The trees aren't the only thing that should be colorful this fall. With summer gone, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and other fall foods are making their debuts in farmer’s markets and grocery stores, ready to color up your plate. To find out what the best "superfoods" are this fall, I teamed up with Mayo Clinic Health System dietitian Diane Dressel.
Sweet potatoes usually take the cake for being a fall superfood. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, a vitamin linked to decreasing risks of cancer.
What may surprise you is the health benefits of your average, everyday potato.
“The white potato has a bad reputation,” Dressel says. “This prejudice relies solely on the fact that it’s a starch and high in carbohydrates, which our society has wrongly convinced themselves they need to cut. However, the white potato actually holds a lot of nutritional value.”
In the white potato’s defense it’s high in vitamin C, which greatly aids beating those fall/cold-weather colds and boosts your immune system. So, remind me again why this is a bad vegetable?
There’s a reason my mom has been trying to get me to eat spinach since I was a kid, and making me watch Popeye never helped either. In light of what dark leafy greens have to offer for health, I finally might willingly eat them. The best of the bunch include spinach, kale and collard greens, and here’s why:
“Any dark green means the vegetable is packed full of vitamin A,” Dressel says. “Vitamin A is an antioxidant that serves as a huge booster to the immune system and healthy cell growth.”
Winter squash/ Pumpkin
Your pumpkin spice latte maybe be far from healthy, but pumpkins still make the cut for a top superfood.
If you have trouble sleeping, consider saving your pumpkin seeds. They are loaded with magnesium! Studies show magnesium aids in sleep and muscle relaxation, so save those pumpkin seeds for a late-night snack if you’re feeling restless.
The saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and there’s a reason doctors encourage you to eat them. Though they aren't high in many vitamins, nutritionists argue that they serve as a healthy alternative when you’re reaching for the sweet treats. They’re also high in fiber.
Broccoli continues to be on the list of general superfoods, but in fall, it's prime for boosting your immune system with high vitamin C levels. While the fall air is crisp and refreshing, the air we breathe on a day-to-day basis isn't always the most pure. A recent study found that broccoli produces a compound that detoxifies air pollutants in the body.
Fast and fabulous fall recipe!
To make the most of our fall superfoods, Dressel recommends this 160 calorie, quick-and-easy-to-make snack to get your essential nutrients and still be a part of the fall spirit.
Jess Amaris is a college student at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and intern at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Jess will be a regular guest blogger for Hometown Health.