September 1, 2018
You can get the most from fall produce by filling your canvas tote with a rainbow of foods. “Different-colored fruits and vegetables contain different types of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and vitamins A, C and E,” explains Lisa DeSantis, a registered dietitian at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “Each antioxidant has unique benefits, so eating a variety puts more health boosting power on your plate.”
Antioxidants are important because they may protect your body’s cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. These molecules occur naturally when the body breaks down food. Toxins in the environment, like cigarette smoke, also cause free radicals. At high concentrations, free radicals can be detrimental to the body and may contribute to the development of health conditions, including cancer. “Nutrients are at their peak when produce is just picked, so shopping at a local farmers market is a great way to get fruits and vegetables that are brimming with benefits,” DeSantis says. Here are some suggestions on what to look for in autumn:
- DARK GREEN leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Lutein, for example, helps protect your eyes and may prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. “Greens are an important source of health essentials, such as folate, iron, calcium and fiber,” DeSantis adds. Look for spinach, kale, broccoli and collard greens.
- ORANGE and YELLOW plants are packed with carotenoids, such as beta-carotene. In the body, beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, which promotes good vision, eye health and a strong immune system. “Carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash are vegetables you can find in the fall,” notes DeSantis.
- RED shades mean a fruit or veggie is a rich source of lycopene. These antioxidants may reduce your prostate cancer risk and protect your heart. Fill up on tomatoes and red peppers.
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. salt
Place tomatoes into a baking dish and toss with olive oil, oregano, garlic and salt. Roast at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkled.
Join us for our upcoming cooking class:
Harvesting Fall’s Flavors
October 17, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Join our registered dietitians and learn how to incorporate fall seasonal foods into your daily healthy menu. Cooking demos and samples will be provided!