I am always excited by the arrival of a new season because it brings about a new selection of fresh produce. To help you make the most of what’s on offer during autumn, here are seven of the healthiest fruits and vegetables to eat this season:
Turmeric may have been in the spotlight for some time, but another spice to add to your spice rack is Saffron. Saffron not only colours food a vibrant golden colour but also may offer many benefits to health including anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, more recently saffron has been studied for its role in supporting a healthy mood. Saffron has a subtle flavour and goes well in in both sweet and savoury cooking. It is also a great addition to autumn soups, casseroles and slow cooked dishes.
Those who have tried fresh figs can understand they are definitely a fruit to include in your diet when in season. Taste aside, fresh figs offer a powerhouse of nutrition including potassium, calcium, magnesium iron and copper and not to mention a great source of fibre. Figs can be eaten as is or baked and served on top of a warm bowl of oats.
Ginger is always a healthy addition to the diet, but especially so when we approach the cooler months. This is because ginger is a very warming herb and is known to stimulate blood flow. Ginger also possesses natural antibacterial properties, so a great food to help ward off sickness. Use ginger in stir-fries, curries and tea!
Rosemary is a great way to flavour food whilst also offering benefits to health. Specifically, rosemary is rich in antioxidants, which are supportive to immune health. In addition, marinating meat in rosemary prior to cooking (especially barbecuing) has been shown to up break down potential cancer causing compounds.
Leeks are a great way to get more prebiotics in your diet. Prebiotics are carbohydrate-containing foods known to resist digestion in the small intestine. This allows them to reach the colon where they are fermented by gut flora. This means prebiotics are beneficial to help establish a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Leeks can be used in stews or slow-cooked dishes, omelettes or simply roasted on their own.
Papaya may sound like a summery fruit but in fact is a good fruit to enjoy as the temperature drops. Papaya contains the natural enzyme papain, which helps to digest proteins and may help to alleviate symptoms of allergies and hay fever. Papaya is also a rich source of antioxidants, which may benefit immune health. Papaya is nice served on top of porridge, as a snack or used as a salsa with fish.
Mushrooms are a great source of fibre, antioxidants including selenium, vitamin C and B-vitamins. This means mushrooms are a very nutrient dense addition to the diet and not to mention, incredibly versatile. Mushrooms can be sautéed and served on toast, roasted and added to warm salads or used in sauces such as bolognese.
Words by Zoe Bingley Pullin
Zoe is a popular nutritionist and chef who studied at the infamous Le Cordon Bleu school in London and worked through the south of France. Zoe is the creator of her popular Falling In Love With Food online programs and her self published book Falling In Love With Food. She is the host of the new channel 7 house of wellness and was the host of channel 10’s Good Chef Bad Chef as well as the resident chef on Channel 10’s studio 10.