Autumn Vegetables And Their Benefits

Fall vegetables (Photo: sarsmis/Shutterstock)

Many vegetables that come into season in the fall are often underused and, sometimes, forgotten about altogether. This is unfortunate, because these late season crops are packed with vitamins and nutrients that maintain good health and help with the prevention of disease. Read on to find out about these autumn harvest gems and their benefits.


Vegetables that are deep green colour are rich in antioxidants, molecules that inhibit the oxidization of other molecules. This lack of oxidization prevents your body’s cells from producing free radicals, which results in the damage or death of cells, leading to cancer or other diseases. So, the intake of antioxidant rich foods, like broccoli, zucchini, spinach and Brussels sprouts, can aid in protecting you against disease.

Cholesterol Reduction

The skin of vegetables contains fiber, which is necessary for proper digestion. The consumption of fiber helps to flush out toxins and other damaging molecules from the body. The fiber that all vegetables with skin, such as pumpkin, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower, contain can help to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, the bad kind that clogs your arteries, leading to heart attack and stroke.

Inflammation Reduction

Autumn vegetables are also rich in anti-inflammatory phyto nutrients. These nutrients have been shown to lessen the impact of allergy provoking substances in the body, which decrease swelling and inflammation. These vegetables include primarily include broccoli and cauliflower.

Weight Loss

Vegetables that are rich in water, such as endive, zucchini, pumpkin and other squash have shown to aid in losing weight. The extra water consumed by eating these vegetables helps to digest food more easily, and the fiber they contain also allows the body to flush out toxins that would otherwise cause damage to your cells.

Here are some super simple recipes to help get these awesome autumn vegetables into your diet.

Easy Garlic Broccoli

1 head broccoli
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Sea salt and fresh black pepper (to taste)

Trim the tough skin off of the broccoli stem and slice into “trees”. In a large saucepan, mix the water, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add broccoli and cover to steam. After 3 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the broccoli to sit for another couple of minutes. Toss to coat and serve.

Mashed Cauliflower

1 large head of cauliflower
5 garlic cloves
1/3 cup fresh herbs (chives, basil or whichever is your favourite)
Sea salt (to taste)

Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized chunks. Peel garlic, and cut cloves in half lengthwise. Steam the cauliflower and garlic in a pot for 15 minutes, or until they are tender enough to pierce through with a fork. Combine the cauliflower, garlic, herbs and salt, and put them into a food processor or strong blender. Blend to the consistency of mashed potatoes. You can make them smooth or chunky. Alternately, you can mash the cauliflower with a potato masher.

Oven-Roasted Pumpkin

1 small pumpkin, or ¼ large pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt
Ground clove
Ground nutmeg
Ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 400F. Using a large metal spoon, scoop out seeds and insides of the pumpkin. You can save the seeds for roasting later (which also contain many benefits). Cut pumpkin into 1 inch slices. Place the pumpkin slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and coat both sides of the slices. Season with salt, spices and brown sugar. Roast for 20-25 minutes.

Simple Grilled Zucchini

1 large zucchini
¼ cup Italian-style salad dressing

Slice the zucchini into ¼ inch slices, then toss with salad dressing. Lay flat onto a hot grill or frying pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, flipping once, until the zucchini is slightly limp.

By: Melissa Venditti

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