9. September 2011 11:15
I love autumn… The air is getting colder, and you can see pale, dry leaves covering up the gardens and roads – autumn has set in and with it the whole atmosphere has turned a bit gloomy. However, autumn also offers a treat for your taste buds as a vast variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables fill up the stores. Moreover, a bit of food indulgence is just what you need to beat the autumn blues and pep up your spirits.
Treat yourself to the deep, dark colored vegetables and juicy fruits rich in nutrients and phytochemicals that will not only delight your senses but will also build your immunity and prepare you for the cold season.
Here’s a list of some of the best Autumn Comfort Foods –
- Apples – Apples contain flavonoids, which are one of the most powerful antioxidants available in food form. From lowering the risk of health diseases to preventing cancer, apples have many health benefits. There are two reasons why they are good choice, especially in the autumn season – first they have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties that will fight off the common infections and allergies that crop up in the autumn season; and secondly, they are excellent for your skin and can help your look and feel younger. Have them with your morning breakfast, or as a mid-day snack, and you can really keep the doctor away!
- Cranberries – Cranberries are delicious, juicy and absolutely healthy fruit widely available in the autumn season. They are low in calories and are packed with Anthocyanins, heart-healthy antioxidants. Cranberries also play an important role in treating gum diseases, mouth ad stomach ulcers, urinary tract infections and various forms of cancer. You can find fresh cranberries from September through December, but most of it is used for cranberry sauce and juices.
- Pumpkin – Pumpkins are surely another important autumn comfort food, for they are loaded with antioxidants, beta-carotene, Vitamin C and Folate. Even the seeds are packed with nutrition and are a rich source of Zinc and Omega 3 fatty acids. The air gets quite dry in autumn, which can affect your skin and make it look dull and chapped. Making pumpkin a part of your diet, can keep your skin moisturized, supple and free from infections. (Try adding canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to your vanilla smoothie!)
- Garlic – Garlic truly is nature’s own medicine. It contains Allicin, a chemical that is highly effective against viruses, fungi and bacteria. Internal consumption of garlic can reduce the LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and prevent cancer. As for the autumn blues, eating garlic can significantly improve your mood too.
- Ginger – Ginger has a lot of inherent heat, which is what makes it an ideal autumn comfort food. Whether you prefer ginger tea, or ginger pickle or just plain julienned ginger with honey, the benefits of this root are many. It can heal cough, cold and throat congestion, soothe your stomach and provide relief from digestive problems, fight nausea and even work wonders in driving away the allergies. As per recent researches, ginger works as a natural anti-inflammatory agent and is quite good for musculoskeletal ailments.
- Parsnips – Parsnip is a root vegetable that belong to the family of carrots. They are a rich source of Fibre, Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium. These are abundant in colder areas, and are mainly a winter vegetable. You can either eat them raw, for their sweet and delicate flavor or you can steam and cook them with different vegetables.
- Kale – Kale is a deep, green leafy vegetable mostly available in the autumn season. Kale works as an immunity booster (a must in autumn), clears lung congestion, wards off the allergies and infections. It is particularly beneficial for stomach and liver infections. Kale is rich in iron, beta carotene, calcium, potassium and Vitamin C, and is a must include in your list of autumn comfort foods. (I add diced kale to hummus wrap sandwiches.)
- Sweet potato – Apart from the fact that sweet potatoes are widely available in autumn and taste great, they are also a storehouse of health benefits. These yummy delights contain high amounts of beta-carotene (vitamin A) and Vitamin C, so you can easily ward off cold and other infections. Sweet potatoes are a great food choice for diabetics, as they are low glycemic food. The high amount of dietary fiber present in sweet potato promotes a healthy digestive tract and relieves constipation. For best flavor, eat these hot. (Sweet potatoes can be sliced thin and baked into chips!)
- Cinnamon – It’s one of the oldest known spices, and a perfect choice for autumn. Cinnamon is often used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines for treating cold, cough, nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, diabetes and many other physical ailments. It can soothe your senses and keep your body warm and comfortable in the cold season. Cinnamon is also believed to improve energy and vitality, and is especially useful for people who have warm upper bodies but cold feet. You can sprinkle cinnamon powder over salads and side-dishes, mix it with juices or drink it with tea. (Sprinkle on sliced apples!)
- Pepper – Another group of herbs, which are good for your taste buds as well as your health, are different forms of pepper. Adding pepper to your food can help you in various ways – it improves digestion, reduces flatulence, treats gastrointestinal disorders, kills bacteria and viruses, clears chest congestion, treats cough and cold, and so on. It is also a rich source of antioxidants. Whichever form of pepper you prefer – cayenne, black or white, they are all a wonderful and healthy addition to your recipes especially during autumn.
Autumn marks the beginning of the cold season, which is why a lot of people suffer from bouts of cold and cough and different types of allergies. Your skin will also feel extremely dry and lifeless, and will be more prone to bacterial and fungal infections.
Different autumn foods mentioned above are warming in nature, and work toward warding off the common infections and allergies associated with this season. These fruits, vegetables and spices will boost your immune system and keep you warm and comfortable, so you are prepared for the cold days.