Fall superfoods to incorporate in your diet

Fall offers a bounty of nutrition!

With the colder weather just around the corner, eating a wide variety of vegetables may seem more difficult and less appealing. Part of this may be because there are more vegetables appearing that you are not as familiar with, especially if you aren’t sure how to prepare and incorporate them into your diet. Fall vegetables are often loaded with nutritional benefits that other foods may lack. Take advantage of these superfoods and if you are serving a family with less adventurous eaters and serve these fall vegetables with familiar foods.

Here are five fall superfoods that you should incorporate into your diet this season:

1. Pumpkin – Besides the delicious traditional pumpkin pie, pumpkin puree can be added to a variety of dishes such as pasta, soups, even breads. Pumpkin is a very good source of vitamin A, carotenoids and fiber. Pumpkin seeds can also be a great nutritious snack that are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They also contain an amino acid that can boost your mood.

2. Brussels sprouts are very rich in protein, fiber and antioxidants. They are rich in vitamin A and they are believed to prevent bone loss and iron-deficiency anemia. They are also believed to protect against cardiovascular diseases, colon and prostate cancer. If you’re not a fan of brussels sprouts, try roasting them with garlic, olive oil and some lemon juice instead of steaming them.

3. Pears – One pear offers six grams of fiber of the 25-30 grams towards your per day requirement. Pears also are a good source of vitamins C, K, B2, B3 and B6. In addition, pears contain calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Pears can be easily incorporated into your fall diet from adding them to your baked goods, to eating them fresh on their own or even chopped in a salad.

4. Cauliflower – A cruciferous vegetable that you may want to incorporate regularly into your diet. The various benefits of cauliflower have been studied for its cancer-preventing properties. In addition, cauliflower is a good source of vitamin C and manganese, which are both powerful antioxidants that help fight against free radicals. In fact, 100 grams of cauliflower (about one cup) provides you with about 80 percent of the daily requirements.

5. Sweet potatoes – Another fall classic that doesn’t need to be candied to enjoy. They are naturally sweet and can be enjoyed with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg after simply baking them, or substitute for regular potatoes in your favorite potato salad recipe. Sweet potatoes are a great source of calcium, potassium and vitamins. A medium size sweet potato can offer you your daily requirement of vitamin A and a third of your daily requirement of vitamin C. The antioxidants in sweet potatoes also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial to those who suffer from asthma or arthritis.

To learn more about available fruits and vegetables in Michigan resource the Michigan State University Extension Michigan Availability Guide. MSU Extension offers various educational programs that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating.

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