A number of modern diets are based on habits of old, from the Paleo diet to Ancestral Eating.
These diets have some merit, but are often based on misconceptions and very little scientific evidence, such as the belief that our bodies have adapted to subsist mostly on meat, even though evidence indicates vegan and vegetarian diets are considerably healthier.
Research suggests that ancestral diets may have some benefits though, especially those that focus on seasonal, organic produce, contain little to no dairy, and abstain from processed foods and refined sugars.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best Fall superfoods, helping you to detox from those processed foods and to eat clean in the coming season.
Apples are one of our favorite superfoods, one that possesses a wealth of weight-loss potential thanks to an abundance of fibre, antioxidants and other healthy compounds.
They are cheap, easy to come by, and there are many varieties to experiment with.
These fruits are harvested from August to November, but it’s important to shop organic to make sure you’re getting an apple that has been freshly grown without the use of pesticides or preserving gases.
Apples are preserved year-round in what is known as “sleep storage”. This method of preserving basically locks the fruits in a sealed, temperature-controlled room where everything from the level of carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen, to the heat and humidity, is controlled.
It means they can stay “Fresh” for longer, but it also means that the fruit you buy this August could have been picked last August, so stay clear of big grocery chains and buy from your local organic grocer instead.
If apples aren’t your thing, then sink your teeth into a pear instead. They are softer, sweeter, and just as healthy.
In fact, they contain the same amount of fiber per serving as apples do and they are also loaded with antioxidants and vitamins.
When they are just ripe, pears are lovely and soft, with an intense sweetness and a texture like a ripe peach. But don’t worry if they are too hard, as you can lightly bake or poach them to soften them up.
These root vegetables are rich in vitamin C and E, and they also contain fiber, which can promote feelings of satiety, aid with weight loss, and assist with digestive health.
In fact, they provide up to 30% of your RDA of fiber with a single 100 calorie serving.
Parsnips are best when cooked and are delicious baked, fried or mashed. They have a naturally sweet taste and are incredibly versatile.
Cauliflower is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, and one that comes into season in the Fall. It is rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins. In fact, a 100 calorie serving will give you roughly:
- Vitamin C = 300% RDA
- Vitamin K = 80% RDA
- Folate = 60% RDA
- Vitamin B6 = 30% RDA
- Vitamin B5 = 28% RDA
It contains around a third of your RDA of potassium, as well as smaller amounts of half a dozen other key nutrients. It is also a great source of a potent antioxidant known as sulforaphane, which has been linked to an abundance of health benefits.
6. Winter Squash
This vegetable can be stored for many weeks without really losing its nutritional value. It is harvested in October and varieties include pumpkin, a vegetable we love at this time of year but don’t eat enough of.
One of the best things about these vegetables is that they are grown organically and in abundance throughout the United States, and you never have to look far to find one come Halloween or Thanksgiving.
As far as health benefits go, they are a great source of potassium and key vitamins, and they are also high in fiber.
All fruit should be consumed in moderation as they are high in sugar and pack quite a punch calorie-wise. But they are also loaded with healthy nutrients and pomegranates are one of the healthiest.
Pomegranates are rich in vitamins C and K and they also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. They may help to reduce inflammatory disorders of the gut, and studies suggest they could possess some potent anti-cancer benefits.
Grapefruit is a sour fruit that has played major role in weight-loss programs for decades now. It is one of the few “fads” that has endured, and not without reason.
Grapefruit is loaded with healthy nutrients, providing you with three-quarters of your RDA of vitamin C and a third of vitamin A with just half a fruit.
What’s more, grapefruit may help you to shed those excess pounds. Weight loss studies on humans and animals have been incredibly positive, suggesting it could help overweight and obese individuals to lose a few extra pounds a month.
3. Brussel Sprouts
Sprouts are not everyone’s cup of tea, but only because few people cook them the way they should be cooked.
These vegetables taste and look like mini cabbages, but they shouldn’t be boiled to death like the cabbage. They are best when they are still firm, and they go great with a rich, tangy sauce.
Sprout season runs from Fall to Spring. They are often sold frozen, but the best way to enjoy them is to buy fresh, cook light, and eat whole. They are rich in iron, vitamin K and fiber.
Kiwis are also one of the best sources of vitamin C, with one small 42 calorie fruit providing more than 100% of your RDA.
Consumption of this Fall fruit may also help to improve cardiovascular health, which is why they have become popular with fitness fanatics in recent years.
1. Sweet Potatoes
These delicious root vegetables are in season from September to December. They form a major part of The Sweet Potato Diet and are very good for you.
Sweet potatoes contain significant amounts of vitamins A, C, B5, Biotin and B6, as well as minerals like manganese, copper and potassium.
They can provide enough energy to sustain you for hours, are rich in fiber, and may also help to reduce inflammation.
If you’re used to buying processed, packaged and frozen food out of convenience then it can be a big leap to start buying fresh seasonal produce every week. But it’s a lot easier than you might think.
Many root vegetables keep for weeks in the pantry, fruits keep for days in the fridge, and you can freeze some of your vegetables and then cook with them at a later date.
It’s not ideal, but it will certainly help you to make a change and eventually, months down the line, you’ll be used to buying and eating fresh every day.
You can also use a daily detox drink to help you meet your micronutrient requirements without worrying about stocking up on those hard-to-find seasonal superfoods.