As the leaves continue to change colors and temperatures drop, your cravings for fall flavors likely spread way beyond Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Fortunately, the fall season ushers in a different crop of in-season fruits and veggies. The change in weather also signals a change in health for many people struggling to adjust to the pollen counts, warmer days and cooler nights, and the start of flu season. If you want to get a head start on taking care of your health before the winter months hit, these five immune-boosting foods for fall will help you get the vitamins and minerals you need naturally through the food you eat.
Incorporate the following in-season immune-boosting foods into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner routines this fall to reap major health benefits:
When you hear citrus, you may think of ice-cold lemonade or orange juice mimosas during outdoor brunch, but citrus is actually a food you should incorporate into your diet all year long. Eating citrus regularly can help you produce more white blood cells, which are crucial in fighting off colds, the flu, or just about any virus. When colder months hit, try squeezing half a lemon or orange into your favorite hot tea, or start your day with hot lemon water with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
I can’t wait until squash season hits and the grocery stores start selling fresh cubed butternut squash again (because seriously, they’re so annoying to cut yourself). Butternut squash is the perfect base for soups or winter salads, and it’s an excellent source of antioxidants. This type of squash is packed with vitamins A, B, and C and is high in magnesium, which means it’s excellent at supporting bone health. You really can’t go wrong with this powerhouse veggie that’s low in calories and high in nutrients.
You probably already know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but during the fall, you can actually pick this fruit yourself and turn it into the perfect Instagrammable activity to boot. Apples flourish in the fall and just one contains 10% of the total amount of vitamin C that you need in a day. Plus, you can have fun with it and bake it into your favorite desserts or muffins.
Whether you carve pumpkins for Halloween and save the seeds for a nutritious treat, add pumpkin to your soups, or roast it as a side dish, this orange gourd is loaded with immune-boosting ingredients. Pumpkins are high in beta-carotene, a provitamin that helps your body produce more vitamin A. When consumed, vitamin A has been proven to boost your immune system and help fight infections.
Sometimes if you grab Brussels sprouts during the summer, you’ll get a particular batch that tastes off. That’s because these veggies aren’t technically in season until the fall. Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them an immune-boosting superfood. They’re high in vitamin K specifically, which may help reduce your risk of inflammatory disease and some cancers.
The best thing about all of these foods is how versatile they are. They can be added to a fall salad, roasted in the oven for a quick dinner, or added to soups to make them heartier. However you choose to cook them, rest assured that you’ll be eating your daily value’s worth of vitamins and minerals from the comfort of your own home.
About the author
Brittany Leitner is an award winning poet and journalist who specializes in health, wellness, beauty, and travel writing. She previously held editorial positions as the senior lifestyle editor of Elite Daily and the managing editor of DoctorOz.com. She's currently based in Brooklyn, New York.