“Fruits and vegetables are protective to health as they’re helpful at reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. They’re also low in calories, which helps prevent obesity,” says Isabel Maples, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While the term “superfood” doesn’t have an exact definition, Maples says dietitians would say it means nutrient-packed—and lots of fall produce fits that description. You could also count these foods as functional, she says, meaning there’s science behind the fact that they’re better for your body, offering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. “In addition, if the food you eat is flavorful and satisfying, there is a good chance you will eat less and consume fewer calories, too,” she adds. And that’s the key to dropping pounds.
Check out this list of fall superfoods for weight loss so you know what to turn to when you want a satisfying dish featuring new flavors, with few calories and plenty of nutrients. And check out this list to find out the in-season fruits and veggies for every month of the year.
This fall fruit staple gets a good rep for a reason: it contains copious amounts of fiber, the nutrient that keeps you full and helps with healthy digestion. You also get antioxidants and a compound called quercetin that fights cancer cells, says Maples.
“For starters, pears are an excellent source of fiber; just one contains one-quarter of our daily fiber needs,” says Maples. Also, people who eat anthocyanin-rich foods, like pears, have a lower risk of developing diabetes, according to a Harvard study of nearly 200,000 men and women. Check the neck of a pear to pick a ripe one—you’ll know it’s good if it has just a little pressure, Maples says.
A good source of vitamin A and iron, sweet potatoes also fight inflammation that can lead to chronic disease. Maples says to eat the skin to maximize your fiber intake. Eat them (skin and all) after roasting and adding to a salad, grain bowl, or as a side. Try these 30 ways to get more fiber in your diet without even trying.