Fall is finally here, and we’re excited to indulge in seasonal comfort food as the weather gets cooler and our bodies crave the tastes of the autumn harvest. Instead of enjoying a simple BBQ on the beach or fruit salad, we are now looking forward to cooking an abundance of orange and golden vegetables, hearty soups, as well as sipping fresh apple cider and baking pumpkin-flavored treats.
To make all these fall indulgences happen, first stock up on fresh vegetables and fruits from the farmer’s market or farm stand, produce section, or green market, since these autumn crops are in prime season and deliver a host of health benefits that will have your energy on high and your body’s immunity humming along. The Beet compiled this list of the healthiest fruits and vegetables to add to your list and eat right now, to make Autumn your best season yet. We highlighted the health benefits of each one, so you can feel even more motivated to put these foods in your basket. Then, check out The Beet’s library of healthy fall recipes to enjoy and create new memories that will make this season your absolute favorite.
Here Are the 21 Best Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables With Major Health Benefits
1. Apples: Do eat the skin, which is where most of the healthy compounds are
Apples are known to lower your risk of heart disease, since they contain plenty of soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol levels, according to a recent study. Apples are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, and Folate, which helps boost your immune system. One apple has about 95 calories and contains 4 grams of dietary fiber making it the perfect low-calorie on-the-go snack that will fill you up. Visit your local apple orchard because September and October are prime apple picking season.
But which apple is healthiest? According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, polyphenolic compounds found in apples (in Red Delicious apples) are extremely beneficial to human health but if you don’t like the tougher skin, skip those since most of the benefit from flavonoids in the apple is in the skin. The Pinky Lady contains the most flavonoids, which improve blood flow and boost your ability to create nitric oxide —a molecule that relaxes and opens blood vessels for better heart health, circulation, performance, and anti-aging.
2. Winter Squash: This vegetable can help improve your skin and lower risk of disease
Winter squash differs from summer squash since it’s harvested and eaten in the mature fruit stage when the seeds and skin are hard. These include butternut, pumpkin, acorn, delicata, and Hubbard. Winter squash is high in vitamins A and C, promoting a healthy immune system, improving your vision, and can help clear up skin–reducing any signs of acne.
Carotenoids are found in most squashes including acorn squash and butternut squash and may “protect against type 2 diabetes, lung cancer, mental decline, and vision disorders,” studies have found….