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Four foods to munch on this fall

At this time of the year, you'll want to harvest in these seasonal gems that will offer great tastes and tonnes of nutritional benefits

A pear a day keeps the doctor away?

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” goes the old saying. But it turns out to maintain your summer race weight, it’s a good idea to bite into a pear more often. A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences found that pear eaters, on average, weighed nearly 8 lbs less and were 35 per cent less likely to be obese than people who did not include the fruit in their diets. One major reason why pears can help in the battle of weight gain is their high fibre levels – almost 30 per cent more than an apple. What’s more, this research discovered pear munchers were found to have higher intakes of vital nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.

To keep your bones strong

This ghostly cousin of the carrot has a nutty flavour and supplies a variety of vital nutrients to help you emerge from the long winter months healthier than ever. Notably, parsnips are a good source of vitamin K, a nutrient shown to play a role in improving bone mineral density. They also supply a bounty of dietary fibre – roughly 7 g in a cup serving. That is about 70 per cent more than a cup of carrots. In an Australian study, people who ate the most fibre daily (37 g on average) were 79 per cent more likely to stave off maladies, such as cancer and heart disease, when compared with people of a similar age who ate the least (18 g).

Give a boost to your heart with cranberries

Native to Canada, tart cranberries are an antioxidant powerhouse. Researchers at Tufts University in Boston, MA, determined that unique proanthocyanidin antioxidants found in the berry are cardio friendly via their power to reduce inflammation, improve blood fat numbers and alleviate artery stiffness. A separate study discovered that a type of carbohydrate in cranberries can act like a prebiotic to help increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Cranberries are also a good way to infuse your fall diet with more manganese, a mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining proper metabolism.

Fight the flu bug with brussels sprouts

By eating more vitamin C–rich veggies like brussels sprouts, you could help keep the winter sniffles at bay. Eat more of these green bundles, and you’ll also load up on disease-fighting potent antioxidants, potassium and vitamin K, which was recently found to help slash the risk of mortality from heart disease. A large review of studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher intakes of vitamin C could help keep blood pressure numbers in the healthy range.