Eating food at the time of year nature intended is always best. It makes sense that nature provides us with what the body needs at the right time of year, which includes fruits and vegetables.
As seasons change, so do the body’s requirements for different foods. And what nature provides in October helps support our nutrition and overall health.
Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares her three top fruits and vegetables this month.
A member of the cabbage family, it is often referred to as collard or curly kale and is also home-grown in the UK. Importantly, kale contains some of the amazing compounds found in broccoli and Brussels sprouts that may block the action of certain harmful carcinogens.
Kale contains a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals including immune-boosting vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, and iron, and is one of the richest sources of calcium of all vegetables. It also contains compounds known as indoles which help liver detoxification, so it’s a great vegetable to be eating as we approach the festive season.
Kale needs to be cooked well (but not overcooked) otherwise it may be tough. It can be steamed, simmered or sauteed and stock can be added for some extra flavour. However, it works really well with strong flavours such as smoked haddock, in a stir fry with garlic, ginger and chilli or in a Caldo Verde soup (a traditional Portuguese recipe), with chorizo, onions, potatoes and garlic.
Proof that nature intended us to eat swedes at this time of year when the body is looking for additional warmth, is that they’re especially hardy and survive harsh frosts.
A member of the healthy cruciferous family of vegetables, swede also contains highly protective indoles which are especially great for balancing oestrogen. As such, they may well be helpful for women going through menopause.
Often confused with the root vegetable turnip, swede makes an equally tasty vegetable side, mashed with butter and pepper, or added to stews or soups for additional delicious flavour.
Swedes work really well mashed with other root vegetables, especially carrots. They are also great cubed, roasted and sprinkled with cumin, or with leek and potato in a cheese gratin.
With over 2,000 varieties of plums to choose from, there’ll never be a shortage of colours available ranging from light green to yellow to dark red.
The beautiful colours of plums are responsible for delivering an amazing array of antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, which are protective of the aging process. Additionally, plums contain one of our key fat-soluble antioxidants, vitamin E, which is great for the skin and heart. Unusually though, for a fruit, plums also contain tryptophan, an amino acid which helps produces serotonin, our happy hormone.
When plums are dried, they are known as prunes, and contain a higher content of fibre, hence they have been used traditionally for many years to treat constipation. Equally, prunes work really well in many meat and game dishes, and are often used in traditional French recipes.
Whilst plums can be eaten raw, with the skin peeled, they work well in sweet or savoury dishes. They can be simply stewed with a little sweetening agent and used on cereals or porridge or used in a simple crumble with cinnamon. They are equally delicious in a braised pork dish with apples, potatoes, garlic and thyme. There are endless possibilities and a myriad of health benefits to eating plums right now.
So, enjoy seasonal eating this October and reap the many health and nutritional benefits.
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