Just because the colder weather is now upon us doesn’t mean doesn’t mean your fruit and veg selection should be limited, we are in fall and many markets are now bustling with a wide variety of fruits and veg for fall bursting with flavour and nutrients at their peak.
You can’t just live off of protein foods like steak and eggs so to get you through winter all healthy and well-fed I have compiled 5 of the fairest fruit and veg of fall that pack a real nutritional punch.
Yet more proof to think beyond just apples, pears are a great source of dietary fiber, a medium-sized fruit delivers about 6g. 50% more than from an apple and more than entire cooked cup of quinoa. Current recommendations are for men to consume 38g daily and women 25g of fiber daily, one decent sized pear can help you acheive this quota.
There are many reasons to take your fiber intake seriously. Fiber helps rid you of hunger pangs by slowing digestion which in turn keeps you fuller longer, also helping to stop cravings and overeating. Fiber also reduces spikes in blood sugar that contribute to loss of energy levels and extra fat being stored around your middle.
A high fiber diet can also help with coronary woes, the pear skin also has a huge list of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Getting More Into Your Diet
Pear can also be added to oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, green salads and even salads or add them as part of a protein shake for more sweetness.
Kale seems to be the obvious choice these days but few foods offer such a huge nutritional value to you, a mere cup of this green delight gives you more than the recommended daily amounts of vitamins K, A and C.
Top researchers at Arizona State University discovered that higher intakes of Vitamin C can reduce heart rate during exercise which could allow you to push the pace that little bit more and it seem a little easier. Kale also contains and is a leading source of lutein and zeaxanthin, an antioxidant duo that helps boost your eye health.
Getting More Into Your Diet
Raw kale can be a bit bitter for some people, but steaming it can take the edge away somewhat. Try it served with roasted butternut squash, add chopped kale to soups or pesto sauces, it can also be a powerful addition to green smoothies.
A great way to boost your workouts, recent studies have shown that regular consumption of whole beets and beet juice can improve muscular endurance. The crimson vegetable is packed with nitrates that the body then converts into nitric oxide, a gas that will widen blood vessels much like a nitric-oxide supplement. This in turn can allow more oxygen and nutrients into your muscles whilst working out and giving more efficient energy production.
A good side bonus to this is the nitrates in beets have blood-pressure lowering efficacy and betalins, pigments that give the vegetable its vivid color, these are strong anti-oxidants, the very high sugar content can also help with any cravings you may have for sweet items.
Sneak More In
Roasting beets is the way to go if you want to extract their natural sweetness, just wrap each beet tightly in foil or parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees farenheit until tender, normally about an hour, this is dependent upon their size of course. When they have cooled down enough to handle the skin can be rubbed off with a towel. Shredded beets are a great addition to salads and sandwiches.
Sugar-coated, dried cranberries can be had all year round but now is the time of year to get the proper fresh version. Tart cranberries have loads of phytonutrients which have a strong antioxidant power, higher intakes of anti oxidants are thought to help speed up recovery times from workouts.
Proanthocyanidin antioxidants found in cranberries are very cardio-friendly as they help reduce cholesterol, inflammation and artery stiffness.
These also help load you up on vitamin C so that you can keep in the gym over winter.
Get More In
Fresh cranberries can add a surprising tart flavor to salsas, grain and green salad. Or even mixed with ground beef for hamburger patties. As an alternative, sizzle them in a pan with chopped apple, chopped shallot, orange zest, maple syrup and a cinnamon for a sauce that can inject new life into yogurt, oatmeal or cottage cheese, it can even work as a sauce for chicken or pork.
5) Butternut Squash
Prices at market are currently budget-friendly for this winter squash, the orange flesh should be telling you that it is packed full of beta-carotene which can be converted into vitamin A which helps boost eye, bone and immune health. Even on its own it is considered an anti-oxidant that can help rid you of cell damaging free radicals.
Higher blood levels of beta-carotene are associated with lower levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and makers of inflammation which make this gourd pretty healthy. Butternut will also deliver you fiber, vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and magnesium. Scientists from Portugal also found that magnesium plays an important role in muscular strength.
Get More Sneaked In
Butternut squash can last upto 3 months if stored correctly in a dry, cool place. Roasting the squash intensifies the sweetness, throw in halves, chunks or slices with some oil and bake at 400 degrees farenheit until they are tender. You can use them in salads, soups and even tacos.
When cooked and pureed it can also improve the boring morning oatmeal too and is surprisingly good in smoothies too, blended with Greek yogurt, frozen banana, almond butter and cinnamon. Shaving it with a peeler can also add excitement to a salad with ribbons of sweet raw squash.
Avoid lackluster fresh imports and go for the frozen variety, fresh fruits can lose some nutrients on their way to store shelves whereas freezing them locks in the nutrients until used.
Consider adding these fruits and veg into your diet over fall and winter to get the best from them and improve workouts and keep you out of the doctors.