I greatly enjoyed shopping for fresh berries, peaches, cherries, and nectarines during the summer months, filling my basket with the most vibrant flavors and colors summer has to offer. As seasons change, so do the fruits and vegetables that are at their peak, or “in season.”
Now that fall is here, I can still find berries in the store, but they don’t always taste as fresh, juicy or sweet because they are not at their peak time for harvest. Technically, almost all food can be grown somewhere throughout the world at any time of the year, but fruits and vegetables consumed within a few days of being picked, rather than trucked across the country and sitting in storage, taste better and may even contain more nutrients.
In addition to corn mazes, Jack-O-Lanterns, and Halloween candy, the signs of fall include delicious, robust flavors from fresh apples, pears, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, seasonal squash and more. The list is extensive, so be sure to add a new fruit or vegetable to your shopping cart next time you’re at the store!
We are all aware of the “apple a day” adage. These sweet fall favorites are loaded with antioxidants which fight off free radicals. Some varieties, like Fuji, are highest in phenolic compounds and flavonoids.1 Apples are also packed with vitamin C and pectin, a type of soluble fiber that helps with digestion. Some apples are better for cooking, while others can be enjoyed raw, so pick the right apple for your needs. Make sure you enjoy the peel, as the skin contains up to six times the antioxidant content as the flesh.
Another fall favorite, pears are higher in pectin than apples. Pectin is a soluble fiber that helps lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol and helps promote regularity and fullness. Pears are also a good source of vitamin C, copper and potassium.3 Pears are mild and sweet, and full of antioxidant phytonutrients like quercetin, so enjoy these fat-free, cholesterol-free and 100-calorie fall gifts.
Cruciferous vegetables are packed with phytonutrients, which may help protect the body against health concerns. They are also a good source of Vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, iron and fiber. Cruciferous vegetables are unique in that they are rich in glucosinolates, a sulfur-containing compound that imparts a pungent aroma and unique taste.2 Scientists are currently researching glucosinolates and their health-promoting properties.
Sweet potatoes peak during the fall. They pack a nutritional punch and are often a popular side dish on Thanksgiving tables. Similar to squash, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, giving it (and other orange fruit and vegetables) their vibrant color. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A and promotes healthy eyesight. Squash and sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium and quercetin when eaten with the skin on. Don’t ruin these nutritional powerhouses with marshmallows or syrups. Instead, add spices, such as cinnamon, to give them unique flavors.
Squash is another versatile and delicious vegetable that often takes center stage on tables as decoration during the fall months. But did you know that squash is actually a broad term used to describe various vegetables such as pumpkins and zucchinis?
Summer squash is available through October when winter squash crops into season. This gourd comes in many varieties, including acorn squash, butternut squash, delicta squash and spaghetti squash (a personal favorite). Each variety packs a nutritious punch with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Be sure to try all kinds!
Stock up now on the season’s best
Don’t forget about pomegranates, rutabagas, cauliflower and a whole host of other seasonal produce. If your local grocery store doesn’t have the particular fruits and vegetables you are looking for, then check out your local farmers market or CSA (http://www.localharvest.org/), or visit a pick-your-own farm near you (www.pickyourown.org).
You can get a whole bushel of nutrition from Greens by PURE. Greens is made up of four Proprietary PURE Blends that utilize some of the most beneficial superfoods, botanicals, superfruits, and mushrooms available, giving your life the edge it craves and deserves. In this way, your body is benefiting from the whole fruit and vegetable.