Eating seasonally is not only good for you as you get to incorporate fresh and exciting new flavors into your diet, but it’s also good for the environment (and your wallet). See why you should start eating with the seasons and which fruits and vegetables to start including in your meals this autumn.

Why you should eat in season

Flavor

Produce that has been allowed to ripen in the sun is more flavorful. Since there is no need to grow seasonal produce in an artificial greenhouse environment, or pick early to allow ripening during transport, the naturally grown and ripened food will have more flavor.

Nutrition

Plants get nutrients from the soil. By eating produce closest to the time it is picked, you are ensuring that it is at its peak regarding nutritional content.

Economy

Since it is in season, the produce is more plentiful. The nature of supply and demand will dictate the prices be lower.

Community

Eating in season can easily mean eating locally. Farmer’s markets are a great place to support local growers and get the freshest foods.

Autumnal fruits and vegetables to eat now

Butternut squash

These are in season, throughout the US, from October through the winter. Butternut squash is high in fiber and low in calorie. It has more vitamin A than pumpkin and is rich in B-complex vitamins that include niacin, folate, B-6, thiamine, and riboflavin. In addition to the flesh, the seeds can be roasted, and are a good source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid for brain health.

Parsnips

This root vegetable has a mild peppery flavor that becomes sweeter when roasted. Parsnips are available, in season throughout the late fall and winter. Though they contain more natural sugar than carrots, they have nearly twice the fiber. Parsnips have been found to contain anti-inflammatory properties and are an excellent source of vitamin C.

Apples

Many varieties of apples are in season across the US beginning in late summer throughout the fall. Apples are great for cooking or eating raw as a snack. They are rich in fiber and high in nutrients while, generally, low in calories. Apples are known to be very high in antioxidants and flavonoids. Apples carry moderate amounts of essential minerals.

Brussel sprouts

These leafy green mini-cabbages are some of the tastiest and nutrient packed fall vegetables available. They are a rich source of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are often considered a “superfood” due to the high nutritional value. They are seasonally fresh throughout the fall and winter.

Sweet potatoes

These fiber-packed potatoes are sweet and tasty in many dishes. They are in season and widely available throughout autumn and winter. High in flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, these starchy root vegetables can be prepared in savory or sweet dishes.

Cauliflower

Closely related to cabbage and brussel sprouts, this pungent white vegetable, is no less nutritious. It contains numerous phytonutrients, and unique compounds called indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane that may combat diabetes, and offer protection from cancer.

Sources:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4807/10-Reasons-to-Eat-Whats-In-Season.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284479.php

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-parsnip-3973.html

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/15-health-benefits-of-eating-apples/

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/brussel-sprouts.html

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/5-winter-superfoods-sweet-potatoes-nutrient-profile

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cauliflower.html