Autumn is here – and, with it, a whole variety of wonderful, fresh fruit and vegetables! Which ones are in season during the colder months, what great dishes can be conjured up with them, and how can one boost the immune system with fresh and regional products? We’ll tell you in this post.
September/October: the season of root vegetables & co.
Root vegetables, in particular, are currently in season and are being harvested fresh from the field. These include carrots, parsnips, parsley root, beetroot, celery and black salsify. They all score points with vitamins and minerals, and help the immune system during the cold season. Below are further details on a few selected varieties:
Composition: Carrots are known for their high carotenoid content. Beta carotene is the precursor of vitamin A, and is converted as such in the body. Carotenoids give carrots their typically orange colour and also have an antioxidant effect i.e. they protect our bodies from free radicals. In addition, they contain the fibre pectin, which can have a positive effect on digestion.
Health check: Carrot gruel can help with digestive problems (diarrhoea), as the pectin stimulates intestinal activity.
Preparation tips: Whether enjoyed raw, as a vitamin kick between meals, in a salad, cooked as a side dish or in a soup, carrots are versatile and suit almost any dish.
An old vegetable variety that is often forgotten: the components and lightly sweet taste make it a great autumn vegetable!
Composition: Parsnips have a high starch content and therefore keep you fuller for longer. Valuable minerals strengthen the immune system; parsnips are a source of potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron.
Preparation tips: Parsnips go well with celery and carrots. They are particularly delicious as a parsnip cream soup, parsnip and potato mash, or from the oven as an accompaniment to roast meat.
Garlic: the immune booster par excellence
Alongside root vegetables, onions, leeks and garlic are also currently in season. Above all, garlic is seen as beneficial to health and is believed to strengthen the immune system.
Composition: In terms of vitamins and minerals, the B vitamins, vitamin K,vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium are significant. But it is the essential oils in particular (incidentally responsible for the characteristic taste and smell) that have special significance: sulphur compounds act against bacteria and fungi – so, they could have a preventative effect against colds.
Preparation tips: Garlic can be used universally as a seasoning. Note: take care not to brown the garlic too much when cooking as it becomes bitter. Garlic adds a special flavour cooked in stews, sauces or soups, but is also delicious as an oven-roasted vegetable or raw in tzatziki or cucumber salad.
An apple a day….the advantageous autumn fruit
Apples are already in season in summer but, as a robust autumn fruit, the apple still provides us with important vitamins during the autumn and winter months, when many of the local varieties are out of season.
Composition: Apples are rich in water and fat soluble vitamins e.g. vitamin C, B vitamins, beta carotene and vitamin E, as well as numerous minerals – potassium and phosphorus, in particular. By the way: most of the vitamins lie directly under the peel, so you should absolutely eat that too!
Like carrots, apples contain the fibre pectin and can help to relieve constipation.
For the immune system: a freshly-picked apple added to your breakfast porridge will give you a good start to your day. Depending on the variety, apples are also especially suitable for compotes, sauces, fruit pies, or as a sweet component in soups.
How about a carrot and apple soup to boost the immune system, for example?!
Boosting the immune system in autumn
A well-balanced and varied diet is important in maintaining a strong and healthy immune system. There is no food that contains all the important nutrients – the greater the variety, the better. In autumn, take note of the colourful array and try cooking with new vegetables.
As an extra source of vitamins between meals, reach for local fresh or dried fruit. Remember, the fresher the food, the more nutrients are still contained. When shopping, look for regional products that have been freshly harvested.
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