We’ve all heard about various “superfoods” like kale, avocados, lentils, and salmon in the last few years. Fortunately, these delicious, super healthy foods are often available year-round, though they are the most nutritious during their peak season.

Produce that is in season is less costly, much tastier, and far better for you than when it is grown off-season in another part of the world and shipped. With that in mind, you may be confused as to which superfoods reach their peak in fall.

This week, we’ll take a look at these delicious fall superfoods to help inspire your meals and your health. Keep an eye out next week for our second installment.

The Best Fall Superfoods for Optimal Health, Part 1

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Apples

A fall favorite, apples are also super nutritious. Apple skins contain antioxidants (so be sure to eat the skins!), and the flesh is also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Be sure to eat a range of varieties, since the antioxidants differ between varieties.

While you might enjoy classic treats like spiced apple cider, this is not the healthiest way to enjoy apples at their peak. A fresh, crunchy apple is great on its own or mixed into savory dishes or low-sugar sweets, such as apple butter, apple bread, or applesauce. Apples also pair well with parsnips, another fall favorite.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a great source of carotenoids, which help fight disease and promote general health. In addition to being high in fiber and low in fat, pumpkin offers magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, and pantothenic acid.

“Everything pumpkin” may be the latest autumn craze, but these treats usually aren’t the best (or healthiest) ways to enjoy this powerhouse of produce. Fortunately, there are lots of other ways to incorporate this superstar into your meals such as soups, chili, and oatmeal.

Brussels Sprouts

A major benefit of brussels sprouts is that they contain sulforaphane, which may help reduce your likelihood of getting cancer. They also contain your full dose of vitamin K in just a half cup, and are also a good source of vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, and calcium.

If you hated this vegetable as a child and stay away from it as a result, it may be time to give it another go. This slightly bitter cruciferous vegetable holds up well to roasting and sautéing and tastes delicious with garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Its taste also holds up to stronger flavors, like balsamic vinegar. Don’t make the mistake of simply boiling brussels sprouts. Their true charm shows through with just a little imagination.

*Tip: Be sure to remove the center core from the bottom of the sprout – that’s where the strongest flavor is contained.

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Sources:

http://www.superfoodsrx.com/superfoods/apples/

http://www.superfoodsrx.com/superfoods/pumpkin/pumpkin-as-a-super-food.html

http://home.howstuffworks.com/brussels-sprouts3.htm

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/3-reasons-you-should-be-eating-brussel-sprouts.html#b

http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/healthy-fall-superfoods#slide-1

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307323,00.html

*The information on this page is not intended to be used as medical advice in any way. Always consult with your doctor for any health related concerns and before starting a new diet or exercise program.