As the new season arrives, a change in temperature also signals a change in what to eat. It makes great health sense to eat with the seasons, as nature intended. However, some of our traditional summer foods can still be eaten, in slightly different ways, as some seasonal ones are introduced.
Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer gives some top tips on what we should be eating this autumn!
As the days get a little colder and darker we may naturally reach for traditionally filling foods such as macaroni cheese or other heavy pasta dishes. Unfortunately these are notoriously difficult for the digestive system to cope with and can leave you feeling bloated and lacking in energy.
Instead, choose foods that are packed with nutrients and loaded with antioxidants. Prevention is always better than cure and if you can keep your immune system in good shape now, hopefully you’ll dodge the autumn/winter bugs!
We tend to think of berries as being summer fruits. However, they’re always available and whilst we may eat them just as they are or with a little crème fraiche in the summer, they’re also great in warming recipes. Think warm blackberry coulis, apple and blackberry crumble, braised red cabbage with blackberries or raspberry muffins.
Whilst some of the vitamin C will be lost during cooking, these dark berry fruits are packed full of anthocyanins – powerful plant compounds that provide protective antioxidants to support the immune system as the nasty bug season starts!
HERBS AND SPICES
As the weather becomes a little chilly, the body craves more warming foods. Warming herbs and spices that are perfect for this time of year include black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, garlic, ginger and horseradish.
All are really easy to include in everyday dishes. Porridge is a great warming breakfast and works perfectly topped with some cinnamon. Not only will your body be warmed and ready for the day, the oats will keep you feeling fuller for longer and this effect is also enhanced due to the blood sugar balancing effect of the cinnamon.
Ginger is also versatile in many recipes, particularly stir fries and Thai dishes, and is just as effective used in a tea. It has thermogenic properties which can keep you warm and also speeds up the metabolism so you’ll burn more calories even whilst sitting at your desk!
And of course the traditional Sunday roast is perfect right now; roast beef with hot horseradish sauce is definitely an autumn favourite!
Many delicious vegetables come into season as we move into the autumn months. Pumpkins, of course, are very seasonal with the approach of Halloween. But don’t just use them as lanterns; pumpkins are packed with nutritional wonders! They contain high levels of beta-carotene which the body turns into vitamin A, which is essential for the immune system and also for night vision (perfect for the darker evenings!) Curried pumpkin soup is a real winner. You’ve got all the nutritional benefits of pumpkin but you can also include many warming spices such as ginger, chilli, cayenne and cumin.
Swede is great as a vegetable side dish mashed with black pepper or can equally be used in stews. Celeriac often gets forgotten about but makes a great vegetable side dish, and courgettes add colour and taste to any plate.
Why not roast a large tray of root vegetables for a warming supper dish; carrots, beetroot, artichokes, onions and parsnips all work well together and complement roasted cod with garlic perfectly!
So enjoy experimenting with more warming foods this autumn and embrace the seasonal produce!
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