Dietitians Dish: Enjoy flavors of Fall
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By Loretta Cordes
As the seasons change and the weather get cooler our taste buds crave different flavors. There are a variety of colors and flavors with the foods that we enjoy in the fall and the upcoming holiday season. As you enjoy the flavors of the season, remember that there are many nutritional benefits of these foods.
Pumpkins, which are a type of squash, are used in breads, muffins and pies. Do not forget to include them in soups. They offer many health benefits. Pumpkins are a good source of vitamin A and potassium. Beta carotene (a form of vitamin A and an antioxidant) found in pumpkins can help improve the function of the immune system and decrease the risk of chronic disease, such as heart disease and cancer.
Sweet potatoes are a common item on the holiday table. They are high potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C. They are also high in carotenoids. Many people include these in casseroles, but you can roast them in the oven with other vegetables. You can have a sweet potato in place of a regular potato.
Cranberries can add color to your holiday table. Health benefits of cranberries include being high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Cranberries help prevent heart disease, cancer and urinary tract infections. Add cranberries to salads, muffins and breads to add color.
Apples provide potassium, fiber and flavonols. There are a variety of apples available in the local grocery store. Sprinkle a cored apple with cinnamon and raisins and bake until soft.
Winter squash, such as butternut and acorn, are high in vitamin C, vitamin A and fiber. These can be included in a variety casseroles and soups. Consider roasting them in the oven.
Nuts can add some additional flavor to your fall and holiday baking. They have many healthy benefits. Nuts are a good source of plant protein. Also, they provide fiber, vitamin E and selenium. Nuts are high in plant sterols, monounsaturated fat and omega 3 fats which have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol. Do not forget to add nuts to your salads.
Fall brings a change of season and these foods will bring a welcome change to your diet. So, when planning your fall and holiday meals, remember to include these colorful and nutritious foods.
Loretta Cordes is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a Master's of Science Degree in Human Sciences and Certified Diabetes Educator. Send questions or comments to email@example.com.