Healthstyle Blog

The Best Fall Vegetables for Your Health

If “spring” or “summer” are the only seasons that come to mind when you think about the best times of the year to enjoy fresh produce, it’s time to take another look at fall. The autumn months yield a bountiful harvest of delicious veggies perfect for soups, stews, casseroles and sides. Even better, many of these cool weather edibles are chock full of health benefits as well.

Beets – Known for their earthy flavor, beets are rich in nitrates that may widen blood vessels. Studies have suggested that older adults who eat a nitrate-rich diet enjoy a boost in blood flow to the frontal lobe of their brains—an area commonly associated with dementia and age-related cognitive decline. Beets may also help combat hypertension. Look for red and yellow beets at your local grocery store. Thinly slice and add them to salads, or roast them with herbs for a flavorful side.

Broccoli – This crunchy green vegetable is an excellent source of vitamins C, K and A as well as folate and fiber. Studies have suggested that the antioxidants found in broccoli may be beneficial in preventing stomach cancer and ulcers. When buying broccoli, look for sturdy, dark green spears and florets with tight buds and no yellowing.

Cabbage – An indispensable ingredient in summer coleslaws, cabbage is just as tasty in the fall. Use it to add texture to fall salads, a bit of crunch to rice dishes, or to top savory tacos. Cabbage is rich in vitamin C and fiber as well as chemicals that act as natural detoxifiers. Studies have suggested that cabbage may be beneficial in preventing breast, lung and colon cancer.

Chard – This versatile vegetable contains phytochemicals that studies have shown may prevent various types of cancers and protect your heart. One half-cup serving of cooked chard also provides more than 300 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin K and 100 percent of the RDA of vitamin A. You’ll find chard in rainbow, white, green, ruby and red varieties.

Leeks – A close relative of garlic, leeks have a mild onion-like flavor that works well in soups, stews and other dishes. One cup of leeks contains a mere 54 calories, and they’re an excellent source of vitamin A and K as well as the compounds lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies have suggested that consuming leeks may help reduce the risk of gastric and colorectal cancers as well as protect eyesight.

Mushrooms – Wonderful in salads and stir fry dishes or added to stews and casseroles, mushrooms contain nutrients including potassium, copper, niacin and selenium. While white button mushrooms are available at most grocery stores, you may also find Portobello, cremini, oyster and shiitake varieties. When shopping, look for firm mushrooms with a smooth appearance.

Squash – The “winter squash” varieties you’re likely to find this fall include sugar pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, kabocha squash, carnival squash, blue hubbard squash and delicata squash. Most have a creamy texture (except for spaghetti, with a texture that resembles its namesake), and a sweet flavor perfect when roasted and served as a side or cubed and added to soups and stews. Toss spaghetti squash with marinara sauce or pesto for a gluten-free pasta substitute.


Do you have any favorites amongst the vegetables listed? I love mushrooms and enjoy all types. I used squash, cabbage, beets and mushroom to prepare a lot of my Simply Vibrant meals during the detox I was leading with my private clients.  Do you plan to use some of these vegetables over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? I look forward to hearing from you.




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