Delicious Fall Nutrition
I love Fall. The shorter days dictate more rest. The seasonal foods assure hardy comfort. The blustery weather encourages wool sweaters, book reading and craft projects. What’s not to love?!
One food that most symbolizes fall to me is the pumpkin. One of my goals this fall is to make (and eat) more pumpkin pie! It’s the easiest pie to make and practically a health food with pumpkin, milk and eggs. Pumpkin soup is another favorite in our house. Sometimes we go with sweet spices like cinnamon and ginger, other times we take a more Thai turn with coconut milk and lemongrass. No matter how you spice it, it’s always delicious and warming.
Pumpkins, and all squashes, are a rich source of a wide variety of nutrients and fiber, most notably beta carotene and alpha carotene, the precursors to Vitamin A. Vitamin A has been called the anti-infection vitamin because of its role helping the body fight bacterial, parasitic and viral infections. Sounds like a vitamin you want on your team this fall!
In your share this week you will find a monstrous root that looks like a giant turnip. Meet Rutabaga! Rutabagas are also incredibly high in nutrients and fiber, most notably Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a critical micronutrient. It contributes to your immune defense system by supporting multiple cellular functions of your body’s adaptive immune systems. Being an antioxidant, it can also fight free radicals in the body, thereby decreasing inflammation and boosting immunity. Most people think of citrus for Vitamin C, but actually turnips and rutabaga (both leaves and roots) have more Vitamin C per weight than an orange.
Rutabagas are a delicious addition to soups, roasts and mashes. One of my favorites is to do half potatoes and half rutabagas in mashed or scalloped potatoes. You get the added health benefit of the rutabagas but the flavor is mellowed out by the potatoes. You can also eat rutabagas raw. Our office manager, Rachel, loves them grated raw on salads or sliced into sticks to eat with hummus.
It’s no accident that all these hearty fall veggies are so rich in the nutrients we need to keep our immune systems healthy. Nature has a way of putting just what we need in our path when we need it: darker days so we remember to sleep more, cold weather so we instinctively reach for cozy sweaters, and these amazing squashes and roots to keep our bodies healthy. This Fall remember to eat pumpkin pie and scalloped rutabagas for your health, and because they taste delicious!