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Autumn has arrived, showcasing Mother Nature’s many talents, including the beautiful fall colors, a refreshing, a brisk feel to the air and a bounty of fall superfoods. The crisp fruits and root vegetables listed below make the perfect additions to comforting, winter meals. All of these seasonal favorites are loaded with nutrients that can help keep you and your family healthy and address issues like the inflammation and pain that common with rheumatoid arthritis.
When it comes to nutrients, Brussels sprouts are one of the best things about fall and they’re loaded with potassium, iron, protein, vitamin C and other antioxidants. A quick and easy way to prepare Brussels sprouts is to first, trim off the root area, cut them in half, toss them together with sliced onion and a bit of olive oil. Next, spread the combination on a cook sheet and roast for approximately 40 minutes at 400 degrees. You can carefully turn them over if they appear to be roasting too much on one side.
There are actually hundreds of different kinds of edible squash and pumpkins. Squash, including pumpkin, is rich in antioxidants (vitamins A and C), iron, potassium and calcium. There are lots of wonderfully tasty ways to work squash into your fall recipes, including cutting up and roasting acorn or butternut (toss with olive oil, seasoning) and roast at 400 for 40 minutes. You can also make a “squash” version of mashed potatoes that have fewer calories and carbs (cook them like you would mashed potatoes). To roast pumpkin, cut it in half, take out the seed and roast (400 degrees) cut side down on a baking sheet until soft. You can use the pumpkin flesh to make puree and freeze it for later use.
These healthy potatoes aren’t just for holiday meals and they’re another excellent source of vitamins A and C, anti-inflammatory antioxidants and essential phytochemicals. Although sweet (and other) potatoes are available the majority of the year, they are a particularly popular sides in fall menus, because the cooler months tend to cause us to yearn for starchy comfort foods. Make a colorful side dish using a variety of cubed potatoes, including sweet potatoes, also coating them with olive oil, garlic, etc., roasting them in the oven.
Kale is the superfood of green, leafy plants, loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants, vitamins K and C, minerals and fiber. This amazing superfood is also packed with phytonutrients, including flavonoids and glucosinolates.
Cranberries are not only delicious, they are a great source of vitamin C, manganese, fiber, vitamin E and K, pantothenic acid and copper. You can add cooked cranberries to just about anything, including oatmeal, pancakes and grain based entrees, including rice or quinoa.
Hands down, apples are one of the most popular fall fruits. There is a seemingly endless variety of apples and they’re brimming with health benefits, rich in flavonoids, fiber and antioxidants. Because they’re high in fiber, they also fill you up, making it easier to sustain a healthy weight. Improve your morning oatmeal by adding diced apples, a light dusting of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Depending on the location, a few “end-of-summer” fruits and vegetables like blueberries and carrots linger on, while some, including parsnips, show up this of the year. There are several places in most cities to find seasonal produce, including your local supermarket. Farmer’s markets are also great places to find fresh, locally grown produce if your city still has them this time of year. Shopping “local” will help ensure that you end up with the freshest, seasonal produce available in your community.