November offers a bounty of just-harvested fruits and vegetables to help further any health-focused diet or weight-loss goal. Before the days of winter’s minimal produce selection hit, search the market for these seasonal items while they’re fresh.
There are hundreds of varieties of cabbage in the world — with red, green and savoy being the most common. All cabbage is beneficial since it has high amounts of vitamin C, folate and potassium. With an abundance of fiber, it’s a good choice to keep the digestive system moving. Red or purple cabbage also has high levels of anthocyanins (thanks to that dark hue), a group of plant compounds called flavonoids which may have powerful antioxidant properties.
Slice raw cabbage thinly and use it to top tacos or as a crunchier base than soggy lettuce in salads. Cabbage is also a great filler for things like soups, stews and baked casseroles.
Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and manganese, as well as high in vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and pantothenic acid, more commonly known as vitamin B5, which is an essential nutrient. If raw cranberries are too tart for you, simmer them in water to pull out some of the astringency before a quick toss in a bit of maple syrup or honey.
Most people think of cranberries as a once-a-year side dish, loaded with sugar and served next to turkey at Thanksgiving. However, cranberries are versatile in the kitchen, and with so many health benefits they’re a good go-to with roasted chicken, baked into sprouted grain muffins or sprinkled over a warm porridge.
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Daikon is technically is a member of the cruciferous family, along with its more popular cousins, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Because it’s in the same family, it has many of the same benefits that can include cancer prevention, a stronger immune system, lowering inflammation and improved digestion. Its large leaves can be made into salads or stir-fries. However, it’s most known for the dense edible root, which is commonly pickled and eaten in Japan, China and other Asian countries.
Daikon is also used in soups, salads, curries and rice dishes. Crunchy when eaten raw and tender when cooked, there’s no reason not to use this vegetable in dishes, especially when it’s at its peak.
The recent popularity explosion of pomegranate juice should be no surprise to anyone who knows about its incredible health benefits. Loaded with vitamin C, pomegranates can help prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s, and their juice contains higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices.
Sprinkle the seeds over a side-salad or your morning oatmeal. Pour the juice into smoothies or drink it straight for a quick, refreshing shot of tangy nutrients. Or, just munch on the seeds when you need an afternoon snack that’s satisfyingly crunchy.
5. SWEET POTATOES
These toothsome tubers are actually part of the Morning Glory family and are different from yams, despite often being incorrectly labeled in grocery stores. While the Garnet variety of sweet potatoes is widely sought after for its sweet flavor and bright orange color, sweet potatoes are also available in white and purple. Their vitamin A levels are through the roof, in some cases providing as much as 90% of the daily needs, and they are also high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
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There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy these hearty root vegetables, from mashed with a tab of sweet cream butter to cut into sticks for baked fries. They’re even good cut into large wedges and grilled with a sprinkle of coarse salt — the ideal fall finger-food.