Fall is a great time to take a trip to your local farmer’s market to see what fruits and vegetables are grown in your community. While many of these foods are available year round at your grocery store, there are sound advantages to buying freshly-harvested produce from your local farmer.
Not only does fresh farm food often taste better, but it's generally more vivid in color, which translates to being richer in vitamins. And eating fresh produce that is in season might lead you to try something new that you would not buy at the grocery store.
Below are four popular foods you will see if you peruse your local farmers market this fall weekend and the health benefits they each offer:
Pumpkin: Pumpkins are not just for decorating. Besides being aromatic and flavorful, pumpkin is low in calories and extremely high in antioxidants and fiber. Fresh pumpkins are easily found during the fall and one serving is only 20 calories. They also contain 100 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin A and are a good source of vitamin C. The consistency of pumpkin makes it very versatile and can be used when baking or as a thickener in puddings or soups to reduce calories without sacrificing taste.
Apples: Apples have long been used as a symbol of health. They're high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber. At only 100 calories for a medium apple, they're a good and convenient on-the-go snack. Apples also contain phytonutrients that may help regulate blood sugar and improve cardiovascular health. Farmer’s markets are a great place to find varieties of apples not usually sold in the grocery store.
Yams (sweet potatoes): Yams are a healthier choice than their potato counterparts. One medium yam contains almost 7 grams of fiber compared to about 3 grams for a medium baked potato. This extra fiber results in a slower time for the yam to pass through the digestive tract, allowing you to feel full for longer. In addition, yams are rich in vitamin A, C, and E, which are all important antioxidants linked to preventing numerous diseases.
Brussel Sprouts: Brussels sprouts are actually quite tasty and full of important vitamins and minerals. They are part of the cabbage family and are another food that's very high in fiber (4 grams per 1 cup) and a good source of vitamins A, C and E. In addition, Brussels sprouts are extremely high in vitamin K, a vitamin that is well-known for its role in helping the body’s blood clotting capability and associated with strong bone health.