18 Nourishing Superfoods to Add to Your Fall Diet

As we shift from the heat of summer to the cooler temperatures of fall, our bodies require more warming foods to stay grounded. Fall is the season of building up the body, providing it with the nutrients it needs to prepare for the colder months ahead. With fall comes back-to-school activity and new routines, followed by a time when many come down with the flu. Our best defense is to feed our bodies wholesome, nourishing foods that help build up our vitality and immunity. Below are 18 seasonal superfoods to add to your fall diet.

1. Apples

Apples are a great source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber adds water and Insoluble fiber helps to bulk up your bowel movements. Add apples to your morning oatmeal, have them as a midday snack (they are great with almond butter) or treat yourself to a piece of apple crisp. [photo: Joanna Nix/Unsplash]

2. Beets

Beets have a unique mix of antioxidants (especially the red variety) that surpasses most other vegetables. They are particularly beneficial for eye health and nerve tissue health. Consume beets raw, baked, boiled, roasted or pickled. Make smoothies and hummus with raw beets, and salads and side dishes with cooked beets. [photo: Foodism360/Unsplash]

3. Burdock Root

Burdock root acts as a detoxifier, antioxidant, and alterative (an herb that gradually restores proper function to body systems, increasing health and vitality). It’s used to cleanse the skin and blood, eliminate accumulated toxins via the kidneys, and to improve liver function. For women, it can help clear skin disorders and alleviate both premenstrual and menopausal symptoms through gentle detoxification. [photo: Wiki Creative Commons]

4. Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash is a great source of vitamin A, which is essential for vision, the skeletal system, and the immune system. A fat-soluble vitamin, it’s best absorbed alongside a fat source. This wholesome food is delicious baked or as a soup using a coconut milk base. [photo: Gemma Evans/Unsplash]

5. Chaga

Chaga is a powerful adaptogen. It is considered to be one of the highest-scoring ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity) foods which are known for their ability to fight free-radicals. Chaga boosts the immune system by stimulating the production of immune cells and supports the adrenals and nervous systems. Enjoy chaga as a tea or decoction or in a lovely chaga chai. [photo: Elysabeth Malenfant/Unsplash]

6. Cilantro

Cilantro is high in vitamins A, K, folate, and potassium. This herb is highly alkaline and helps support detoxification. It helps to clear heavy metals from the body, lowers blood sugar levels and can help to prevent urinary tract infections. Add it to soups, stews, dips like guacamole, and green juices or smoothies. [photo: Lindsay Moe/Unsplash]

7. Elderberry

A traditional medicine used for centuries, elderberries are known to help support the body during a cold or flu by breaking up mucus and supplying antioxidants. Elderberry syrup is a wonderful medicine to take or make when you’re feeling congested and under the weather. [photo: Pixabay]

8. Ginger

Ginger is the mother of all herbs. This warming spice helps with an array of health-related issues from constipation to nausea to boosting immunity. Ginger root can calm irritation; ginger tea is often the perfect remedy to relieve dry coughs. Try slicing or grating fresh ginger and simmering for 20 mins or blend it in hot water and strain. Add lemon and a bit of raw honey for deeper soothing. [photo: Hilary Hahn/Unsplash]

9. Holy Basil

Otherwise known as Tulsi, Holy Basil is a delicious warming herb and adaptogen, which helps to enhance the body’s reaction to excessive physical or emotional stress. Holy basil helps to calm nerves, support adrenal recovery, balance blood sugar, and boost the immune system. Try drinking Tulsi tea daily in the cooler morning months or skip your afternoon coffee and replace it with tulsi tea for natural energy and increased vitality. [photo: Pixabay]

10. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a great source of vitamin K. Vitamin K2, in particular, is necessary for bone health as it helps to direct calcium into the bones. Pomegranate is a lovely addition to brighten up any fall salad. [photo: Nathalie Jolie/Unsplash]

11. Parsnips

Parsnips are rich in magnesium, a necessary nutrient to support bone health. Roast parsnips alongside other root vegetables for a delicious side dish. [photo: Pixabay]

12. Parsley

Parsley is another immune-boosting herb high in vitamin C and antioxidants. It improves digestion by stimulating the production of digestive juices and helps to relieve bloating through its diuretic action. Add it to almost any savory dish, soup or salad to enhance flavor. It’s also a refreshing addition to juices and smoothies. [photo: Pintando la Luz/Unsplash]

13. Persimmons

Persimmons are nutrient-dense and contain more fiber, antioxidants, and minerals than apples. Their antioxidant content alone fights against oxidative stress, supports heart and eye health and helps reduce inflammation. Filled with fiber, persimmons also support digestive health and help regulate blood glucose levels. Like apples (or any fruit) persimmon is great eaten alone or as a tasty addition to salads, cereals or smoothies. [photo: Jerry Wang/Unsplash]

14. Pumpkin Seeds

Unshelled pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper and contain five different types of vitamin E, which provide unique antioxidant support. Add pumpkin seeds to salads, cereal or muffins to boost the protein content or enjoy them alone. [photo: Pixabay]

15. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes come in different varieties, the most popular being the orange and purple flesh type. Both are nutrient-dense powerhouses. The orange sweet potato packs a whopping amount of antioxidant-rich beta-carotene and vitamin A, and their phytonutrient content makes them an anti-inflammatory. Sweet potatoes have high fiber content and the ability to increase adiponectin, which modifies insulin metabolism to help control blood glucose. [photo: Pixabay]

16. Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is high in iron, antioxidants, and calcium. It contains beta-carotene, vitamin E, C, and zinc. Its bitterness helps stimulate digestion, while its dietary fiber keeps things moving along and regular. Add this dark, leafy green to soups, stews or simply sauté as a side dish. [photo: Pixabay]

17. Sage

Sage boosts memory and brain function, helps support the immune system and is an anti-inflammatory. It also enhances digestion and can help clear the common cold. Add sage to savory dishes and roasted vegetables or brew it as a tea with raw honey to help clear flu symptoms. [photo: Pixabay]

18. Mint

Mint leaves improve digestion and boost brain function. The menthol component improves digestion by relaxing muscles in the digestive tract. Plus, inhaling the scent of mint leaves triggers brain function by enhancing memory and increasing alertness. Relax with a cup of steeped fresh mint leaf tea or pick up a mint essential oil to boost your brain health. [photo: Pixabay]

photo credit: Natalie Grainger