The fall harvest offers a bounty of colorful superfoods. If you’re looking to up your nutritional snacking game, consume these nutritious, health-boosting fall superfoods to be vibrant from the inside out!
1. Apples As a Fall Superfood
Apples rank as the top fall superfood. They boast a wealth of health benefits, including abundant antioxidants, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Additionally, they provide essential nutrients like potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin B6. Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber known for its detoxifying properties and ability to combat toxins and metals in the body. This wonder fruit also aids in regulating blood sugar and blood pressure, reducing colon inflammation, and alleviating stomach acidity. Furthermore, apples feature quercetin, which effectively reduces inflammation and eases symptoms of pollen allergies. And as a cherry on top, apples have an impressive 84% water content, making them incredibly refreshing and juicy!
Try this: Grate an apple into chicken salad to add moistness, flavor, and a nutritional bonus. Cube apples into any salad for extra crunch.
These nutrient-packed root vegetables offer a multitude of health benefits. Packed with vital vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, and folate, they contribute to overall well-being. Not only do beets contribute to lowering blood pressure and preventing inflammation and cancer, but they also aid in the body’s natural detoxification process by purifying the blood and liver.
Moreover, the beet greens, often overlooked, are a hidden gem of nutrition. Surpassing even spinach in iron content, beet greens possess a higher overall nutritional value than the beetroot itself. They are a rich source of protein, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, vitamins A, B6, C, and K, calcium, iron, and dietary fiber. By boosting immune function, promoting bone strength, and helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, beet greens prove to be a valuable addition to any diet.
Try this: Have you tried juicing? Juice raw beetroots and beet greens with a variety of seasonal vegetables for optimal nutrient benefits. For more beet recipes, visit this link.
3. Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are not your average vegetable. They are part of the amazing cruciferous family and are bursting with essential nutrients like vitamins C and K. Plus, they pack a punch with vitamin A, vitamin B-6, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein, calcium, zinc, and dietary fiber. These little powerhouses even contain glucosinolate, sulfur compounds that kickstart the body’s cancer-fighting enzymes. So, get ready to plant these mighty fall superfoods on your plate!
Try this: Steamed Brussels Sprouts in Orange Butter. To avoid overcooking, halve 1 lb to 1 1/4 lbs. Brussels sprouts and place in a pot with a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. Cover and cook over medium heat, for about five minutes. Top with a tablespoon of grass-fed butter and serve. Recipe excerpted from Citrus Morning, Noon & Night by Deborah Tukua.
Dates, the delicious fruit of the date palm tree, have been savored by civilizations like the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, and Arabs for centuries. Not only do palm trees have a remarkable lifespan of a century or more, but dates themselves are packed with nutrients and are expected to be enjoyed for generations to come. These remarkable fruits are a fantastic source of dietary fiber and antioxidant polyphenols, which promote healthy digestion and can help prevent colon cancer. Furthermore, dates boast an extensive mineral profile, including selenium, a key element that supports immune function and aids in preventing cancer. Additionally, dates are nutrient rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, as well as vitamins B-6 and C. Unlike apples, oranges, and bananas, dates contain 23 different types of amino acids in their protein content. Not only do they provide a much-needed energy boost due to their carbohydrate content, but they are also hailed as the near-perfect food for good reason.
Try this: Dates are high in fructose and can be used as a natural substitute for sugar in smoothies and desserts. Stuff a whole almond or two into a pitted date for a simply delicious, sweet snack.
5. Red grapefruit
Red grapefruit is packed with essential vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, and dietary fiber, making it a fantastic choice for overall health. Additionally, grapefruit is abundant in antioxidants and phytonutrients, which contribute to its many health benefits. The vibrant red and pink varieties of grapefruit are particularly rich in the powerful antioxidant lycopene, known for its ability to promote heart health, protect the arteries, and reduce the risk of cancer. Moreover, grapefruit is known to provide relief for chest congestion and helps to effectively suppress the appetite.
Try this: Grapefruit isn’t just for breakfast. Add grapefruit, peeled and sectioned to a fresh spinach salad with avocado, bell pepper rings, and your choice of salad dressing.
Pears, all varieties including Asian, have a high fiber content which is vital in maintaining a healthy heart, intestines, and blood pressure levels. Fiber consumption helps your body absorb the vitamins and minerals from your food. Pears are also rich in Vitamins C and K, copper and potassium. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that eliminates free radicals from the body and assists in preventing cancer. Vitamin C also helps the body to absorb iron. Vitamin K and copper are essential for bone and blood health and the production of energy.
Try this: Asian pears have the same nutritional profile as other varieties. How it differs is that it has a crispy texture, similar to an apple. Try tossing diced or grated Asian pears into your next pork, seafood, or vegetarian stir fry.
7. Pomegranates Antioxidant Superstar
These fruits are often hailed as the “ultimate antioxidant superstars among all the fruits.” Originating from ancient Persia, they boast a rich history and are abundant in dietary fiber and vitamin C. Additionally, they boast a generous supply of vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Acting as potent antioxidants, pomegranates actively combat a range of cancers, ranging from breast, prostate, colon, to leukemia. Consistent consumption of pomegranates has been found to effectively ward off heart attacks and strokes, as well as lower blood pressure levels, thereby promoting overall cardiovascular health.
Try this: Pomegranate juice can be purchased year-round, but seeds from the fresh fruit are only available from September through January. Fresh seeds can be stored in a container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Try tossing fresh pomegranate seeds on a citrus fruit salad for a colorful, tart, crunchy, and super nutritional bonus.
A fall superfoods list wouldn’t be complete without fall’s most famous fruit – pumpkins. Pumpkin is a powerful antioxidant, rich in alpha and beta-carotene, which help reduce the risk of developing cancer and heart disease. This powerhouse food is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, Vitamins A, B, B6, C, E, K, folate, and more. Its rich mineral profile includes potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. Pumpkin contains less sugar and fewer carbohydrates than sweet potatoes.
Try this: There are so many ways to feature this fall favorite. Pumpkin-blueberry pancakes are another good option. To make, simply add ½ cup of pumpkin puree and a scoop of blueberries to any basic pancake recipe. For more pumpkin recipe ideas, click here!
Pepitas are roasted shelled pumpkin seeds and they’re a great snack. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, essential fatty acids, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper. Their anti-inflammatory properties may rid the intestinal tract of parasites and are used to treat prostate disorders.
Try this: Use shelled, roasted pumpkin seeds as a topping for soups or pumpkin bread.
10. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a super nutritious food, rich in antioxidants and cancer-fighting compounds, and are anti-inflammatory. Their antioxidant, beta-carotene supports immune health, reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer, and supports good vision and eye health. Although they have a similar nutrition profile to regular, white potatoes, they have more vitamins A and C than regular potatoes or pumpkin but contain more magnesium, protein, and dietary fiber than pumpkin. Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic load and index than regular potatoes, so they will not cause your blood sugar to rise as high.
Try this: Baked sweet potatoes are delicious served with grass-fed butter and a dash of cinnamon. Spicy Sweet Potato Fries can be baked instead of fried to retain their vital nutrients. Or try these winning sweet potato recipes from our 2021 contest!
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.