Autumn brings shorter days and longer nights which means less sunshine and warmth. In this season, you have less access to natural Vitamin D though deficiency in this vital nutrient is turning out to be a risk factor for susceptibility to Covid.
Be sure to have your numbers checked, especially if you are dark skinned. Fluctuations in temperatures are common and call for a transition to foods that will keep you feeling warm but not overheated.
You want foods that are filled with nutrients to offset colds and other viruses that are more common as we spend more time indoors.
From beets to squash, the fall harvest is full of antioxidant- and fiber-rich foods to keep you healthy.
It’s always beneficial to experience a variety of flavors on your plate. In the US, we most commonly go for sweet or salty, but broadening flavor to include bitter, sour, and pungent creates more balance and variety for your body.
Follow these nutrition tips and try the recipe to perk up your health during the autumn months.
Go for Root Vegetables
Root vegetables grow close to or under the earth and provide insulation during the colder months.
Underground gems like garlic, onions, ginger, turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, and parsnips are great autumn food choices and offer a variety of flavors. Think white, yellow, orange, and purple for vegetables that will nourish you in autumn.
Add Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Allergies abound in autumn, from mold and pollen, but eating apples and onions help block histamines. Nature’s wisdom provides them in abundance in this season.
Think Fall Fruits
Apples, pears, red grapes, and pomegranates top my list of super fruits for autumn. Rich in anti-oxidants and fiber, they are bacteria fighters and satisfy your appetite.
Visit local farms for the freshest fruits. Ideally, apples should be organic as the conventional apples tend to need potent pesticides to repel insects.
Don’t Forget Your Grains
Whole grains like whole oats, quinoa, bulgur, and brown rice are another source of nutrients. They contain B vitamins and may help ward off those short day cold weather blues. They also add bulk to your meals and will keep you satisfied. Season them in many different ways to keep variety on your plate.
I like to use seasonings in a cultural or geographic way, using spices like ginger and 5-star anise for an Asian taste, cumin and coriander for Middle Eastern, and basil and oregano for Italian. This way you can take plain grains and make them quite tasty.
Here is one of my favorite fall recipes that you might enjoy. It’s a bit musky in flavor.
Autumn Lentil Soup with Wilted Greens
• 2 cups French lentils, rinsed
• 2 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil
• 1 onion, yellow or white
• 2 celery stalks
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
• 5 cups vegetable broth
• 3 cups fresh mixed greens (e.g., red winter kale, Swiss chard, and spinach)
• Sea salt (optional)
Rinse lentils thoroughly and check for small stones. Place oil in a large soup pot and add chopped onion and celery.
Cook until onion is translucent and add carrots, garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander while gradually adding the 5 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until lentils are tender.
Remove from heat and stir in the mixed greens and sea salt.
If you are looking for a soup with a sweeter flavor, one that’s perfect for Autumn, head on to my blog for the Apple Parsnip soup recipe. It’s delicious.
If you are interested in participating in a simple autumn cleansing program, you can check out this week-long opportunity that starts on November 6.
Are there some special things you plan to do to keep yourself healthy heading into the colder months? Which are your favorite fall fruits and veggies? Do you use them in tasty soup recipes? Please join the conversation and share your tips.