Are you feeling Fall?
On September 23, 2015, the Autumn Equinox marks the official season's change... I can't believe how quickly the Summer has passed us by! Every season has it's own nutrient-dense harvest. With the arrival of Fall, farmers' markets will be stocked with its own, unique "Super foods". Check out some of my favorites below:
The original fast food, apples are a rich source of Vitamin A and C, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Each apple also provides you with an average of 4.5g of fiber. The most nutrient-dense varieties for fall are: Granny Smith, Liberty, Red Delicious, HoneyCrisp, and Braeburn.
The Granny Smith apple is a powerhouse variety. With 13 times more phytonutrients than a Ginger Gold, its tart flavor is just an added bonus. The Liberty Apple has twice the antioxidant value of Golden Delicious apples, and is a newer, native New York relative to the Macintosh variety. Red Delicious apples are an American staple, and their dark red skins are rich in anthocyanins (a powerful antioxidant) . Honeycrisps are famous for being tart and sweet, but they are also one of the most phytonutrient-rich varieties. Braeburn Apples are high in vitamins A and C, and also have trace amounts of Boron and Potassium. They typically have a reddish-green skin, but choose those with a redder skin and enjoy extra phytonutrients soaked up from the sun.
Red, Gold, White, and all other hybrids of Beets are great for the body's circulatory system. The red color of the Beets in particular comes from a variety of pigments known as Betalains. Betalin pigments have repeatedly been shown to support the body's detoxification process.
Beetroot Greens are not only edible and delicious, but they are actually even more nutritious than the beet itself. Beet greens contain twice the amount of potassium than the root and are exceptionally high in beta carotene and folic acid.
Brussels sprouts are incredibly nutritious vegetables. 100 grams of Brussels Sprouts have only 45 calories but contain 3.38g of protein and 3.80 g of dietary fiber. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and also many B-complex groups such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid. Brussels Sprouts are rich in minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus; and contain several flavonoid anti-oxidants such as thiocyanates, indoles, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates.
The combination of phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals found in Brussels Sprouts offer protection from vitamin-A deficiency, bone loss, iron-deficiency anemia, and are believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases, endometrial cancers, and colon and prostate cancers.
Found in the same family as Beets, Chard is another favorite of mine for Fall. It is an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber. A closer look shows us that one cup of cooked Swiss chard provides approximately 716% of vitamin K needs, 214% of vitamin A, 53% of vitamin C, 38% of magnesium, 29% of manganese, 27% of potassium, 22% of iron, 17% of vitamin E.
Chard also contains high levels of blood-pressure-lowering nitrates, which reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and can enhance athletic performance. Lesser amounts of phytonutrients (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, calcium, phosphorus, zinc selenium, alpha and beta-carotene) complete the plethora of nutrients found in Chard.
Chestnuts may make you think of the winter holidays, but they actually begin to be harvested as early as mid-August. Chestnuts, unlike other nut varieties, are low-fat, and are an excellent source of manganese, molybdenum, and copper. They are a good source of magnesium; vitamin C; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; and also folic acid.
If you are looking for a low-fat, fiber-rich nut option this fall, try roasting some chestnuts and adding them to your daily diet. You should eat up to 3 ounces of chestnuts a day to maximize their benefits.
Who doesn't love a good date? Add them to your smoothie or overnight oats, or as a stuff-in-your-bag, snack on the run, dates have become an integral part of many people living an active lifestyle today. Dates, high in natural sugars, are a great energy booster because they also provide lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals and many other phytonutrients in each serving.
Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in dates, as well as vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.
Because of all of the vitamins and minerals loaded into Dates, they are a great natural supplement to ease many health disorders. Weakened bones, anemia, allergies, night blindness, lethargy, nervous system disorders, heart issues, decreased libido, and a variety of digestive issues can all be helped by integrating dates into your diet.