5 Underrated Fruits and Vegetables to Try This Fall

By on November 30, 2016
5 Underrated Fruits and Vegetables to Try This Fall

By Allegra Gallian–

Autumn is officially here, and the changing of the seasons provides the perfect opportunity to try out new recipes. Chillier weather usually has us reaching for hearty comfort foods, but these meals aren’t necessarily the healthiest options.

Choosing fruit- and vegetable-heavy dishes ensures that you’re eating something that’s both delicious and healthy. This becomes even more important as you age. According to the National Council on Aging, as you get older, your metabolism slows down. This means you don’t need to eat as many calories, but you need more of certain nutrients. That’s why older adults need to include plenty of foods with good nutritional values in their daily meals.

If you’ve grown tired of cooking with your same go-to vegetables and fruits, try these underrated options that offer tons of health benefits and are sure to put some excitement back into your meal planning.

Beets

Beets are a naturally sweet vegetable and offer plenty of flavor. This food is an excellent source of folate and betaine, which work together to lower the risk of heart disease. The lovely color of beets is caused by natural pigments called betacyanins, which have been shown to fight cancer. Beets can be eaten raw, blended in a smoothie, pureed as a side dish or included as a salad topper.

Swiss Chard

Lately, all you seem to hear about are the health benefits of kale. It’s not the only leafy green that’s good for you, though. Swiss chard is beneficial for your eyes, as the plant chemicals, carotenoids, protect retinas from aging damage. Swiss chard is delicious when it’s cooked, and it pairs well with chicken, steak and fish.

Leeks

Leeks are similar to onions and garlic and are part of the allium vegetable family. This veggie is known for its cancer-fighting organosulfur compounds and its immune system boosting power. Some studies have shown that leeks may also help protect the digestive system from gastric and stomach cancers. Leeks can be enjoyed sautéed as a side dish or in a soup.

Pumpkin

This time of year, pumpkin spice everything is all the rage. But did you know that pumpkin is actually a very healthy vegetable? Roasted fresh or canned pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber. It’s also packed with vitamin A, which is important for a healthy immune system. Pumpkin is similar in texture to mashed sweet potatoes, and you can eat it mixed with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg as a tasty side dish.

Persimmon

Persimmons are reddish-brown or orange fruits packed full of vitamins A and C. They’re also a great source of fiber, which helps keep you fuller longer. Persimmons are low in calories, so you can enjoy them guilt free, and they provide you with antioxidants to keep your immune system and eyesight healthy. Be sure to choose the sweeter type of persimmon, which is a squat shape with a flat base and resembles and tomato. They can be eaten raw, or they make a sweet addition to a salad.

Guava

This tropical fruit is known as a super fruit for good reason. It contains just about 30 calories per serving, so it makes a great low-calorie snack. It’s packed with protein and fiber, which helps to keep you regular. Guava is a great source of vitamins C and A to give your immune system a boost. You’ll also get potassium, flavonoids and antioxidants from this fruit. Because it’s low on the glycemic index, guava is a good option if you have diabetes. This fruit can be eaten raw, made into jelly or blended into a smoothie.

Allegra Gallian is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in lifestyle, health, wellness and fitness. She lives in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. When she’s not writing, Allegra enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with friends and family.

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5 Underrated Fruits and Vegetables to Try This Fall