Enjoying Fall Super Foods

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkins are a great fall super food

There are so many wonderful Fall Foods to take advantage of now in preparing our meals. Many of then are considered Super Foods. With the cold and flu season revving up it is especially good to incorporate these foods into our diets. A recent article I read on Aol Healthy Living gave a great list of Autumnal Super Foods: Pumpkin, Pumpkin Seeds, Apples, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Beets, and Brussel Sprouts.

I love the idea of using my pumpkins not only for decoration but for eating. It suits our desire to reuse, repurpose and recycle! Pumpkins are good for us because they are a great source of fiber and vitamin A, which according to the Harvard School of Public Health, stimulates white blood cell activity and regulates cell growth and division. I haven't cooked with pumpkin yet but I went on the Eating Well Website and found a whole host of yummy looking recipes I plan to try. First on my list is Pueblo Pumpkin Stew which is a vegetarian recipe which will be perfect for one of my vegetarian meals I want to incorporate into my menu planning each week.

Pumpkin Seeds are rich in healthy fats and oils says Judy Caplan, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Pumpkin seeds are healthy for us but for those of us also watching our calories they are similar to nuts in calories. Here is a link for more information on Pumpkin Seed Nutrition. One Tablespoon is 57 calories. I found a recipe for Pumpkin Seed and Cilantro Pesto I plan on trying. They can also be a great afternoon snack and can be easily added to granola or used as a garnish for soups and stews. It has been a long standing tradition in our family to simply soak and roast our pumpkin seeds as part of our Halloween /Thanksgiving activities.

Apples have long been a mainstay in our family. I grew up with the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". They are one of the best fruits and help us guard against a whole host of health problems and diseases from diabetes & heart disease to breast & colon cancer. We relish the Fall for all the variety of apples that are available and because they are the most crisp and juicy. Eating Well has a variety of yummy looking recipes using apples. One in particular that caught my eye is the Salmon Over Warm Lentil Apple Walnut Salad.

Persimmons are a great source of fiber, vitamin A and antioxidants. A recent Japanese study has shown is it good for fighting cancers.  Cooking Light has an appealing Spiced Persimmon Pecan Muffin recipe that should pair well with a soup or salad.

Pomegranates are a an antioxidant-rich superfood which may help protect against arthritis, diabetes and a long list of other diseases. Growing up we had a favorite fall salad with grapefruit, avocado, and lettuce topped with pomegranates. A delicious looking recipe I found uses pomegranates in a Moroccan stew- Chicken Tagine with Pomegranates.

Beets are a vegetable we love roasted in salads during the summertime but they are also plentiful in the Fall.  The health benefits of beets include lowering cholesterol and anti-aging. A combination I have not seen before but looked appealing for a recipe is a beet risotto with greens goat cheese and walnut. 

Finally, Brussel Sprouts are packed full of benefits from providing lots of critical antioxidants and vitamins to protecting us from heart disease and stroke; it also protects our DNA.  We often just roast brussel sprouts for our vegetable at dinner time. Another recipe I found delectable looking was Citrus Curried Couscous with Brussels Sprouts.

I can't wait to try out all these new found recipes, all the while providing my family with delicious Fall Super Foods to help guard against .... just about EVERYTHING!

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