Summer might be ending, but autumn is arriving with a gorgeous and colorful range of fruits and vegetables. Not only are they a beauty when plated, but these vibrant ingredients contain a powerhouse of nutrients that your immune system needs more than ever – especially with the risk of COVID-19. If you’re looking to brighten up your Instagram story while improving your health, opt for these tasty choices instead of fast food.
You can sometimes get colorful wild carrots that range from cream to purple, but the most common is that lovely orange hue. Hit up your local farmers market and consider glazing them with honey before giving them a bake in the oven – the result is succulent and packed with more than double your daily dose of vitamin A.
2. Butter lettuce
If you’re not quite ready for kale yet, consider butter lettuce. This smooth lettuce is deliciously decadent and doesn’t taste overly healthy. It’s a perfect addition to a sandwich, or even as a salad base on its own. Butter lettuce is filled with an important antioxidant called beta-carotene and a phytochemical called lutein. Both of these are key in preventative measures against degenerative diseases.
There are so many different kinds of mushrooms. We love a succulent portobello, or a hearty mushroom soup on a chilly day. Mushrooms are essentially an inflammation-decreasing superfood, and they’re robust in flavor – enough to be compared to a meat! They’re also packed with prebiotics, which feed the microbiota in your intestines and promotes healthy digestion.
Apple picking is one of our favorite fall activities; there’s just so much that you can make with them! From apple and squash soup to stuffing, there are lots of savory options along with the classic unhealthy options like apple pie and strudel. Baked apple rings also hit the spot when you sprinkle the naturally sweet treat with cinnamon. Apples contain vitamin C and tons of antioxidants. They also contain pectin, a prebiotic which is known to reduce high cholesterol levels while keeping your gut happy.
5. Brussel Sprouts
Many of us have been traumatized by boiled Brussel sprouts, but there are way better ways to make the most of flavor when cooking yours. Try to buy them fresh on the stalk I f possible, and roast them with olive oil, pepper, and salt in the oven. They’re packed with iron and other good-for-you vitamins that’ll strengthen your immune system.
6. Sweet Potatoes
There are more ways to eat sweet potatoes than baled in a casserole with artificially sweetened marshmallows. You can bake them into sweet potato fries, or serve them as a mash on the side with grilled fish or chicken. They’re packed with fiber to keep you fuller for longer, and also filled with vitamins C and A. If you cut them into chips, they also make some pretty mind-blowing nachos.
The ultimate add-on to any charcuterie board, figs both look and taste dazzling. They’re packed with fiber and have been known to lower bad cholesterol, while regulating blood sugar and potassium, both of which can improve blood pressure. If you find yourself with the urge to snack all day or suffer from frequent constipation, consider making a fig, goat cheese and walnut salad. Figs are also delectable on their own.
This purple-red vegetable is mesmerizing in both its color ,and its health benefits. The root veggie contains betalains, a phytonutrient that fights inflammation and has antioxidant properties. Beets can also help our bodies absorb calcium better. When you’re shopping for your beets, try to choose smaller ones, which will be more tender than beets larger in size. They’re sweet enough to sneak into a dessert but also make a satisfying side dish or salad.
9. Butternut squash
When nothing hits the spot, a hot bowl of butternut squash soup will. Its velvety texture is almost addictive when pureed, but if you cube one of these up and roast it, the flavor is equally impressive. Just make sure to add seasonings like garlic and salt! The vitamin C will help keep your immune system strong, while beta-carotene helps optimize eye health.
Grapes are like nature’s candy. They’re hard to put down once you stop, and while they make one of the best inventions ever – wine- they taste pretty amazing on their own as well. There are endless varieties of grapes, and even though they taste like dessert, they contain substances like vitamin K, which enables stronger bones, along with polyphenols, otherwise known as micronutrients.