In-Season Super Foods for Autumn
The obesity epidemic in the United States continues its upward trend. According to a 2013 Gallup survey, 27.1% of Americans are obese; this is almost an entire percentage point higher than last year.
At the same time, there is a burgeoning market for health foods, supplements, and organic products; a group of super foods that are flooding the market today. Whether you want an exotic vegetable that will help you detoxify your system or a seed that will give your more energy, you are likely to find it within driving distance of your home!
As autumn knocks on our doors, you are likely to find a range of in-season super foods at your local famer’s market, organic store, or health food store. But, like any other product that you choose to use that promises better health or higher levels of nutrition, make sure you do your research.
Defining a Super Food
Super food is a term used within the health food industry to loosely define a group of edibles that are high in nutrients while being low in calories. If you are looking for a magic pill that will help you get healthy, super foods are the closest examples available today.
Most super foods are rich in antioxidants and have enough nutrients to meet our daily requirements. Because they are mostly lower in calories, you can eat a larger amount without putting on the pounds.
Super foods provide a range of functions. While some are fantastic sources of healthy probiotics, others have a high fiber content, dense concentration of vitamins and minerals, or good fats, among others.
Fall Season Super Foods
As autumn approaches with its cooler temperatures and pretty harvests, you can find a range of super foods in local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Some of the most popular and easily available fall super foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Apples of all kinds are much sought-after super foods. Apples contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, folate, calcium, and vitamin C. The glorious pumpkin, which is the traditional symbol for autumn, contains beta carotene and potassium.
Then come Brussel sprouts, which are disliked by many for their strong smell but pack a healthy punch of vitamin C and K, folate, and calcium. Additionally, if you roast them, they are low-calorie, high-fiber offerings.
Kale, which belongs to the same family as broccoli, is becoming a health icon among the nutritionally inclined. It contains more vitamin K than any other green besides being replete in beta-carotene, which is a rich antioxidant and helps boost immunity while warding off many cancers.
Chestnuts are high in fiber and full of vitamin B6, which is known to improve the skin, boost immunity, and even fight lung cancer.
Pomegranates are known for their immunity-strengthening nutrients and heart-healthy antioxidants called tannins, which also lower bad cholesterol. Additionally, these ruby red fleshy seeds are high in fiber content and help you feel full for longer.
Turnip greens are another autumnal nutrient windfall. They are a strong source for beta carotene, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
Ginger and cinnamon are also used a lot during the autumn. Both super foods help fight colds, coughs, and chest congestion. Additionally, they also help control autumnal allergies.
While today’s world of refrigeration and cross-border agricultural trade allows us access to all the above-mentioned super foods throughout the year, buying them in-season usually translates to fresher products.
Try to buy local produce since they are less likely to be frozen. Also keep an eye out for products that are doused with pesticides and avoid them, if possible. If you shop carefully, you can get organically grown produce without breaking the bank.
Other Super Foods
Besides the autumn-specific super foods, you can scour your usual food sources for many other products that are nutritional treasure troves.
One of the top recommendations is fat-free or low-fat yogurt. Besides being a healthy source of calcium, yogurt is the breeding ground for probiotics that help balance the good bacteria in your gut. Those who are lactose intolerant tend to tolerate yogurt better, as compared to other dairy products.
Eggs are also a fantastic source of 12 vitamins and nutrients like choline, which helps with brain health. Nutritious and affordable, eggs are a prime source of protein.
A host of nuts also make the super foods list. While one has to be careful about portions since nuts have high fat content, they are a wonderful source of proteins, good fats, high fiber, and antioxidants.
Quinoa is an ancient grain that is high in fiber content, selenium, and protein. It is also a good source for zinc, iron, and vitamin E. Other grains that qualify as super foods include wild rice, millet, barley, oats, and buckwheat.
Salmon has high omega-3 fatty acid that helps with heart health and has low saturated fats. It is also high in protein content and iron.
Sweet potatoes, broccoli, and beans are also amazing sources of nutrients while being low in calories.
Given the range of super foods available today, it is easy to litter your meals with them and move towards a healthy eating lifestyle.