Every season has a taste and Fall is my favorite.  The aroma of soups and squash accompanied by a crisp nighttime chill conjures images of football games, Thanksgiving turkeys and trick-or-treaters.  Fortunately, many of my favorite Fall foods come packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients.  Which tasty Fall foods are the healthiest for your diet and savory enough to decrease cravings for those oh-so stealthily marketed Holiday mini candy bars?

1. Pumpkin

The signature Fall food, pumpkin offers a tasty source of vitamin C, potassium and beta-carotene.  Pumpkin helps prevent atherosclerosis.  As an added bonus, research shows pumpkin helps curb appetite.

2. Kale

Move over Popeye, kale is gaining recognition as the new nutritional powerhouse.  Loaded with calcium and vitamins A, C and K, the health benefits of kale consumption are boundless.  The fiber found in kale aids with digestion while it’s antioxidant properties work to prevent cancer and eye disease.  Personally, I sneak a daily dose of kale into my diet by hiding it in my morning fruit smoothie.

3. Pears

Labeled “the gift of gods” by Homer, pears are packed with fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.  beneficial for pregnant and nursing mothers, pears are an excellent source of folate. 

4. Pomegranate

Regarded by ancient Chinese and Greek cultures as a sign of good luck, modern culture regards the pomegranate as a superfood.  Chemical compounds unique to pomegranates called punicalagins re powerful antioxidants lowering blood pressure lowering cholesterol.  Feeling down?  Pomegranates also stimulate release of serotonin improving symptoms of depression. 

5. Brussels Sprouts

Despite their bitter flavor, brussels sprouts are packed with fiber, protein and folate along with vitamins C, K, A and E.  Isothiocyanates, a compound found in brussels sprouts helps fight cancer by eliminating free radicles from the body.  Although loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, you may need some good recipes to make these veggies more palatable.

6. Apples

It turns out an apple a day may keep the doctor away.  Filled with fiber and low in calories, apples make the perfect Fall snack.  Apples are an excellent source of immune boosting vitamin C helping to fight cases of Fall and Winter sniffles that are soon to ensue.

7. Sweet Potatoes

Inexpensive, readily available and incredibly tasty, sweet potatoes constitute the perfect Fall treat.  High in vitamin B6, sweet potatoes help prevent degenerative disease.  An excellent source of vitamins C and D, sweet potato consumption promotes healthy bones, teeth and skin.  Stressed about the upcoming Holiday season?  Sweet potatoes can help.  Sweet potatoes are packed with magnesium shown to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

8. Cauliflower

One of several cruciferous vegetables, this flower contains no fat, few carbohydrates and carries plenty of vitamins and minerals like potassium, folate and vitamin C.  Despite its bland appearance, cauliflower is rich in nutrients.  One of its most notable nutrients, a phytochemical called indole, may block cancer growth.

9. Squash

Whether you prefer acorn, butternut or spaghetti squash, consumption of this disease fighting Fall delicacy is good for your health.  Rich in vitamin A, squash improves lung health by protecting the pulmonary system from carcinogens.  Magnesium and folate resent in squash promote cardiovascular health by helping the body maintain healthy blood pressure levels.  Easy to store, squash keep longer than most produce so stock up on your next trip to the grocery store.

Share these Fall foods with your patients to promote a healthy diet this Holiday season!

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