The surroundings is getting colder, and you are able to see pale, dry leaves covering up the gardens and roads – autumn has come and with it the whole atmosphere has turned a little depressing. On the other hand, autumn also offers a treat for your taste buds as a huge selection of seasonal vegetables and fruits fill up the stores. What's more, a little bit of food indulgence is just what you need to beat the autumn doldrums and pep up your spirits.
Treat yourself to the deep, dark colored juicy fruits and vegetables rich in nutrients and phytochemicals that will not just delight your senses but will also build your health and prepare you for winter.
Here's a list of some of the best Autumn Comfort Foods –
* Apples – Apples contain flavonoids, which are probably the most powerful antioxidants available in food form. From reducing the risk of health diseases to preventing cancer, apples have many health benefits. There are two reasons why they're great choice, specially in the autumn season – first they have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties that will fight off the common allergies and infections that crop up in the autumn season; and secondly, they are excellent for your skin and can help your feel and look younger. Have them with your breakfast, or as a mid-day snack, and you can actually keep the doctor away!
* Cranberries – Cranberries are delicious, juicy and absolutely healthy fruit widely available in the autumn season. They're low in calories and are packed with Anthocyanins, heart-healthy antioxidants. Cranberries also play an essential role in treating gum diseases, mouth ad stomach ulcers, urinary tract infections and many forms of cancer. You can find fresh cranberries from September to December, but most of it's used for cranberry juices and sauce.
* Pumpkin – Pumpkins are surely another important autumn comfort food, for they're loaded with beta-carotene, antioxidants, Folate and Vitamin C. Even the seeds are loaded with nutrition and are a rich source of Zinc and Omega 3 fatty acids. The air gets quite dry in autumn, which can affect your skin and make it look chapped and dull. Making pumpkin a part of your diet, can keep your skin supple, moisturized and infection free.
* Garlic – Garlic definitely is nature's own medicine. It contains Allicin, a chemical that is highly effective against fungi, viruses and bacteria. Internal consumption of garlic can reduce the LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and prevent cancer. As for the autumn blues, consuming garlic can drastically improve your mood too.
* Ginger – Ginger has a lot of inherent heat, which is what helps it be a perfect autumn comfort food. Whether you prefer ginger tea, or ginger pickle or just plain julienned ginger with honey, the advantages of this root are many. It can heal cough, cold and throat congestion, provide relief from digestive problems and soothe your stomach, fight nausea and even work miracles in driving away the allergies. As per recent researches, ginger works as an organic anti-inflammatory agent and is quite great for musculoskeletal ailments.
* Parsnips – Parsnip is a root vegetable that belongs to the family of carrots. They are a rich source of Vitamin C, Fiber, Calcium and Iron. These are abundant in colder areas, and are primarily a winter vegetable. You can either eat them raw, for their sweet and delicate flavor or you can steam and cook them with different vegetables.
* Kale – Kale is a deep, green leafy vegetable often available in the autumn season. Kale functions as an immunity enhancer (a must in autumn), clears lung congestion, wards off the infections and allergies. It is particularly beneficial for liver and stomach infections. Kale is full of iron, beta carotene, calcium, Vitamin C and potassium, and is a must include in your list of autumn comfort foods.
* Sweet potato – Apart from the fact that sweet potatoes are commonly available in autumn and taste great, they are also a storehouse of health benefits. These mouth watering delights have high amounts of Vitamin C and beta-carotene (vitamin A), so you can very easily ward off cold and other infections. Sweet potatoes are an excellent food choice for diabetics, as they are low glycemic food. The high amount of dietary fiber present in sweet potato relieves constipation and promotes a healthy digestive tract. For better flavor, eat these hot.
* Cinnamon – It is one of the most ancient known spices, and a perfect choice for autumn. Cinnamon is usually used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines for treating cold, cough, flatulence, nausea, diabetes, diarrhea and numerous other physical illnesses. It can soothe your senses and keep your body warm and comfortable in the autumn. Cinnamon is also believed to improve energy and vitality, and is especially useful for people who have warm upper bodies but cold feet. You can sprinkle cinnamon powder over side-dishes and salads, drink it with tea or mix it with juices.
* Pepper – One more group of herbs, which are good for your taste buds as well as your health, are various forms of pepper. Including pepper to your food can help you in many ways – it reduces flatulence, improves digestion, deals with gastrointestinal disorders, kills viruses and bacteria, clears chest congestion, treats cough and cold, and so on. It's also a rich source of antioxidants. Whichever form of pepper you prefer – cayenne, black or white, they're all a great and healthy addition to your recipes specially during autumn.
Autumn signifies the beginning of the cold season, which is why a lot of people suffer from bouts of cough and cold and various types of allergies. Your skin will also feel extremely dry and lifeless, and will be more prone to fungal infections and bacterial.
Different autumn foods stated earlier are warming in nature, and work toward warding off the allergies and common infections associated with this season. These fruits, spices and vegetables will enhance your immune system and keep you comfortable and warm, so you are prepared for the cold days.