The summer farmer’s market is great, but the fall is associated with the word “harvest” for a reason. If you’re heading to your local market this weekend, be sure to pick up some of these nutrient-packed fall foods!
This winter squash, also known as the japanese pumpkin, has a deep, almost burnt, orange hue, which we owe to the plant pigment beta carotene. Beta carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, which we need in sufficient amounts to support our vision; the integrity of the epithelial tissue that covers our body and lines body systems like the respiratory system and the gastrointestinal tract; growth of bones and soft tissues; the immune system; and even reproductive function. Is there anything vitamin A doesn’t do?
TIP: Try it in stir fries or chopped and roasted on salads. To make cutting easier, microwave it for a few minutes first (just make sure to poke some holes in it before you do!)
Apples have a type of fiber called pectin that’s prebiotic, meaning it feeds the bacteria in the gut and promotes a flourishing microbiome. Together with polyphenol antioxidants, apples are also linked to decreased LDL cholesterol levels.
TIP: Try it on a yogurt parfait or lightly sauteed in grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil with cinnamon for a healthier take on dessert.
As a cruciferous vegetable, brussels sprouts help support your body’s natural ability to detox and metabolize hormones for better balance. They’re also full of fiber, which helps keep you regular, further balancing hormones and promoting the excretion of toxins that we’re exposed to on a daily basis, from auto exhaust to household cleaners and even personal hygiene products.
TIP: Try them shredded in your morning eggs.
Squash + Pumpkin Seeds
Aside from being a good source of fiber and healthy fats, seeds from pumpkin and squash also have a variety of minerals like zinc, copper, iron, and magnesium. Minerals are important for your bone health, ability to heal from wounds, energy, and immune system. With all of these important functions, it’s a shame mineral-rich seeds get tossed!
TIP: Try roasting them with avocado oil and your favorite herbal blend for a crunchy snack or salad topper. To make cleaning them easier, put them in a bowl of water.
Leeks fall in the allium family along with garlic and onions. They provide sulfur, which supports the production of the antioxidant glutathione. Aside from being a strong antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress, glutathione is essential for the immune system and detoxification process.
TIP: Try leeks (in addition to onions and garlic) in salads or your favorite homemade soup.