Pumpkins, Cranberries and Apples, Oh My!

Posted 11/20/2013 | By HealthCorps

Fall and winter chill is in the air, and that means that pumpkins, cranberries and a wide array of apples are in town.  The key to wellness is eating a variety of fruits that offer a range of vitamins, minerals and health benefits.  First up, is delicious pumpkin.

Halloween may be over, but the power of the pumpkin continues through the holiday season.  High in fiber and low in calories (1 cup of mashed pumpkin has 49 calories), pumpkins are a good source of vitamin A, carotenes, and vitamin C.  Use it in a variety of recipes including breads, ravioli, muffins, soups, stews.   Pumpkins can support eyesight, weight loss, and the seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that supports mood-boosting serotonin levels.

Cranberries add robust color and the bonus of vitamin C, and anti-oxidants, without busting the calorie bank.   These tart berries also contain proanthocynadin anti-oxidants, associated with supporting oral health, preventing UTIs and quelling inflammation.  Use them in muffins and breads, in fruit salad, in a tossed salad and as a topping on waffles and pancakes.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, thanks to its vitamin C and fiber, and during the fall and winter months there are so many varieties to choose from:

Honeycrisp is mild, sweet and perfect for baking.

Pink Lady is soft, juicy and perfect for juicing.

Granny  Smith is firm and perfect for stuffing;  it’s also well-suited for pairing with cheese.

Gala is sweet, crisp, juicy and delicious as applesauce.

Golden Delicious is sugary and soft, great for baked apple or as a topping on oatmeal.

Red Delicious is mild and firm and actually stores well for months.  It’s also perfect in salads.

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