Fall is the season of harvest, Thanksgiving and hearty wholesome cuisine as the temperatures drop. Check out these fall food favorites and see how they contribute to a healthy eating plan.
Apples for Quercetin
Apples are seasonally harvested in fall. There are over 7,000 varieties, with some species better than others for cider-making, pie-baking, storing, drying or eating right from the fruit bowl. One medium apple has around 96 calories and is great for healthy eating as it delivers 4.4 grams of fiber, 8.4 mg vitamin C as well as calcium, iron and trace minerals. Apples also contain high levels of pectin and the antioxidant quercetin, which may help prevent allergy symptoms.
Squash for Beta Carotene
Pumpkins and winter squash are a healthy source of beta carotene and magnesium with their soft golden flesh. Roast, bake or add to casseroles and know you are getting around 4,600 mcg of beta carotene per half cup of butternut squash. Spaghetti squash has lower levels of beta-carotene but does have double the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, another great fall food for healthy eating.
Beta carotene is used in the body to make vitamin A. In a study at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii researchers showed that beta-carotene can turn on a gene to help prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
Mushrooms for Immunity
Cool humid conditions are ideal for producing mushrooms with 10 different species being grown commercially. Mushrooms are currently being trialed as a suppressant for breast cancer as they remove estrogen from the blood. Beta-glucan protects against colds and flu viruses while reishi mushrooms have positive antiviral properties. In addition, shiitake, portobello, oyster and reishi mushrooms contain a polysaccharide molecule that stimulates the immune system. Slice mushrooms on salad or add them to almost any hot dish to boost immunity as winter approaches.
Oysters for Zinc
Eaten either raw or cooked, oysters are deliciously nutritious as part of any healthy eating lifestyle. However, to avoid food poisoning associated with eating raw contaminated oysters, play on the safe side and enjoy them cooked. Each serving of six oysters contains 43 calories packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Top of the list is 33 mg of zinc, which is 220% of the recommended daily value. And there’s always the unproven reputation that oysters have as an aphrodisiac!
Turkey for Tryptophan
Fall would not be the same without Thanksgiving turkey. A three-ounce serving of perfectly roasted turkey meat gives you 25 grams of lean protein (half your daily requirements) and far less calories and fat than an equivalent serving of roast beef. Turkey contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that the body cannot make. It is used to make niacin and serotonin, so perhaps that’s why a nap is in order after any Thanksgiving turkey feast!
Now you can look forward to fall, knowing it is a great season for enjoying the tastiest healthy eating, from Apples to Zinc!