Autumn is here, and that means a new crop of seasonal nutrient-dense fruit and vegetable “superfoods” will soon be harvested. These foods increase overall wellness and nutrition, and help support a healthy lifestyle.
“Superfoods are brimming with nutrients and antioxidants,” says Kari Kooi, a registered dietician at Houston Methodist Hospital. “The benefits of adding them into your everyday meals are numerous. A nutritious diet can really have a positive impact on both your physical and mental health.”
Kooi recommends incorporating the following four superfoods daily:
• Pumpkins earn superfood status because they are rich in beta-carotene — which turns into vitamin A, also known as the vision vitamin. They are versatile and can be added into just about anything. If you like pumpkin pie, stir a little pumpkin puree into your oatmeal and add some pumpkin pie spice for a healthier alternative.
• Pumpkin seeds are a superfood all on their own. They have heart-healthy fat, protein and fiber. They also have a lot of minerals, including magnesium, which aids in bone health; and iron, which helps deliver oxygen to our cells. Try roasted pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack. See how to roast, below.
• Pomegranates have been celebrated for centuries for a reason — they are extremely rich in antioxidants. However, many people don’t buy them because they don’t know how to eat them. Get around this tricky fruit by simply cutting it in half and submerging it in water. Allow the pith to float to the top and the arils to pop out and enjoy.
• Kiwis have a “tutti fruity” taste, with flavors reminiscent of different fruits like strawberries, melons, pineapples, bananas and citrus. They also have a lot of fiber and Vitamin C, which makes them a great superfood. To enjoy a kiwi on-the-go, try cutting it in half and scooping the flesh out with a spoon.
Source: Houston Methodist Hospital
How to roast pumpkin seeds
- Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings.
- Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer, and lightly spray with oil.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake at 325 degrees until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
- Let cool and store in an air-tight container.