Melissa Federico, LE and Beauty and Fashion Writer
Nutritionally speaking, can we call 2020 a wash?
Like a bad relationship, we all need to move on. And what better time to reevaluate than the changing of a season.
Fall is filled with colorful comfort foods and there are several ways that you can satisfy your cravings in confidence. Let the hearty and nutritious harvest produce below inspire you to fill up your plate, tantalize your tastebuds and boost your overall wellness as we come into the holiday season.
Consisting of mostly water, this tart berry packs a punch of nutrition. They are rich in bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress within the body. Studies have shown that high consumptions of foods that are high in bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity can have a positive effect on health and can even help to reduce the risk of numerous diseases. These little berries can make a savory side relish for poultry or fish dishes or tossed into your favorite smoothie for seasonal flair and flavor. But since most of the nutrients from this berry are found in the skin it’s best to find a way to eat them raw.
You can boost skin and eye health with colorful vegetables high in Beta-carotene like carrots. But this time of the year we prefer pumpkins because of the endless possibilities. Our most versatile and arguably yummiest option, is a fruit that can be served up sweet, savory and scary. You can also use it as an exfoliating enzyme mask in a pinch! If your main concern is tissue health, you need vitamin A in your diet. Our bodies break down Beta-carotene into this essential vitamin as well as receiving other important minerals like zinc, omega-3 and fiber from the seeds.
Right now, we can all take a little stress relief where we can get it. One way to un-stress and reduce seasonal skin issues naturally could be found through beets. Naturally high in nitrates, they support circulation and help to reduce blood pressure and anemia. Other vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, support skin functions and can help with seasonal skin flare-ups like eczema. Beets come in a variety of colors and can be roasted or pickled. If you’re looking to get as much of the beneficial nutrients as possible then you’ll want to go for fresh beetroot juice or beets blended into greek yogurt for a dip.
Apples are so common that it’s sometimes easy to forget they are the original superfruit. They have few calories, high in fiber and mostly made of water. They also contain antioxidants that help fight free radical damage from oxidative stress. Fisetin is an anti-aging compound that is found in apples and just a few other fruits and vegetables. Like cranberries, most of the antioxidants and beneficial nutrients are found within the skin.
Potassium, potassium, potassium. Read that again. Write it down and remember it. Just like salt, Potassium is a very important mineral for your body. It’s responsible for regulating functions like fluid balance, nerve signals and muscle contractions. All things that help us have energy and function throughout the day. Other sources for this electrolyte include coconut water, eggs and bananas. But sweet potatoes offer a comforting and versatile way to load up on potassium during the cold months.
This cousin to the carrot doesn’t contain the same vibrant orange color but that’s not to say it isn’t as yummy and nourishing. This root vegetable is loaded with fiber, vitamin c and folates. Folates are a B-vitamin that is needed for healthy cell growth.
Autumn is the time to enjoy Brussel sprouts – with everything. Your skin will love the nourishment from this tasty omega-3, vitamin c and vitamin k packed veggie. Also high in fiber, brussel sprouts are a filling side dish that can be sauteed, roasted or tossed into a salad.
It’s nearly October and while it may seem like pumpkin season it’s really time to stock up on “the fruit of the gods”, as persimmons come into season. This antioxidant fruit has cultivated many phrases throughout time, where the Greeks referenced this fruit as divine, the name translates to “dry fruit” in Algonquin. It may be an acquired texture but just like pumpkins, this fruit is high in beta-carotene and fiber. Persimmons also contain a fair amount of natural sugars, making it a sweet pre-workout snack or addition to your alternative baking repertoire.
Integrating locally sourced fruits and vegetables and eating seasonally is a great way to feel and do better. They offer skin-loving antioxidants, bone-building nutrients and a creative way to add more color to your plate!
Need a serving suggestion?
Peel and chop parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts. Add some sliced onions and whole peeled garlic cloves. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread it out on a sheet pan and roast in a hot oven (400) for about 45 minutes then enjoy.