Fall is here, and it’s the perfect time of year to start enjoying some of the best fall vegetables. From pumpkin to butternut squash to cauliflower, these seasonal vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy all winter long.
Let’s find out what they are and how they can benefit your health.
Fall Vegetables and their Health Benefits
1. Winter squash
Winter squash is a type of squash typically harvested in the fall or winter. It has a hard, thick skin which helps it last longer than other types of squash. There are many different varieties of winter squash, each with its own unique flavor. Some popular varieties include acorn, butternut, delicata, and pumpkins.
Winter squash is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber and potassium. It also contains a good amount of magnesium, folate, copper, and manganese.
It’s also a low-calorie food, making it a great addition to any weight-loss diet. While the high fiber content helps keep you feeling full longer and can help to reduce the number of calories you eat throughout the day.
Additionally, winter squash is a good source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. These nutrients have been shown to promote good vision and eye health, strengthen the immune system, and maintain healthy skin.
It may also protect the lungs and lower the risk of other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.
Leeks are a member of the allium family, together with garlic, onions, shallots, and chives.
There are many health benefits to eating leeks. They are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folic acid and manganese. They also contain antioxidants that can help protect against cell damage. Additionally, leeks are a prebiotic food, meaning they help promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
One of the most notable health benefits of leeks is their ability to boost heart health. Studies have shown that eating leeks can help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This, in turn, can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Moreover, leeks are a good source of fiber, which has been shown to promote cardiovascular health by decreasing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood.
Another benefit of leeks is that they may help improve cognitive function. One study found that people who ate leek soup four times a week for 12 weeks had better performance on memory tests than those who didn’t eat the soup. The participants who ate the soup also had higher levels of antioxidant enzymes in their blood, which suggests that the antioxidants in leeks may help protect brain cells from damage.
Tips For Choosing And Preparing Leeks:
When shopping for leeks, look for bright green ones with firm white bulbs. Avoid leeks that are wilted.
To prepare leeks, cut off the root end and the dark green leaves. The edible part of the leek is the white base and a few inches of the green stalk. The rest of the plant is bitter and tough.
Cut the leek in half lengthwise and rinse it under cold water to remove any dirt. Slice the leek crosswise into thin pieces.
Add leeks to soups, stews, and casseroles, or saute them with other vegetables. Leeks can also be roasted or grilled.
3. Brussels Sprouts
When it comes to eating healthy in the fall, few vegetables can match the nutritional value of Brussels sprouts. These little green veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that offer numerous health benefits.
For starters, they are a top source of vitamin K, with a cup providing almost 70 percent of your daily requirement.
Brussels sprouts are also an excellent source of vitamin C. This important vitamin helps boost immunity, protect against infection, and promote healthy skin and hair.
Research also shows that cooked brussels sprouts contain 53 percent of soluble fiber –the type that absorbs water to form a gel-like substance essential for lowering cholesterol and eliminating toxins from the body. The remaining 47 percent comes from insoluble fiber- the type that passes undigested and helps bulk up the stool promoting regularity and preventing constipation.
In addition, brussels sprouts contain sulforaphane, a compound that has been shown to boost the immune system.
Brussels sprouts can be eaten raw, cooked, or roasted. When buying Brussels sprouts, look for firm ones with bright green leaves. Avoid ones that are yellow or have brown spots.
4. Sweet potatoes
Late summer through the end of fall
Sweet potatoes are delicious, nutritious root vegetables that can be enjoyed in many different ways. They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.
Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber and have a low glycemic index, making them a healthy choice for people with diabetes or those who are trying to manage their weight.
There are many different ways to enjoy sweet potatoes. They can be baked, roasted, mashed, or even made into chips or fries. Sweet potatoes can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, and they pair well with many different flavors. Try adding sweet potatoes to your favorite soup or stew, using them as a base for vegan chili, or baking them into a healthy treat.
Late fall to early spring
Parsnips are a fall root vegetable that is often overlooked, but they offer a variety of health benefits. They resemble a carrot and are usually white or cream-colored, with a sweet, nutty flavor. Parsnips can be eaten raw, cooked, or roasted. When cooked, they can be mashed, pureed, or used in soups and stews.
Parsnips can help regulate blood sugar levels, improve gut health, and promote weight loss. Additionally, they have been shown to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
When choosing parsnips, look for ones that are firm and have smooth, creamy-white skin. Avoid parsnips that are yellowing or have cracks in the skin.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which also includes cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. These veggies are known for their cancer-fighting properties, and broccoli is no exception. Studies have shown that broccoli can help protect against several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and lung cancer.
In addition to its cancer-preventing properties, broccoli is also great for your heart. It contains nutrients that help keep your arteries clear and your blood pressure in check. And if that wasn’t enough, broccoli is also good for your bones and your digestion.
While you can eat broccoli raw, it is often cooked in order to enhance its flavor and texture. When cooking broccoli, be careful not to overcook it, as this can cause the nutrients to leach out. Steaming or stir-frying are both good methods for cooking broccoli without losing too many nutrients.
You can add broccoli to soups, stews, salads, pasta dishes, pizzas, and more. Give this nutrient-packed vegetable a try today!
Late summer through early fall
Cauliflower is a low-carbohydrate, high-fiber vegetable that provides a range of health benefits. It’s an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and a good source of folate. It also contains phytonutrients that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying properties.
The fiber in cauliflower helps bulk up stools and promote regularity. The vitamins C and K are important for immunity and bone health, respectively, while folate is essential for pregnant women to prevent congenital disabilities.
Also, phytonutrients in cauliflower can help protect against chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
You can enjoy cauliflower in many different ways, including boiled, steamed, roasted, stir-fried, or mashed. It can also be used as a low-carb substitute for rice or potatoes. When cooked, cauliflower has a mild flavor and a slightly nutty taste.
When selecting cauliflower, look for one with compact, creamy-white florets and fresh-looking leaves. Avoid any heads with brown spots or blemishes.
As one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, kale is packed with an impressive array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Just one cup of kale provides over 100% of the daily recommended intake for vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains manganese, copper, calcium, and potassium.
Kale is also a great source of fiber and has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and promote a healthy digestive system.
Additionally, kale is a good source of antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol.
Quercetin is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that has been shown to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer. Kaempferol is also an anti-inflammatory compound, and it has been shown to fight liver cancer, boost cognitive function, and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
Beets are a healthy fall vegetable for several reasons. For one, they’re packed with nutrients like fiber, potassium, and magnesium. They also contain nitrates, which have been shown to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Beets are also low in calories and fat, making them a great choice for those watching their weight.
There are many ways to enjoy beets. They can be roasted, steamed, or shredded and added to salads. Their earthy flavor pairs well with other fall favorites like carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash. So next time you’re looking for a healthy vegetable to add to your meal, don’t forget about beets!
Cabbage is a leafy green vegetable that is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables. It is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and a good source of fiber. Cabbage is also low in calories and fat.
The Health benefits of cabbage include reducing the risk of cancer, improving heart health, and aiding in digestion.
Cabbage can be enjoyed in a variety of recipes. One simple way to cook it is to steam or saute it with olive oil and garlic. Or, try using it in a soup or stew.
When buying cabbage, look for heads that are heavy for their size with crisp, green leaves. Avoid cabbage that has wilted leaves or brown spots. Store uncooked cabbage in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Late fall or early winter
Rutabagas are a type of root vegetable that has a long, cylindrical shape and yellow- or orange-tinged skin. They are sometimes referred to as “yellow turnips” or “swedes.”
Rutabagas are often overlooked, but they’re actually very versatile and nutritious. For instance, they are a good source of fiber, which can help protect against constipation and other digestive issues.
They are also a good source of antioxidants, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E, all of which are important for maintaining a healthy immune system. Additionally, rutabagas contain potassium, which is essential for proper heart function and blood pressure regulation.
Rutabagas can be roasted, mashed, or pureed and added to soups and stews. They can also be thinly sliced and added to salads or used as a garnish.
When cooked, they have a sweet, nutty flavor that is similar to that of sweet potatoes.
When selecting rutabagas, look for ones that are heavy for their size and have smooth, blemish-free skin. Avoid any that have cracks, bruises, or soft spots. Rutabagas should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag, where they will keep fresh for up to two weeks.
As the weather gets cooler, it’s the perfect time to start incorporating some of these delicious and nutritious fall vegetables into your diet.
There are so many great fall vegetables to choose from, and each one has its own unique set of health benefits.
So, whether you’re looking to boost your immune system, lose weight, improve your digestion, or just get more vitamins and minerals in your diet, make sure to include some of these amazing fall vegetables in your meals.
And if you’re not sure how to cook them, don’t worry – there are plenty of free, delicious recipes out there that will help you make the most of their flavor and nutrition.
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