13 best fall superfoods for weight loss

When one season rolls into the next, you not only get changing weather and temperatures, but also a new slew of seasonal produce that packs a nutritional and tasty punch. Autumn, in particular, brings some delicious savory and sweet flavors, thanks to produce you can count as superfoods. Stock up on these fall favorites that aren’t only good for you, they’ll also help you keep pounds off as the days turn colder.

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13 best fall superfoods for weight loss
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13 best fall superfoods for weight loss

Apples

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.

Pears

“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.

Sweet potatoes

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.

Pumpkin

Of course, you’ll see pumpkin everything come fall, but make sure you’re getting the real thing (pumpkin spice products not included). The fresh produce itself is where you’ll find filling fiber, plus beta-carotene. Try pumpkins roasted, puréed, canned, or fresh. And then add a little cinnamon for sweetness or curry for savory.

Parsnips

“Carrot’s cousin, only white and a little sweeter,” says Maples. In just one serving of this crunchy root veggie, you get four grams of fiber, plus vitamin C and copper. Reach for it when you need a snappy snack.

Beets

We’re talking about the entire veggie, from the root (roast it) to the green leaves (sauté them). The nitrates that naturally occur in beets can lower blood pressure and help you recover from a workout so you can sweat it out again the next day, says Maples. You might see runners sipping beet juice after chasing many miles, as one study found it can stave off exhaustion. Beets also offer these other health benefits you didn’t know about.

Pomegranate 

This juicy fruit is high in polyphenols that protect cells from free radicals, while also offering folate and vitamin C. Studies show the seeds or arils can help control blood pressure and offer better muscle recovery post-workout.

Cauliflower

Packed with lots of fiber and few calories, make this your pick when you want to shed pounds. In one cup of florets, you get 100 percent of your vitamin C for the day too, as well as vitamins A and B6, and potassium, says Maples.

Brussels sprouts

“Brussels sprouts are proud members of the cabbage family. They are rich in antioxidants that help fight cancer and they provide fiber and a wealth of vitamins including vitamin C to help boost immunity, plus vitamin K to help promote bone health and blood clotting,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com, author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table. She suggests making them extra satisfying by roasting them with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Brussels sprouts are one of the 14 veggies you should stop avoiding.

Cranberries

Cut back on the sugar added to dried cranberries by going for the fresh version (in season in the fall), and adding them to your salads or oatmeal. Fresh cranberries contain a compound called proanthocyanidin, which prevents harmful bacteria from clinging to the bladder wall and causing infection, says Maples.

Spaghetti squash 

“These days with so many people looking to cut carbs, spaghetti squash is a perfect choice for providing that pasta-like feel with fewer carbs and lots of nutrients,” says Taub-Dix. With each serving, you get fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6 and it contains just 42 calories per cup.

Pumpkin seeds

After you use your pumpkin, save the seeds, also known as pepitas. Toast them up in the oven and eat as a snack or a topping for your salad, soup, or oatmeal. You’ll get a valuable source of fiber, phosphorous, manganese, and iron, says Taub-Dix.

Rutabaga

A cross between turnips and cabbage, Maples says these offer a delicious earthy flavor, especially when roasted or pureed in a soup. Like other root veggies, rutabaga leaves you with that satisfied feeling because of their hearty taste and fiber-rich nutrition profile. These aren’t the only superfoods that are best in the fall. If you’re not a fan of these foods, there’s still plenty for you to eat!

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What is a superfood anyway?

“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.

The post 13 Best Fall Superfoods for Weight Loss appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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These eight foods and drinks can contribute to cancer
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These eight foods and drinks can contribute to cancer

1. Processed meat

The World Health Organization places processed meat in the same category as tobacco smoking and asbestos when it comes to carcinogenicity. Although the three groups are not considered equally dangerous, processed meat has been proven to cause colorectal cancer. Studies show that "every 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 18 [percent]," the U.N. agency notes.

Research has also found a connection between processed meat and stomach cancer, but the evidence is not conclusive. 

2. Salt-cured meat or fish

Salt-cured foods tend to have high levels of nitrates and nitrites, both of which react with amines and amides to form compounds that can lead to cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute

Moreover, research shows that "the more people eat of these foods the greater their chance of developing stomach cancer," Dr. Stephanie Fay wrote for World Cancer Research Fund International

3. Pickled foods

Much like salt-cured food, pickled foods contain a strong amount of nitrate and nitrate. A 2012 survey published by the American Association for Cancer Research revealed a direct correlation between the consumption of pickled vegetables and gastric cancer. Those of East Asian descent are particularly vulnerable to the disease since their diet heavily consists of pickled foods, the study said.  

4. Grilled food

Grilling food over an open flame creates heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, two types of chemicals that can cause changes in the DNA, thereby increasing the risk of cancer, the National Cancer Institute points out. Researchers determined that high consumption of well-done, fried or barbecued meats led to increased risks of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer. 

5. Microwave popcorn

Microwave popcorn contains a toxic compound called diacetyl, which can cause scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs and has been linked to lung cancer, Eitan Yefenof of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem told Reader's Digest.

The health threat actually comes from the popcorn bags, which contain chemicals that are suspected to cause cancer, according to Healthline. Those chemicals can also be found in pizza boxes, sandwich wrappers and Teflon pans. 

6. Alcohol

Heavy consumption of alcohol increases the risk of developing cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, breast, colon and rectum, says the National Cancer Institute. The U.S. government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 defines "heavy alcohol drinking" as "having 4 or more drinks on any day or 8 or more drinks per week for women and 5 or more drinks for men in one sitting (typically in about 2 hours)." Those who drink should do so in moderation (one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men). 

7. Bagels

As mouth-watering as bagels are, they're also a health risk, particularly for non-Hispanic whites. Bagels have a high glycemic index, which means that they can significantly raise blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels trigger the secretion of insulin, which, in turn, can influence the risk of lung cancer, according to a 2016 study published by the American Association for Cancer Research

8. Soda

Drinking carbonated beverages heavily can exacerbate the symptoms associated with cancer, such as gas, bloating, heartburn or reflux, according to Stacy Kennedy, a senior clinical nutritionist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. 

In addition, many soft drinks contain high fructose corn syrup, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Obesity itself has been linked to 13 different types of cancer, including breast, esophageal and endometrial cancers. 

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