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Christian Health: Autumn harvest of vegetables and fruits

The autumn harvest offers an assortment of brilliantly colored vegetables and fruits packed with the nutrients our bodies need. This is a great season to savor more brightly colored produce that provides nutrients including vitamins A, C and K, folate, magnesium, potassium and dietary fiber for good health.

Each of these, like all nutrients, has specific functions in the body promoting good health. They also contain phytonutrients which are food components in plant based foods that have many proposed health benefits. Intake of fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of many chronic diseases.

Could it be that when God created vegetables and fruits that He designed them to contain nutrients our bodies need? I think so!

Get creative with some new ways to add different colors of these seasonal gems to provide your body with a wide variety of nutrients and phytonutrients.

// Vegetable ideas

• Winter squash is enjoyed in autumn and throughout winter. Choose firm squash without blemishes or soft spots that are heavy for their size.

Butternut squash is one variety with gorgeous orange flesh and a mild, sweet flavor. Serve as butternut squash soup or drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake it. It can also be diced raw and added to soups or stews, or it can be roasted.

• Ruby red beets are a sweet tasting vegetable with two edible parts, the root and the green leaves. The root can be steamed, roasted, boiled, grilled or sautéed, and can be served as a hot side-dish or chilled as a salad. The beet greens are often boiled or sautéed.

• Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family. Select bright green, firm tight heads. They have a sweet, nutty flavor and are delicious when roasted with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar.

• Sweet potatoes have a natural sweet flavor and their vibrant orange color brightens any plate. Plain baked sweet potatoes are delicious, but they can also be served mashed, made into a soup or cut into sticks, seasoned lightly and baked to make sweet potato fries.

• Large vegetables like parsnips, beets, rutabagas, turnips and sweet potatoes can be cut into uniform size pieces for even cooking. Combine a favorite herb like rosemary or thyme with olive oil in a bowl and toss vegetable pieces into the mixture to lightly coat. Roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

// Fruit ideas

• Apples range in variety from sweet to tart. They are delicious raw but can be baked or made into a delicious applesauce, sprinkled with cinnamon and chopped walnuts.

• Pears are available in a stunning variety of colors ranging from yellow to green to shades of red. They can be enjoyed as a snack, poached or baked for a great dessert or added to fruit salad.

• Clementines are petite citrus and are usually seedless and easy to peel. They make a great snack for children because they are easy to eat. The segments can be added to a green salad for a festive touch.

• Pomegranates take a little time to eat but they are so worth the effort! Choose pomegranates with unblemished, deep red skin that are heavy for their size.

Author: Becky Varner

View more articles by Becky Varner.

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