THE HEALTHY BOUNTY OF FALL
Welcome everyone! It’s #MENU MONDAY and officially Fall. It’s that time of year when trees show their beautiful autumn color, the days become shorter, the nights cooler and a bounty of fruit is ready for harvest.
So, let’s kick the season off by reviewing the perennial favorites you don’t want to miss. They not only smell and look great, but they’re filled with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will stoke your fire and keep you going strong all season long.
5 HEALTHY AUTUMN FRUITS YOU CAN’T DO WITHOUT:
- APPLES. This fruit is always at the top of our “go to” list. Apples are rich in fiber with 4 grams per serving. So they not only aid our digestion, but they fill us up without adding a lot of calories. Apples also contain riboflavin and thiamin, which are good sources of B-complex vitamins. And, this fruit is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which boost our immune system and protect us from illness and disease, including cancer. There are over 7,500 varieties of this fruit so eating an apple a day – no matter where you may be – is always an easy thing to do. The harvest season lasts through November so apples will make a great addition to every holiday meal coming up. Just make sure you leave the skin on – as this part contains all the heart healthy, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer flavonoids.
- PEARS. Here’s another plentiful and inexpensive fruit you’ll find all autumn long. Like apples, pears are great sources of fiber, which aids digestion and helps our body absorb the vitamins and minerals from our food. One medium pear contains 212 milligrams of potassium to maintain a healthy heart beat and strong, flexible muscles. And, pears supply 10 percent of our daily requirement of vitamin C – necessary for preventing infection, keeping our immune system strong and protecting from certain types of cancer. The vitamin K in a pear helps our blood clot properly and the vitamin A supports healthy eyes protecting them from degenerative eye disease. Make sure to take advantage of this fruit’s long harvest season, which began in August and will run through February.
- DATES. This Middle Eastern favorite has become a staple in cooking around the world. And, with good reason. The sweet flavor of this fruit blends perfectly in everything from salads, to stews, to desserts. Dates are low in fat and high in fiber. They are a wonderful source of potassium, which maintains heart health by reducing our risk for stroke and lowering blood pressure. As a wonderful source of magnesium, dates offer anti-inflammatory benefits for those suffering with arthritis and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And, the levels of vitamin B6 can improve brain performance and improve mental clarity and cognitive functions. The rather short harvest season for dates runs from September through December, although they can always be purchased from online vendors and specialty markets.
- CRANBERRIES. Cranberries are not just for the holidays. They are a superfood that can be enjoyed all year long with fresh cranberries available from October through December. These berries are nutrient dense and are loaded with fiber for digestive health and vitamin C for our immune system. Cranberries are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, with a total antioxidant capacity of nearly 9,000 in one single cup. They contain phytochemicals that guard against aging, inflammation, bacterial infections and certain types of cancer. The berries only have 45 calories per cup and are famous for maintaining kidney and urinary health. But remember, while fresh and dried cranberries are equally beneficial, cranberries in juice or “cocktail” form are less nutritious.
- POMEGRANATES. Now, here we have a very underrated and overlooked fruit. Perhaps because it’s not the easiest fruit to eat? But, it’s an antioxidant powerhouse that protects against illness, infection and disease, including breast and prostate cancer. It contains insoluble dietary fibers for digestion, vitamin C for boosting immunity and ellagitannin compounds that are effective in reducing heart disease. One pomegranate also is rich in vitamin K, calcium, copper and potassium that help fight arthritis and joint pain, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and improve memory. To harness its health benefits, cut the pomegranate in quarters and put the pieces in a bowl of water. The seeds will separate and sink to the bottom of the bowl. Once these are juiced, be sure to save the seeds and use them in your favorite salads.
And that, my friends, is the skinny on five fall fruits that you can enjoy right now and throughout the coming months. Autumn – it’s a cornucopia of healthy benefits!
Thanks again for joining me everyone. Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and,