sun. These once overlooked “baby cabbages” have finally become popular with chefs and home cooks alike, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Unlike many veggies, cruciferous Brussels sprouts are relatively high in protein, so you get a well-rounded menu item from what’s usually a side-dish. Brussels sprouts are also high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In fact, this one little veggie can help you combat bone loss, protect your eyes, maintain your blood sugar and even reduce your risk for colon and prostate cancers.
White colored foods are often highly refined and less nutritious. So it’s a good idea to avoid most of them. But be sure to make an exception for nutritious and delicious cauliflower. Packed with the kind of antioxidants that are known to reduce the risks of colon and lung cancers, it’s no surprise that studies hint that cauliflower could also be helpful in the fight against other cancers, too. Want more? Cauliflower reduces inflammation, which helps protect against all kinds of chronic illnesses.
Pears are more than just a sweet treat that keeps you away from the Christmas cookies. This fall and winter fruit is very high in fiber, so it’s a perfect choice for heart health, helping you maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Plus the fiber in pears is great for your bowel and colon health, keeping you regular and reducing painful inflammation.
Pomegranates are high in healthy potassium to help keep your kidneys, heart and muscles in tip top shape. The ruby red seeds are rich in vitamin C and natural anti-inflammatory compounds. And pomegranates contain cancer-fighting antioxidants, which have been shown to be especially effective against prostate cancer cells. Pomegranates may even be able to help fight off dementia, protecting your brain and your precious memories.
Pumpkin is one of our favorite fall vegetables around here, and not just because of jack-o’-lanterns and pumpkin pie. Pumpkin is a fiber powerhouse, so you’re getting all kinds of health benefits ranging from heart protection to digestion support. Chock full of carotenoids–powerful antioxidants that protect your health and fight chronic illnesses–pumpkin protects against stroke, cancer, age-related macular degeneration and so much more. If you’re a newbie to eating pumpkin and aren’t sure how to fix this fall veggie, don’t worry we’ve got you covered.
Small pumpkins are typically best for cooking. Slice the pumpkin in half. Discard any seeds and stringy insides, just as you would if you were carving it up for Halloween. Next cut the pumpkin up into approximately 1-inch chunks. Roast the chunks like you would carrots or potatoes. For variety try cutting up some beets and carrots too. Toss them, along with your pumpkin chunks, in olive oil and spices such as rosemary and garlic, before popping them into the oven to roast for a delicious fall side dish.
Don’t wait for summer to get your fresh fruit and veggie fix. There’s plenty of ripe and ready produce to choose from right now!