Fall’s Healthiest Fruits & Veggies
Summer—with its abundant fruits and vegetables—may be officially over, but fall's bounty is just as plentiful…and just as delicious. What's more: the wide variety of deep rich colors that we can find in fall's produce is indicative of the health-promoting antioxidants it contains.
In fact, the deeper or richer the color of a fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidants it contains. It's the antioxidants—compounds that help prevent or stop damage from oxidants (damaging free radicals found in everything from the sun's rays to the pollution around us)—that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant hues.
So head over to the nearest farmer's market—or to your nearest produce aisle—to pick up some of these fall faves:
√ Apples Whether you love red or green apples, these perennial fall favorites are loaded with antioxidants like flavonoids and quercetin. Be sure to eat the skin, though, as that's where the antioxidants are concentrated. (This is a good reason to reach for organic apples as pesticides reside mainly in the skin of a fruit or vegetable.) They're also chockfull of vitamin C and fiber—particularly pectin, a soluble fiber that's been shown to help lower cholesterol.
√ Citrus Fruits Grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, and clementines are all abundant, starting in fall. And they're all great sources of the antioxidant vitamin C. Plus, the deeper the color of the citrus fruit, the more antioxidants called flavanones it contains.
√ Grapes Red, green, purple, and even black grapes are chockfull of powerful health-promoting antioxidants—one of which is called resveratrol. This is the reason red wine, in moderation, has been found in many studies to be good for your health (particularly the health of your heart).
√ Kale This deep leafy green—which tastes delicious raw or cooked—is chockfull of the antioxidants carotenoids (like lutein and beta-carotene) and flavonoids (like kaempferol and quercetin). But it's also super-high in all sorts of other key vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, and K and the antioxidant mineral manganese. (Keep in mind that this veggie is part of the family of veggies called cruciferous vegetables; other fall cruciferous vegetables that are good for you include broccoli and cauliflower.)
√ Squash This versatile and yummy vegetable is incredibly versatile; you can bake, roast, or sauté it—and even roast the seeds. And the rich yellow-orange color of butternut squash, acorn squash, buttercup squash, delicata squash, pumpkin, and so many more is a sure sign they're chockfull of the antioxidants called carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Fall squash also has plenty of the antioxidant vitamin C and the antioxidant mineral manganese. But they're also rich in fiber and plenty of other vitamins and minerals, too. (Squash seeds are high in fiber and healthy fats.)
Keep in mind that any brightly colored fruit and vegetable is rich in antioxidants, too. Tomatoes; pears; red, yellow, green, and orange peppers; and so much more.
Here's to a happy, healthy fall!