The Best Fall Foods For Your Body Aren't All Basic, So Here's What To Shop For This Autumn
Over the weekend, I lowered the temperature in my apartment not because it was hot, but because I genuinely wanted to bust out my favorite sweater, skinny jeans, and fuzzy socks an entire month before fall is officially here. I realize that might sound a little extra, but hear me out, guys: When I popped into Trader Joe’s the other day and spotted boxes of figs in the produce aisle, I took it as a sign that it's time to embrace the upcoming season and buy all of the best fall foods for your body. As far as I'm concerned, I can't wait to make my living space feel and taste like autumn. And listen, generally speaking, I try my best not to rush the seasons so I can enjoy each one and all of their individual quirks as they come. But I’ve been over summer humidity and short-shorts since mid-July, so I am more than ready for my large PSL ASAP, please.
Fall is, has been, and always will be my favorite season. Come @ me if you will, summer lovers, but to me, there’s really nothing better than snuggling into an oversized sweater on a brisk fall day, slipping on a pair of Uggs, and making a pit-stop at Starbucks for a grande PSL. Now, I realize my idea of the perfect autumnal morning actually sounds basic AF, but it turns out the most #basic seasonal delicacies of fall are just as nutritious as they are delicious, so go ahead and stock up on the following fall foods that are just as autumnal as they are beneficial to your body.
Pumpkin Spice Is Especially Nice For Your Eye Health
Look, I hate to break your heart, but usually the pumpkin spice lattes you’re picking up on your way into the office aren’t made from actual pumpkin — and even if they are, they’re likely loaded with a bunch of added sugars, aka stuff that simply isn't great for your body. This doesn't mean you shouldn’t indulge every once in a while, but what it does mean is that you should probably work some legit pumpkin into your meals whenever you're able to.
According to Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health, pumpkin might be basic, but it’s also super beneficial to your health. In other words, ignore the haters judging your obsession with PSL-flavored everything come Sept. 21, because your body is thanking you for the treat in more ways than you think.
“Pumpkin is an ideal source of alpha- and beta-carotene,” both of which can be converted into retinol and used to sharpen your vision, Glatter tells Elite Daily over email. Plus, he adds, pumpkin seeds are good for your heart and blood pressure, as they are “a great source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid.”
Beets Are Bae For Healthy Blood Flow
Have you noticed that seasonal foods in the autumn are some of the most rich in terms of color? Beets, for example, are one of those not-so-#basic fall grocery items you should be adding to your cart, and their beautiful maroon coloring is a gorgeous additive to any meal (think salads, wraps, and even soups).
Beets are also one of those good-for-you veggies that, in my opinion, is often forgotten about. Granted, it’s definitely an acquired taste, but Glatter tells Elite Daily that the more beets you eat, the better your blood flow will be, as the veggie is swimming with nitrates and betaine (aka compounds that help to fight off heart disease) which, together, "can promote health of blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the brain and potentially lowering the risk of developing dementia," says Glatter.
An Apple A Day Keeps Impulsive Snacking At Bay
After pumpkin, apples are my second favorite fall food (I know, I know, super #basic). Apple fritters, apple pie, apple cider — it’s all good in my book, and according to Glatter, tossing chopped pieces into salads or eating slices as a snack with peanut butter for dipping will make your body feel almost as good as your taste buds.
Apples are loaded with antioxidants, especially Fuji apples, which have the highest concentration of flavonoids and phenolics, two of the most potent antioxidants, Glatter says. They’re also high in fiber and vitamin C, he tells Elite Daily, and because apples have a low glycemic index, their sugars take longer for your body to break down, meaning you’ll feel fuller for longer. I don't know about you, but I know what I'll be snacking on this season.
Eggplant Is Best For Your Brain
Did you know your favorite emoji is actually packed with nutrients you need IRL? Because personally, I always skip this purple veggie when I'm perusing the produce aisle.
Add a couple of eggplants to your shopping cart ASAP, girl, because this versatile plant will do your body, and especially your brain, a lot of good. Eggplants contain an antioxidant called nasunin, making them what Glatter calls an "ideal brain-healthy food." The veggie also contains chlorogenic acid which, he explains, has "antiviral, cancer-fighting, and lipid-favorable properties." In other words, eggplants can help your body fight off disease, not to mention that nasty cold making its way around the office. On that note, eggplant parmesan for dinner, anyone?
Dark, Leafy Greens Are Loaded With Nutrients
I cannot, for the life of me, get on board with this whole everyone-loves-kale phenomenon. But if you're all about this dark, leafy green, Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, says you should definitely stick with it. "Dark leafy greens, such as endive, kale, spinach and Swiss chard, offer a lot of fiber, water, folate and carotenoids," she tells Elite Daily. "They also contain vitamins C and K, iron and calcium, while being low in calories."
Eat these babies raw, sautéed, as a side dish, or even as the base of a main entree, and you'll benefit from their nutrients like vitamins K, A, magnesium, and fiber.
Pomegranate Packs A Lot Of Protein For A Fruity Produce
Last fall, I started added fresh pomegranate seeds to steaming bowls of gooey oats topped with pumpkin spice. It totally changed how I do fall breakfasts for the better, and I guarantee it will change your meal plan, too. And the best part is, the vibrant taste of autumn in a bowl is just one perk of pomegranate; according to Derocha, pomegranates offer it all, from high fiber content, to water, vitamin C and K, plus folate, potassium, and even a little bit of protein — 3 grams per one cup's serving, to be exact, so eat up, my friend.