11 fall foods to fight infections, get energy, and prevent weight gain

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Want to be healthier this season? Registered Dietitians are sharing what they’re buying this fall to help fight infections, boost energy, and control weight gain. Here we take a look at dietitians’ grocery carts sharing their favorite plant-based foods to eat now and all winter long, to be healthier this season.

“Plant-based foods are a great way to stay healthy and glowing this fall and the holiday season,” says dietitian Lauren O’Connor, MS, RDN, author of Healthy cooking for a recipe book. “Truth be told, we should always take care of nature’s perfect foods.”

She adds that incorporating a wide variety of plant foods into your lifestyle will not only bring color and flavor complexity to your vacation, but will also add “a variety of immune boosting and supporting nutrients. health”.

11 fall foods to fight infections, prevent weight gain, and get more energy

1. Rustic greens

“Resistant greens like kale and kale are starting to pop into the farmers market this time of year,” says Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, Culinary and Integrative Dietitian at MarisaMoore.com. “They taste better in cooler weather, but are packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, folate and vitamin C. Cabbages are particularly rich in vitamin K, known for its essential role in blood clotting and maintenance. bone health. ”

In fact, according to a 2021 study, one cup of leafy greens per day helps build muscle strength; you don’t have to tell us twice to toss this kale salad.

2. Walnuts

Do you like nuts? So do we, and there are good reasons to eat it regularly, especially if you are on a plant-based diet. “One of my favorite fall foods is nuts, as they are a great addition to many seasonal recipes, such as plant-based chili, pumpkin-spiced night oats, and seasonal roasted vegetables. .

Walnuts are the only nut with an excellent source of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a nutrient that may be lacking in a vegan diet. The omega-3 family includes ALAs as well as EPA and DHA, which are found in oily fish. If you don’t eat fish, it’s even more important to eat foods like nuts because ALA turns into omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, ”says Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, Nutrition Expert and well-being and co-author of Sugar shock.

“In a small study of people with low omega-3 intake, consuming two servings of nuts per day resulted in a significant increase in the total omega-3 fatty acids in participants’ plasma. Meanwhile, other research suggests that ALA may be as effective in reducing the risk of heart disease as omega-3s derived from marine sources. So it’s really crucial for vegans to add foods high in ALA, like nuts, to meals and snacks.

3. Sharon fruit

“I love Sharon fruit, a type of persimmon (often labeled ‘fuyu’ persimmon), but not the acorn-shaped ones that have to get really soft to eat without squinting,” shares Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND, Associate Clinical Professor Emeritus, Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Founder of Cut to the Chase Nutrition. Ayoob describes them as sweet with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.

“This study found that fruit consumption decreases in the fall and winter, and this is probably partly due to the more limited variety of fresh fruit,” he continues, adding that Sharon fruit is loaded with potassium, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants like beta. -carotene. As well as eating them raw, try slicing them and tossing them into salads or your favorite plant-based yogurt.

4. Brussels sprouts

“Brussels sprouts add an excellent texture to [meals]Comments O’Connor. “Garlic-roasted or oven-baked to perfection with a drizzle of oil and a touch of sea salt, these cruciferous bites add nutritional density to your meals,” she says, adding that the compounds in Glucosinate from Brussels sprouts have been linked to a decreased risk of cancer. .

These days, we love this sweet and spicy Brussels sprouts recipe.

5. Butternut squash

Roasted butternut seasoned with garam masala with house naan, here we are.

“Butternut squash is a sweet and satisfying addition to your fall meals. High levels of carotenoids confer heart health benefits, immunity and anti-inflammatory properties, says O’Connor, highlighting this study. “And did you know that carotenoids can be helpful for iron absorption? This is good news for those who suffer from anemia. For more on how to get enough iron on a plant-based diet, check out our guide here.

Riffant O’Connor, Moore adds that winter squash such as butternut squash are high in vitamin A “and research suggests that yellow and orange vegetables may help reduce the risk of heart disease.” As for cooking it? “I usually simplify the preparation by roasting the squash or adding it to a soup or stew,” says Moore.

6. Mushrooms

“While you can find mushrooms year round, their peak growing season is fall through winter. In the meantime, they’re an ideal fall food because they can be a valuable source of vitamin D, especially if you’re exclusively plant-based. Vitamin D is considered the sunshine vitamin because when your skin is exposed to the sun, it activates the production of vitamin D in your body. However, in the fall the days get shorter so you get less sun. This makes it even more important to get vitamin D from food, ”says Cassetty. “And for vegans, mushrooms are the best source of this nutrient outside of fortified foods. This is because, like your skin, fungi synthesize vitamin D when exposed to the sun or sunlamps.

“Plus, mushrooms have antiviral and antibacterial properties as well as immune-boosting nutrients including selenium, so they’re a perfect addition to your fall menu when cold and flu activity increases.” She adds. Which reminds us, also add some of these plant-based foods to your fall shopping list, in order to boost your immune system and fight disease.

7. Oranges

“Oranges are a fall / winter fruit, and they can really take over from the fruit consumption that fades in cold weather,” says Ayoob. “Whole oranges are great, but this is once I became a fan of juice and store-bought juice: hesperidin is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage. It is mainly found in the pith and skin of citrus fruits. Commercial compression is much more powerful and allows more of the hesperidin to be extracted from the marrow and skin and into the juice. Ayoob recommends consuming four to eight ounces of orange juice per day.

FYI: Make sure you’re drinking 100% orange juice and not an “orange drink” or juice mixed with other ingredients and potentially added sugars, Ayoob warns.

8. Grapes

Moore says she’ll definitely be stocking up on grapes this fall. “Grapes can promote a healthy heart by promoting relaxation of blood vessels for healthy blood circulation and function. Heart-healthy grapes of all colors are great on their own – just rinse them and add them to your fall or holiday table, ”she says. “Taste them fresh or add grapes to all kinds of recipes, from salads and salsas to sweet and savory appetizers to complete a snack platter. “

Try this edamame and grape weight loss combo for an easy, filling snack.

9. Apples

Whether you pick them from an orchard, buy them at the farmer’s market, or grab them from the supermarket, they are a great addition to your diet, in the fall and all year round. “Apples are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that is also believed to have potential protective effects against heart disease. Much of the quercetin and other phytonutrients in apples are concentrated in the peel, so leave it out if possible, ”advises Charlotte Martin, MS, RD, author of The Plant-Forward Solution: Restart your diet, lose weight, and strengthen your health throughout your life by eating more plants and less meat.

“Apples also contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that can support digestive health by promoting regularity and functioning as a prebiotic, nourishing good gut bacteria and encouraging their production of health-promoting metabolites called acids. short chain fat. “

10. Beans

It’s the season for soups, stews and chili galore. “They are the most underrated part of the food supply. Half a cup of pinto beans four times a week has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by 19 points, the majority of which is “bad” LDL cholesterol, ”Ayoob suggests. “This research was done with canned pinto beans, so you don’t have to start from scratch with dried beans to get these great results,” he explains, adding that it’s not just the beans. pinto that are good for you.

“Swap your favorite beans, like chickpeas, which are another of my must-haves that are always in my pantry. Plus, I love the versatility of the beans – I add them to salads, soups, stews, and you can add them at the last minute, ”he adds, pointing to his very simple hummus recipe. family.

11. Cranberries

These ruby ​​red gems make a tangy addition to your holiday / festive dishes and are a great addition to a harvest bowl or fall casserole dish. And a little goes a long way, ”says O’Connor. “It is true that most cranberry dishes are sweet and dried cranberries contain added sugars to some extent, but according to current research, consuming cranberries may go beyond gut health and provide benefits. cardiovascular disease, including an improved lipid profile and (especially in the form of juice) reduced blood. pressure.”

Plus, you might be surprised, but snacking on a handful of raw cranberries is actually a good snack to pick up. Or add them to your favorite oatmeal recipe or mix them with oatmeal just before serving.


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