November 03, 2020
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” — Hippocrates
Autumn ushers in crisp air, beautiful fall foliage, all things pumpkin spice, and—best of all—a new bounty of tasty fruits and veggies that are finally ready for the pickin'. There's something so magical about fall gardening; from planting fragrant herbs to fresh vegetables, you can make the most of the season while also boosting your immune system.
Even if you don't have space for a garden in your home, you can still savor the flavors of fall and improve your nutrition by buying autumnal produce from your local farmers market or grocery store. The next time you're out shopping for your produce, add these delectable fall vegetables and fruits to your cart.
At the top of our list is the queen of fiber and protein: broccoli. This veggie typically grows in California's Central Coast, Central Valley, and southern desert valleys. The small, tree-like vegetable contains iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium—not to mention vitamins A, C, E, K, and B.
To ensure you don't lose the nutrients, it's best to eat broccoli raw or steamed. Steaming merely 100 grams of broccoli will provide you with your daily vitamin K intake. So, you really can't go wrong with broccoli (especially when you top it with a drizzle of tahini).
Broccoli's white, flowery partner-in-crime is full of nutrients, making it an awesome addition to your diet. From vitamins C and K to folate and pantothenic acid, cauliflower is an immunity booster; it's also a great source of potassium and magnesium. Cauliflower is high in fiber, too—there are about three grams of fiber in one cup of cauliflower. The high level of antioxidants helps protect your cells from harmful radicals, chronic disease, and inflammation as well.
This fall vegetable is usually cultivated in the state's central and south coasts, San Joaquin Valley, and the southern desert valleys. Grab a couple of cauliflower heads to use as a substitute for traditional white rice. To make cauliflower rice, simply set your food processor on high for a few seconds, season to your liking, and serve with your main dish.
If Popeye the Sailor didn’t reinforce how necessary spinach is, then we don’t know what will. Spinach is a superfood loaded with calcium, magnesium, and iron—it's no wonder the tasty, leafy green made its way into our daily dishes and smoothies. Spinach also has considerable amounts of potassium (which helps regulate blood pressure) as well as high levels of vitamin A and C (which are excellent for skin health and immune function).
The best part about spinach? It's an excellent addition to any dish—whether it's served with chicken and fish or used in salads, pizzas, or pastas. Thanks to farms in the southern desert valleys, the southern and central coast, and the San Joaquin Valley, you can find California-grown spinach right now.
Derived from the allium (onion) family, garlic has plenty of medicinal properties. The fall vegetable is high in nutrients—such as manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and selenium—and is a great source of fiber. But the benefits don't stop there. Garlic also has considerable amounts of copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin B1. With these seemingly endless benefits, how can you say no to garlic?
Luckily, there's no shortage of garlic in the Golden State. California is responsible for over 90 percent of the country’s commercial garlic growth, most of which occurs in Gilroy, "The Garlic Capital of the World." To get the most out of its health benefits, garlic should be chopped, crushed, or consumed raw; many of its benefits are caused by sulfur oozing out when it's sliced open. Whether you're craving garlic bread, creamy pasta, baked chicken, or zucchini-herb fritters, get the creative juices flowing and find a way to incorporate garlic into your next meal.
Fall's Seasonal Fruits
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is a famous phrase, but did you know there is a bit of truth in it? Apples have sufficient amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium—not to mention manganese, copper, and vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6. Apples are also high in fiber and are full of water; these two characteristics are very beneficial for weight loss. These magical fruits help prevent heart disease and aid in lowering the risk of diabetes, too. (Talk about reaping all the benefits with just one bite.)
So, apples are one of the most popular fruits in California for good reason. Many apple orchards are found throught the state, from Mendocino and Sonoma to the Central Valley and the Central Coast. To make the most of the season, take the family on an apple-picking adventure in California and use your bounty to create savory dishes and easy fall desserts at home.
Pomegranates are possibly one of the healthiest foods available in the fall. Packed with high levels of nutrients and antioxidants, the fruit protects your body from free radicals, prevents atherosclerosis and arthritis, and fights heart disease and prostate cancer. Pomegranates are also a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K and are rich in folate and potassium. There's even evidence that pomegranates improve memory and brain function—this delicious fruit can really do it all.
In California, most pomegranates are grown in the San Joaquin Valley. Due to demand, pomegranate production has increased five times in the last 10 years; given the health benefits of this fruit, it's easy to understand why. Although it's best to consume pomegranate with the white flesh, you'll still reap the benefits when eating the seeds in salads, couscous, roasted vegetables, and pork dishes.
Figs pack plenty of nutritional benefits; the fruit helps improve vascular and heart health, maintains blood sugar levels, and aids in digestion. Figs are rich in protein, fiber, copper, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin K as well. The wondrous fig even promotes healthy and glowing skin.
With their unique teardrop shape and mildly sweet taste, figs are the perfect snack and make for a delectable addition to main dishes. From salad and pizza toppings to pies and jams, figs can be incorporated into a variety of foods. Figs are primarily grown in Fresno, Madera, and Kern Counties.
This tropical citrus fruit definitely belongs on your grocery list. Grapefruits are immune-boosting fall season fruits loaded with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, thiamine, folate, and magnesium. The magical fruit also helps prevent insulin resistance (a severe condition that can lead to diabetes), improves heart health, and controls high blood pressure.
Grapefruit grows best in SoCa; it's produced mostly in Ventura County. This sweet yet tart, bitter fruit is delicious on its own or in dishes. Whip up a quick salad with grapefruits, spinach, and avocado for a healthy and filling meal using the bounty of California.
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