The only Foods You Should Eat This Fall, According To Nutritionists

    Abdulaziz Sobh

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    There is so much to love about autumn, that we have followed and commented recently. Sorry to sound like a scratched record, but it is true, there is much enjoyment at this time of year. In addition to spying on the leaves, picking apples and a general feeling of comfort, a great victory for the fall are all the amazing foods that are asking to be eaten at this time of year. Whether you are an evangelist of pumpkin spices, the number one fan of butternut squash, or a firm believer that Apple should be on every plate, there is almost something in the season for each palate. Personally, I consider myself a type of summer person all the time, but even I can be influenced by roasted vegetables, a bowl of hearty and crispy apple soup.

    And autumn is also ideal for healthy eating: think of all those seasonal vegetables, which are rich in superfoods. "They are 'super' due to the number of health benefits of various nutrients and phytochemicals (non-nutritive plant compounds) they provide," says Yasi Ansari, MS, RD, CSSD, a national spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "There is evidence that shows that a diet rich in phytochemicals can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote longevity."

    Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, founder, and director of Real Nutrition, also see fall as a good time to rethink how she is preparing her food. You may have desired crispy and refreshing salads during the summer, but when the weather cools, you can gravitate towards warmer and comforting dishes. "Roast your vegetables and season with turmeric, rosemary, pepper, garlic, cumin, etc.," he recommends. "I like to refer to condiments as sprinkled with nature! Condiments and spices have a warming effect on our bodies, not to mention that the more flavor your seasoning food has, the more satiating and satisfying it is."

    So what exactly should you add to your cart this fall? Take a look below to see the healthiest choices of the season.

    "Betalaine (a phytochemical) found in beets provides a variety of health benefits, such as increased mental performance, increased immunity, support for detoxification through the liver and decreased inflammation," says Ansari. Add beets to smoothies or juices, salads, side dishes, or even use it in hummus. One thing to keep in mind, from Ansari: the longer the cooking time, the more betalamine is lost, so keep your steaming times to 15 minutes or less, and roast less than an hour.

    This includes varieties of butternut, kabocha, squash, and spaghetti. Winter squash contains vitamins A, B6 and C, and fiber. "It is especially rich in beta-carotene, which is a natural yellow pigment and a precursor to vitamin A," says Ansari. "It is a phytochemical and powerful antioxidant that research suggests can decrease the aging process and reduce the risk of chronic diseases when consumed in food sources."

    And think of all the ways to prepare it: toasting, steaming and mashing. Ansari suggests storing the seeds and baking them, as they are rich in vitamin E, minerals and fiber: a quarter cup of roasted seeds contains three grams of protein.

    In particular, Shapiro loves kabocha squash, which she says is sweet, easy to prepare and low in calories than other varieties. She suggests roasting or steaming, crushing it and adding it to eggs, vegetables or putting on sourdough bread.

    Add this to your list of reasons to choose apples (or at least in your shopping list). Apples are rich in fiber and their peels are rich in flavonoids, which have been shown to help with longevity, Ansari adds. There are so many methods of preparation, but if you are on the right track, the spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nancy Farrell Allen, MS, RDN, suggests opting for a crunchy instead of a cake. "It helps me consume less cake dough in favor of oatmeal crumble," she says.

    The consumption of these can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular or chronic diseases. In particular, Shapiro says that Brussels sprouts are rich in fiber, while cauliflower is versatile (pizza crust, rice, and soup are some suggestions for serving), and not to mention that it is low in calories.

    Apple receives a lot of attention at this time of year, but don't forget the pears. Shapiro says they are rich in fiber, easy to control and portable, everything wins in our book.

    This vegetable does it all. They are rich in vitamins A, C, and B, fiber and potassium. In addition, they have the antioxidant beta-carotene mentioned above that can protect against free radicals, boost the immune system and help with healthy skin and vision. Ansari adds: "You can combine sweet potatoes with almost any meal! It helps maintain energy and improve blood pressure and blood sugar regulation."

    These are excellent as a snack or as yogurt or salad. They contain fiber and vitamins A, C and E. In addition, Ansari says that its antioxidants are known to be more potent than green tea and red wine.