By Betty Murray
It may still be hot outside, but fall is just days away. As the seasons change, so do the fresh foods that are in season. Many of these vegetables and fruits pack a powerful punch, which is why they’ve been dubbed “superfoods.”
These five foods are so rich in nutrients, their health benefits can’t be ignored.
- Beets – The beetroot is rich in antioxidants, calcium and potassium, giving this vibrant magenta vegetable its illness-fighting properties. Other nutrients found in beets, like betanin, can also help prevent or reduce inflammation in the body. Don’t care for beets? Try mixing them into a smoothie with other veggies and fruit.
- Brussels sprouts — Don’t turn your nose up just yet, Brussels sprouts contain vitamin K, folate and are an excellent source of iron. If you don’t prefer their flavor, try baking them with a drizzle of olive oil and a few spices, or combining them with balsamic vinegar.
- Broccoli — This cruciferous vegetable may not be your favorite, but if you’re not including broccoli in your diet, you’re missing out on a powerful source of antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium. Broccoli may help prevent cancer, heart disease and progression of osteoporosis and its nutrients can also help promote eye health and strengthen your immune system. For a tasty twist on broccoli, try roasting it with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite seasonings.
- Grapes — Not only are they tasty and a great source of vitamins C and K, grapes are also a hydrating fruit (a definite plus in this hot September!). Keep in mind that red wine is made from red grapes, so health benefits of a glass of red wine can also be found in grapes thanks to the resveratrol contained in the skin.
- Sweet potatoes — Sweet potatoes can typically be found year around, although their harvest season is September through December. They are packed full of nutrients including vitamin A and iron and can even act as an anti-inflammatory. Be careful about combining them with too many other high-calorie ingredients. Roasted or baked sweet potato wedges are a healthy replacement for mashed potatoes or French fries.
Take advantage of these superfoods while they are in season. Remember, when preparing these foods avoid cooking them with overly fatty or high-calorie ingredients. Many of them have a vibrant flavor, which can be enhanced with a dash of spices.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.