By Dina from Team RESTORE

It’s officially fall and time to say goodbye to fruity cocktails and the BBQ staples we’ve been eating all summer to make way for yummy fall foods that go perfect with the cooler weather. It’s not just pumpkin that rules the roost in autumn! There are many fall foods that are not only delicious but incredibly healthy and have the power to heal our bodies.

Although your local grocery stores should be carrying some of the root vegetables and fresh fruits on our list, don’t forget to check out your local farmer’s market for some of the freshest in-season produce. With that in mind, we bring you a list of our fall favorites!

Apples

Who doesn’t love the fall tradition of apple picking? Although apples are delicious year-round, the fall is a great time to try out different varieties including Gala, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith. Although many recipes call for the apples to be peeled, all of the antioxidant flavonoids are contained in the peel. Apples also reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol.

Remember to eat only organic apples! Apples are on a list of 12 foods that are commonly contaminated with pesticides, called the “Dirty Dozen“. Add them to steel cut oats in the morning, bake them in a warm apple crumble, or make a tart apple cider with fresh cinnamon to warm you up on a cold winter day.

READ MORE: The Dirty Dozen: Which fruits and vegetables showed the most pesticide residues?

Sweet Potatoes

One of the most reliable sources of vitamin A with 400 percent of your daily needs met in one medium sized potato, this sweet carb contains a good array of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, and selenium, and is a good source of B vitamins and vitamin C. The skin has loads of immunity-boosting quercetin, which helps fight off winter colds, as well as fiber and potassium which are good for the gut.

Fill them with fiber-rich vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower with a dash of cinnamon and honey, roast them with fresh herbs, or cut them into 1-inch cubes and add into a Buddha bowl with chicken breast, avocado, and roasted sesame seeds for a healthy meal.

Cranberries

When most people think of cranberries, they associate them with the side we eat at Thanksgiving. However, this delicious fall fruit, often referred to as a “super food”, is a great way to add some sweetness to your grain dishes. Half a cup of cranberries contains only 25 calories. The nutrients in cranberries have been linked to a lower risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure.

Throw them into brown rice, barley, or quinoa or try baking them into whole-grain, fiber-rich muffins, breads, and pancakes for the kids!

Eggplant

Eggplant is a stellar brain food due to the compound nasunin, which protects our brain cells from oxidation. The chlorogenic acid found in this hearty vegetable also gives it anti-cancer and anti-viral properties.

Roast eggplant as a healthy side dish, toss it with some fresh herbs on top of a pasta dish, or experiment with a vegan eggplant rollatini.

 

Parsnips

This carrot-shaped veggie may be dull in color but it’s rich in taste! It has the sweetness of a carrot but with an earthy and nuttier flavor which adds variety to many dishes.

Parsnips contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals with a host of health benefits. Full of dietary fiber, it helps improve digestion and is great for our overall gut health. Vitamin C & E build a healthy immune system and the folate helps in preventing birth defects in pregnant women.

Try adding parsnips to soups and casseroles or roast them with some mint, honey, and fresh sage for a unique side dish.

Butternut Squash

This fall staple isn’t just hearty but packs some serious nutritional punch. With 300 percent of your daily need of beta-carotene, it helps support healthy eyes, skin, and bones. Loaded with dietary fiber, it’s also a fantastic source of immune-boosting vitamin C for overall gut health.

Cut into chunks and roast, slice into 2 halves and stuff with quinoa or brown rice with sliced almonds and cranberries, or puree with onions and a bone broth for a delicious hearty soup.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Great for snacking and packing in kid’s lunches, pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants, fiber, and other valuable nutrients. They are known to improve heart health, prostate health, and protection against certain cancers. Just a small amount of them provide you with the magnesium and zinc you need in your diet.

Toss them into a mixed arugula salad with beets and beans, roast them in cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat, or try topping them with garlic, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper for a spicy snack.

Pears

Sweet and juicy, this fruit has loads of health benefits. With 4 grams of fiber per serving, it ranks high in the mineral department containing copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese. Vitamin C and copper are antioxidant nutrients, so eating pears is good for your immune system and may help prevent cancer.

Pears taste great in salads but cooking them really brings out their flavor so try poaching or baking them.

 

Brussels Sprouts

This cruciferous veggie gets a bad rap but when prepared the right way, even finicky eaters will devour them. Low in calories, Brussels sprouts have an impressive antioxidant count which reduces oxidative stress in your cells and helps lower your risk of chronic disease.  They’re rich in vitamin K which is necessary for blood clotting and bone health, and high in vitamin C and fiber which supports regularity and gut health.

Brussels sprouts are also one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, with 135 mg of ALA in just a 1/2 cup serving. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce blood triglycerides, slow cognitive decline, reduce insulin resistance, and decrease inflammation.

Try roasting them with honey and fresh herbs until crispy, sauté with pickled red onions and sliced almonds, or toss them with apples, fennel, and walnuts for a vitamin-packed salad.

 

READ MORE: Heal with food by eating seasonal, healthy, plant-centric meals for better gut health. Browse our gut-friendly recipes to get started.