Chock full of satisfying crunch, apples are packed with antioxidants, which can not only boost the immune system but also help prevent chronic illness and slow the signs of aging. They are also packed with pectin fiber, which is great for promoting regularity. With more than 7,500 different varieties of apples, the toughest part will be just picking a few to bite into.
The two most common varieties, Bosc and Bartlett, are plentiful in the fall and are a sweet and healthy treat, either eaten alone or incorporated into pies, tarts, and more. They are high in soluble fiber, which helps lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.
Pomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits, loaded with many essential nutrients. Rich in punicalagins, extremely powerful antioxidants, pomegranate juice has been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea. Pomegranates also have potent anti-inflammatory properties, and since inflammation is the underlying trigger of many different diseases, pomegranate effectively can help fight against many conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.
Squash is a seasonal favorite that is not only popularly used as a festive table centerpiece, but also offers plentiful health benefits. It is a very good source of vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. There are many varieties to choose from in this gourd family, including acorn, butternut, delicata squash and spaghetti squash. Simply toss your squash of choice with olive oil, salt, pepper, roast, and enjoy.
An orange delight, pumpkin is one of the best sources of alpha- and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A to promote healthy vision. In addition, pumpkin seeds (which are great toasted) are full of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that helps fight heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage
Loaded with both vitamin A and C, both of these cruciferous vegetables are also rich in cancer-fighting glucosinolates. Brussels sprouts are delicious roasted and drizzled with olive oil, while cabbage provides the perfect foundation for a raw slaw when coupled with carrots, onion, olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
Beets are at their peak in the fall, and offer a delicious way to spruce up an ordinary salad—especially when pickled or roasted. Available in their classic reddish-purple color as well as golden, white, and even multi-colored varieties, beets are full of betaine, a compound which may help prevent heart and liver disease.
So be sure to enjoy all the awesomeness of autumn's produce!