The best autumnal antioxidants
Posted on October 11 2019
As the sun sets on summer, you might be disappointed to turn your back on BBQs and al-fresco dining. But there are perks to the cooling weather, particularly when it comes to fresh food. One of the biggest benefits of eating food in season is the antioxidant boost you can get with the right choices. Autumn produce is packed with them!
We all know that the best sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods. Autumn is full of plant-based goodness. Foods with rich, vibrant colours often contain the most antioxidants, so you’re in luck this season! Produce that’s been allowed to ripen naturally and has been picked at the right time is guaranteed to be packed with plenty of nutrition (not to mention the taste). So, let’s take a look at the best sources of antioxidants this season.
Butternut squash for a boost
Root vegetables are the star of the show when it comes to autumnal produce. Sweet from growing through the warm summer, butternut squash is the perfect addition to autumn dishes. Not to mention the health boost it offers up. The golden squash flesh is packed with nutrients like carotenoids and Vitamin C, perfect for warding off the first of the winter colds. It’s low in calories but loaded with immunity-boosting goodness, and is extra-versatile as it can be worked into both sweet and savoury dishes.
Since squash is delicious, filling and pretty cheap, it’s no surprise there’s so many recipes out there. You might be put off by the thick skin, but it’s worth the hassle! You can cut it into cubes and roast with olive oil, salt and pepper for a simple side dish, or throw it into stews and curries for a bit of extra depth. It’s also great blended into soup, for a warming way to boost your health as the nights draw in.
You probably eat apples all year round, so might be wondering, what’s so good about them now? When picked at the right time, apples are even tastier than usual. With literally thousands of varieties to choose from, you can find everything from tart to sweet, depending what you’re after. The crisp taste isn’t the only thing apples have got going for them, either! They’re rich in antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients, as well as being a great source of vitamin C. The flowering time of an apple depends on the variety, with the majority best picked in September and October. This makes them a great fruit to use in autumnal recipes (apple and blackberry crumble, anyone?) or just eaten alone as a snack.
Beetroot for the betalains!
Another versatile root vegetable is the beetroot. You’re probably familiar with the rich dark red of the common garden beetroot, but you can also find golden, white and even multicoloured beets. Sweet and earthy, they’re a pretty unique vegetable with a helping of health benefits, too. They get their vibrant colour from antioxidants called betalains, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. They’re also rich in vitamins A, B and C to boost your immune system, as well as packing a potassium punch. There are plenty of ways to work with beets, whether you opt for fresh, roasted, pickled or otherwise. Try a tart topped with beets and goats cheese, or opt for a vibrant squash and beetroot salad to make the most of autumn’s offerings.
What to remember
Autumn offers up an abundance of great food. It’s always best to think seasonal when doing your food shop, as it ensures you’re getting fresh ingredients when they’re at their absolute best. While we’ve only touched on a few fruits and vegetables, the autumn harvest brings a massive variety of nutrition and choice. There’s no better time to shop seasonally and make the most of what nature’s got on offer. Looks like the end of summer does have its perks, after all.