When the weather starts to cool off and we haul out the blue jeans and jackets, we know that it’s time for apple cider and pumpkin pie. And, we start spending more time indoors, enjoying those tasty treats and becoming a little less active.
We know what happens next. A little weight gain here, a little less restful sleep there, and with the reduced activity we can become more prone to the season’s stresses and illnesses.
Not to worry, my friend. Take advantage of the beautiful array of foods that are in season in Autumn. Make these a part of your diet this fall season, boost your immune system and help keep you healthy. Check out these 10 fall superfoods that will give you a nutritional boost while also helping fight off those nasty illnesses, helping you to feel good inside and out.
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It’s Called the Harvest Season for a Reason
Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season when the weather starts getting cooler are not only beautiful to look at, they are incredibly healthy for us!
These foods will help boost our immune system, keep us feeling full, and give us energy to get through the day! Let’s take a closer look at some of the gems of the harvest, the fantastic foods of Autumn.
1 | Squash – Acorn and Butternut
Here are some of the wonderful qualities of squash, and why we want to take advantage of what acorn and butternut squash have to offer us in the fall season.
They are great to eat when filled with veggies, grains, meats or even as a side dish for dinner! They are low in calories and high in fiber.
Squash also contains Vitamins A and C which help build our immune system. It is a very good source of calcium, magnesium, manganese and Vitamin B6. Squash has a significant amount of Potassium which is important for blood clotting, fluid balance, heart and muscle health.
The skin of these squashes also contain high amounts of fiber. These are great sources of antioxidants, and although not every type of squash has skin that actually tastes good, take it from Jamie Oliver, who tells us that butternut squash skin is edible. Actually, he can tell me just about anything, any time, anywhere!
Warm Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash – This recipe from Jo Cooks includes several of our highlighted superfoods, including butternut squash, kale, and pumpkin seeds.
2 | Pumpkin Seeds
These little seeds are packed with protein (1/4 cup has more than 8 grams) and contain many minerals like zinc for healthy skin and iron which helps prevent anemia.
The seeds inside the pumpkin are also loaded with antioxidants and fiber as well as protein.
Some additional benefits of this fall superfood include:
- High in antioxidants and magnesium
- Helps with hormonal balance
- Great for heart health
These little seeds contain essential amino acids like arginine which help reduce blood pressure and build muscle, lysine that helps prevent cold sores, and Histidine which boosts the immune system. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids and essential fatty acids which help lower cholesterol levels in our bodies.
These little guys are high in calories, though, so watch your overall intake. It’s easy to get carried away!
If you’re wondering what to do with those pumpkin seeds, our friends at Eating Well have compiled quite a list of healthy recipes: Healthy Pumpkin Seed Recipes
3 | Sweet Potatoes
Such a versatile root vegetable, our friend the sweet potato. They’re packed with Vitamin A (beta carotene which is a precursor to Vitamin A) as well as potassium, vitamin C and fiber for slow-digesting energy.
These tasty vegetables are wonderful to enjoy along with the autumn harvest because they keep you feeling full longer and contain a great amount of Vitamin C which boosts the immune system.
These are also a good source of iron and calcium so they can help prevent anemia. And they provide antioxidant support to help combat free radicals that may be leading to other illnesses or disease in the body.
A Tasty Recipe for Fall
Autumn Spiced Mashed Sweet Potatoes – how good does that sound? It comes from Amanda at Recipes Worth Repeating, with start to finish on the table in 30 minutes. Easy Peasy.
4 | Pears
You might not consider the simple pear to be a fall superfood, but it is. Pear season begins when Bartlett pears start arriving at the Greenmarkets in late summer. They’re soon followed by Bosc and Comice which are in season in the fall through winter.
Pears are great as an afternoon snack, a side dish with dinner, or to add into a salad!
These fall beauties are rich in folate, copper, and potassium. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber which help support healthy digestion. They provide antioxidant protection for the body, too.
This fruit is loaded with Vitamin C which will help boost our immune system. They also contain Vitamin K which is important to support bone health.
Healthy Baked Pears with Cinnamon are so easy to prepare, and make a perfect accompaniment to a breakfast or brunch menu. Deryn from Running on Real Food provides us with this tasty treat.
5 | Kale
Here are some benefits of kale, another fall food that you might not think about! Kale can be cooked or eaten raw, and hails from the cabbage family.
It’s very nutritious with lutein and zeaxanthin which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
Kale also contains Vitamin A and C which help boost our immune systems.
It is a very good source of calcium, potassium, manganese and copper! It also contains iron, magnesium and omega-3’s!
Another benefit of kale is that it has a high water content, so you can feel full and satisfied but not overeat.
There are 4 types of kale:
- Dinosaur kale, which has wrinkly leave that are attached to a thick stem
- Curly kale, the most common type, with bright green ruffled leaves
- Russian kale, not quite as common, with flat leaves and a colorful fringe
- Redbor kale, with ruffled leaves that can vary in color from purple to red
Best Kale Recipes
Not sure what to do with this leafy green superfood? A Couple Cooks offers the 12 Best Kale Recipes. How about starting there?
6 | Swiss Chard
This dark green, low calorie, low sodium, fat free leafy vegetable is so healthy for us, and is on the list of the 10 fall superfoods to include in our diet.
Swiss chard is a great source of antioxidants which help support our immune system.
It has high amounts of magnesium and helps with muscle function and energy production. This fall superfood also helps keep us feeling full longer so we’re less likely to reach for sugary snacks!
This tasty fall food contains manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium and fiber to give us energy, support bone health and help us feel satisfied and full!
I love to prepare swiss chard as a side dish. It’s so simple and tasty. Just chop up the leaves, then sauté in a pan with heated olive oil and sea salt. It loses a lot of volume during the process, so use a good amount (a couple of big handfuls) per serving.
Ways to Use Swiss Chard
You won’t run out of ideas for swiss chard recipes with help from our friends at Taste of Home. Their recipes never fail for me, and these look so tasty! 20 Swiss Chard Recipes
7 | Pumpkin
Our beloved fall favorite, the pumpkin, is another great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants, and of course is always brought to mind, and to the table, in the fall. They can do so much more for us than be baked in a pie (although I won’t turn that down!) Fun facts: it is a type of winter squash and is native to North America.
Pumpkin has Vitamins A and E. It is also a good source of iron, copper magnesium and phosphorus for healthy bones. It is also a good source of fiber.
It contains potassium to help with fluid balance, muscle contractions and heart health!
Perfect Pumpkin Recipes
The versatility of pumpkin is highlighted with these recipes from Taylor at The Girl on Bloor, and all of them are perfect for fall! 15 Perfect Pumpkin Recipes for Fall
8 | Beets
The beautiful color of beets is not just lovely to behold, it contains so many vitamins and minerals!
These healthy veggies are high in folate and manganese. They also contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients to help the body heal itself when injured, or prevent illness.
This fall superfood is rich in fiber for digestion support, as well as Vitamin C which boosts the immune system.
The folate, Vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and copper found in them are important for bone health, and we sure need that once we enter our 50s!
Beets help reduce inflammation in the body, so it’s good to eat them if you have arthritis.
How to Cook Beets
Learn how to cook beets 4 different ways with Jessica from Jessica Gavin. How to Cook Beets – 4 Easy Methods
9 | Apples
Apples are a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help our immune systems stay in top shape. They pair wonderfully with cinnamon because it has properties that help naturally lower blood sugar levels . This is one of the fall superfoods that you can enjoy in many different ways (as a side, on a sandwich, or even baked into a pie).
Apples are slightly sweet which make them wonderful eaten as a snack or paired with something savory, like cheese!
They contain pectin fiber which helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels in the body. They also help reduce risk for certain cancers because of the phytochemicals they contain!
Apples are wonderful for heart health and can help reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, too.
Easy Apple Pie Bread
Easy and delicious cinnamon apple pie bread from Ashley at Wishes n Dishes. It’s a perfect fall treat! Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread
10 | Tomatoes
Although we enjoy them throughout the year, tomatoes are on the list of fall superfoods with their many health benefits.
They are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants to help support the immune system.
This superfood is also rich in potassium and fiber too for healthy digestion, and they contain lycopene which is good for your eyes.
They may also help prevent heart disease because they contain high amounts of Vitamin K which is good for your bones.
Late Summer Tomato Recipes
Take advantage of the end of summer tomato crop with these tasty recipes from Kate, founder of A Beautiful Plate. Late Summer Tomato Recipes
Conclusion: Fall Superfoods
Whether you’re looking for a new dish to add variety to your chilly day dinner menu or just want something healthy and tasty, these 10 fall superfoods will provide the healthy benefits that keep you going. And we need to be ever mindful of our nutrition, friends, as we get older.
These healthy foods not only taste great, they can help us stay healthy and looking well, too. What’s not to like about these tasty fall foods?
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