November is naturally synonymous with harvest season, given Thanksgiving is a harvest celebration. Here’s an overview of the top five November fruit and veggie harvests.
We love these members of the cabbage family. I halve them, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in a 400° oven until tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside (15-20 minutes). We consider them nature’s candy, so sweet and delicious! Don’t toss those outer leaves that separate from the bulb when cutting, they turn into crunchy-sweet brussels sprout chips in the oven. Yum!
If you like them too, nosh away because these gems pack an eye-popping number of nutrients: protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K; minerals copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus and potassium; phytonutrients indole-3-carbinol, isothiocyanates, lutein, sinigrin, sulforaphane and zeaxanthin. Wow!
Classified as fungi, mushrooms are technically neither vegetables nor fruits. Only a few of all mushroom varieties are non-poisonous. Even so, most edible mushrooms are available year-round because both wild and farmed mushrooms have long growing seasons. Given fungi’s most preferred growing environment is damp, dark places, the peak harvest time for mushrooms is fall, extending into early winter. Morels are the exception, they have a relatively short harvest season in the spring.
All mushrooms share a nutrient profile including protein, the entire vitamin B complex, vitamin D and minerals copper, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. However, individual varieties contribute specific additional nutrients. For example, the button, cremini and portobello varieties contain the mineral phosphorus. Porcini mushrooms also offer vitamin C and several flavonoids. Morels and shiitakes have calcium and phosphorus.
Pears have ample amounts of vitamin C and copper as well as the phytonutrients carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. But the real nutrition powerhouse in pears is the fiber content. One pear provides 8% of the recommended daily intake of fiber and most of the fiber in pears is the preferred insoluble type. High intake of insoluble fiber is believed to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Another interesting pear fact: for unknown reasons, pears are one of the least allergenic of all fruits.
These starchy tuber veggies have gotten a bad rap from some of the latest, trendy low-carb diets. But, the truth is, if you consume them baked or roasted with the peels on (without deep-frying or loading up with condiments) potatoes are part of a healthy diet. Those who shun potatoes deprive themselves of the fiber, B-vitamin complex, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, lutein and zeaxanthin they have to offer. The russet variety also contains vitamin A. If you’re going low-carb, avoid white rice, white flour and added sugars, don’t avoid potatoes.
Tangerines are also known as Mandarin oranges. But, they aren’t actually oranges at all. They’re their own category of citrus fruit. (Tangelos and clementines are cultivated hybrids of tangerines and oranges.) Tangerines are, of course, cousins of oranges and have many of the same nutrients in common. They contain fiber, vitamins A and C and carotenes. Their smaller size make them perfect for little hands and tummies – the definition of a kid-friendly fruit.
See below for a list of all the nutrients in the produce cited in this post and the benefits they impart. But, most of all, taste, savor and enjoy the late autumn harvest.
Vitamin A: Antioxidant promotes immunity function and eye, skin & red blood cell health
Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin): Aids in metabolism of carbohydrates
Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin): Necessary for converting food to energy
Vitamin B-3 (Niacin): Necessary for generating energy for cells
Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid): Metabolic necessity
Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine): Necessary for blood health and to feel energized
Vitamin B-9 (Folate): Necessary for the creation of new blood cells & fetal development
Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin): Needed for healthy blood and nerve cells
Vitamin C: Antioxidant that boosts immunity
Vitamin D: Necessary to absorb calcium, magnesium and phosphorus
Vitamin E: Antioxidant promotes healthy skin & eyes and boosts immunity
Vitamin K: Important in protein absorption for healthy blood and bones
Calcium: Electrolyte necessary for strong teeth and bones
Copper: Antioxidant promotes healthy blood and eye, brain, skin and bone tissue
Iodine: Healthy thyroid and metabolism
Iron: Antioxidant necessary for blood health
Magnesium: Electrolyte for nerve function and heart & blood glucose regulation
Manganese: Antioxidant important in bone health and blood sugar regulation
Molybdenum: For healthy enzyme function
Phosphorus: Promotes healthy bones, digestion and hormone regulation
Potassium: An electrolyte that assists in controlling blood pressure
Selenium: Antioxidant critical to DNA synthesis
Zinc: Antioxidant needed for healing and healthy skin
Fiber: Technically not a nutrient but essential for digestive health & an aid in weight control
Phytochemicals/Phytonutrients: Powerful antioxidants found in small amounts in most plant-based foods:
- Carotene (Alpha & Beta): convert to vitamin A; anti-aging & eye health
- Catechins: flavonoid showing anti-cancer promise
- Epicatechin: flavonoid may lessen risk for heart disease, diabetes & cancer
- Flavonol: heart & respiratory anti-inflammatory flavonoid
- Indole-3-Carbinol: anti-estrogen, cancer fighting properties
- Isothiocyanates: combat carcinogens in the body
- Hesperidin: anti-inflammatory flavonoid
- Lutein: carotene for eye health
- Procyanidin B2: anti-aging, pro hair growth flavonoid
- Quercitin: heart & respiratory anti-inflammatory flavonoid
- Resveratrol: anti-inflammatory flavonoid
- Sinigrin: glucoside promising in fighting colon cancer
- Sulforaphane: anti-estrogen, cancer fighting properties
- Zeaxanthin: carotene for eye health
Sources: visualnews.com, wisebread.com, nutrition-and-you.com, Harvard.edu, webMD