Move over, berries.
Fall produce is here, and it’s packed with as many healthy antioxidants as the fruits of summer.
Here are 17 autumn fruits and vegetables to eat now for good health. Consider it storing up nutrients for winter.
One Finnish epidemiological study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that apples are one of the main sources of dietary flavonoids that show the strongest association with decreased mortality.
Apples inhibit the spread of cancer cells, decrease lipid oxidation and lower cholesterol, according to a review from Cornell University’s Department of Food Science and Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology.
Fiber helps control blood sugar, reduce LDL cholesterol, ease digestion and promote weight loss. Plus, its antioxidants ward off DNA damage from free radicals, preventing everything from wrinkles to cancer. And as if that weren’t enough, a cup of pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana.
Add some fall flavor to muffins, soups, smoothies and pancakes. Use whole pumpkin — not the canned stuff — whenever possible: chop, steam and puree. It’s really pretty simple, and leftovers can chill in the freezer all the way into spring.
In one 2003 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, for instance, participants who replaced saturated fats with unsaturated ones for just four weeks lost both weight and body fat without cutting calories. Pumpkin seeds also contain the amino acid tryptophan, which helps your body produce mood-boosting serotonin — a must as the long sunny days of summer drift away.
Big salad fan? Try sprinkling some on top of your next creation.
Persimmons also have no sodium or cholesterol, which makes them a heart-healthy choice. In fact, research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that persimmons pack even more heart disease-fighting nutrients than apples.
Do this over a bowl so as not to lose the juice. Eat them as-is, or sprinkled on salads or yogurt. If juicing is your thing, pop the seeds in a juice or a blender for a quick and healthy drink or smoothie, Gidus says. Or, if you are feeling really creative, pomegranates make a great glaze or garnish.
Plus, they pack vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6, and can get your ticker in check. Research published in the American Heart Association’s Hypertension even found that consuming 500 milliliters (about 17 fluid ounces) of beetroot juice can reduce hypertension in just an hour, with effects lasting for a full 24.
What’s more, components found in cranberries may prevent bacteria, such as E. coli, from clinging to the walls of the urinary tract and causing infection, and preliminary evidence shows that cranberry may reduce the ability of H. pylori bacteria to live in the stomach and cause ulcers, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Get your juice on with 100 percent cranberry juice — but watch out for juices than list any non-cranberry ingredients.
Sweet potatoes also contain fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, beta-carotene and loads of vitamins. One baked sweet potato has more than five times your daily vitamin A needs.
On top of that, chestnuts are ripe with vitamins A and B, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
What’s more, turnip greens are a great source of B vitamins including riboflavin, thiamine, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and folate, Gidus says. About a third of people who suffer from depression have low folate levels, and folate supplementation can both prevent and treat depression, according to research published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.
What’s more, one large artichoke contains a quarter of the recommended daily intake of fiber (more than a cup of prunes!), which can ease tummy troubles, keep you feeling full and promote weight loss.
No need to eat them by the handful, though. Just one-fourth cup a day can give you a big boost of antioxidants such as selenium, melatonin, vitamin E and several polyphenols.
And don’t forget its affinity for strong bones: One cup of Swiss chard packs nearly 40 percent of your daily magnesium needs.