The fall is the perfect time to kickstart your healthy eating habits. Instead of waiting to lose weight after the holidays, you can start adding in wholesome and nutritious foods into your diet now. Fall superfoods are lowe in calories, nutrient-dense and will assist you in meeting your dietary goals. The Dr. Urshan Health and Weight Loss Center recommends the following top 15 fall superfoods:
The key benefit of spaghetti squash is that the vegetable can be a replacement for pasta and reduces your overall carbohydrate intake. Spaghetti squash is rich in B vitamins, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. High-fiber spaghetti squash has only 42 calories per cup—compared to 220 calories of pasta per cup.
One of our favorite fall pastimes is apple picking. Gather up as many of these superfoods as you want to reap phenomenal health benefits. Apples are rich in antioxidants and their high fiber content keeps you full for longer. They are the perfect weight loss snack too since a medium apple only has 95 calories.
The colder weather makes you crave heartier foods like potatoes. Choose wisely by adding sweet potatoes into your diet. Sweet potatoes are high in iron, calcium, B vitamins and vitamin C. To keep sweet potatoes healthy, don’t add butters and spreads that are high in saturated fats. Instead, drizzle with olive oil to add in healthy monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Tomatoes are the perfect fall time vegetable with benefits for your heart, bones and digestive system. Tomatoes average only about 20 calories a serving and are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. The nutrient-rich superfood has antioxidants that lowers blood pressure and reduces heart disease risk. Tomatoes are also a natural remedy for those suffering from constipation.
Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron. The antioxidant levels in pomegranates are higher than both the levels in green tea and red wine combined. As an alternative, you can have pomegranate juice as part of your healthy fall diet. In a recent study on the effect of pomegranate juice on memory, researchers found that drinking a glass of pomegranate juice daily led to improved performances on tests for age-associated memory loss.
Quinoa is one of the few foods that contain all nine amino acids. Quinoa is classified as a whole grain with one cup of cooked quinoa containing 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. Quinoa is a versatile fall superfood and can be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Quinoa can be made into a cereal by cooking it with water and using cinnamon and nuts for flavoring. Add quinoa to salads and soups to increase the nutritional benefits and keep you full for longer. Make dishes healthier by substituting any pasta with quinoa.
No matter what the season, avocado is a top superfood choice. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats—a substance linked to reduced cholesterol levels and improved heart health. This type of fat has also been linked to brain development in children. Avocados will also keep you full for longer—helping with weight loss goals.
As the holidays approach, nuts become a more popular menu item. Nuts are consumed as snacks or added to holiday recipes. Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts and cashews are highly nutritious, but often avoided because they are high in calories. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends nuts in moderate quantities because they are high in fiber and protein. They help individuals stay fuller for longer periods of time and have been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.
Cauliflower has become a popular choice for those looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake. Cauliflower can be made into rice or even used to create a healthy pizza crust. High in fiber and B vitamins, cauliflower has been known to protect against certain cancers and reduce heart disease risk.
Don’t deny your sweet tooth this fall. Instead, choose dark chocolate for your Halloween and Thanksgiving treats. Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols—a substance known to protect the heart by improving blood flow. Dark chocolate also is considered a powerful antioxidant and has been linked to the elimination of free radicals in the body. Free radicals damage cells and lead to medical conditions such as heart disease and cancers.
Although a pumpkin spice latte may be loaded with sugar, pumpkin is actually a fall superfood. The high-fiber content in pumpkin keeps you feeling full for longer. The antioxidants and vitamin A in pumpkin keeps the eyes and skin healthy. Beta carotene in pumpkin helps boosts the body’s natural immunity. This is a major benefit with cold and flu season just around the corner.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends oatmeal as a daily breakfast choice for those looking to lose weight. Steel cut oats are best and help control blood sugar levels. A bowl of oatmeal for breakfast will keep you full for longer to assist with your weight loss goals. Oatmeal is high in fiber, which is helpful for the digestive system. Furthermore, diets that include high fiber foods like oatmeal will lower colon cancer risk by as much as 10 percent.
Chickpeas can be used as a replacement protein for those looking to reduce their meat intake. High in B vitamins, iron, fiber, calcium and magnesium, chickpeas can help you meet your daily nutritional goals. Chickpeas is the main ingredient in hummus—a popular snack food that studies have shown to be beneficial to weight management and stabilized insulin levels. There is also indications that hummus may reduce cardiovascular disease risks.
Antioxidant-rich mushrooms protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Mushrooms offer support to the immune system and protects against certain medical conditions such as heart disease and certain cancers. Furthermore, mushrooms may be beneficial to patients with neurological conditions like dementia. The health benefits of mushrooms increase after cooking with grilling being known to cause a surge in antioxidant levels.
Green beans are high in several nutrients, but especially in B vitamins, fiber, and protein. Green beans can be enjoyed fresh, canned or frozen. According to the Centers for Disease Control, canned vegetables are fine as long as you read ingredient labels. Avoid versions with added salt, sugar, or syrups.
Contact Dr. Ushan Health and Weight Loss Center today to learn more about making smart food choices and get started on your journey to a healthier you.