Apples, pumpkins, pears, cranberries, acorn squash, leeks, and brussels sprouts are just a few of the foods that reach their peak in the fall. And one thing they all have in common is their heart-health benefits. Pumpkin is high in potassium, fiber, and antioxidants which are all good for your heart. Apples and pears are linked to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
If you are looking for ways to incorporate a few of autumn’s most abundant foods into your diet, we have some heart-smart ideas for you to try.
Tasty Heart-Smart Foods to Enjoy This Fall
Autumn harvest foods that are full of healthy perks can be easy to work into your menus. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Pumpkin: One of falls signature fruits—yes, it’s really a fruit—is not only good for your heart, but it’s also linked to a reduced risk of breast, stomach, lung, prostate, and colon cancers. Roasting and snacking on pumpkin seeds is one idea. Making your own pumpkin puree and adding it to pancakes and oatmeal are other options.
- Apples: This classic fall fruit also boasts oodles of heart-health benefits. Apples are rich in fiber, polyphenols, and vitamin C. There are lots of ways to incorporate apples into your meals too. Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwiches makes for a delicious lunch or dinner. Spiced Apple Oatmeal is a great dish to start the day, especially if you add a few dried cranberries to it as well.
- Squash: From butternut style to acorn, squash is a good source of potassium, magnesium, and manganese. It’s also high in vitamins A, C, and B. You can simply roast different squashes in the oven or sauté them as a side dish. These 3 Squash Recipes To Suit Any Taste are good ideas to try.
- Leeks: This flavorful fall vegetable is a nutritious alternative to onions. High in flavonoids, it offers protection against heart disease. You can add leeks to your favorite soup or pasta or put them on pizza. Another way to try them is in Potato Leek Quiche. However, because of the sandy soil they are grown in, they can be a little tricky to clean. Check out these tips as part of your prep!
- Pears: This powerhouse fruit is often overlooked despite being filled with inflammation fighting elements. It’s also high in electrolytes, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. If you are looking for ways to use it besides just eating it raw, you’ll find it’s good cold and baked. Slice it up and add it to salads or oatmeal. Pear and Blue Cheese Crostini is a quick and delicious appetizer all year around. Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Pears & Blue Cheese is another scrumptious dish that combines several fall flavors. Pear White Sangria might be a tasty drink to serve at fall tailgate parties.
- Brussels Sprouts: When it comes to cruciferous vegetables, this is one that sometimes gets a bad rap. In addition to being a delicious side dish, it also helps prevent health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. If you haven’t tried preparing brussels sprouts before, 40 Healthy Ways to Cook Brussels Sprouts has good ideas for getting started.