The best fall foods to fuel adventure athletes

It’s decorative gourd season, folks. And while pumpkin spice lattes get an undue amount of attention, foods that are in season during the fall, like pumpkin and cranberries, have nutritional benefits that are huge for athletes.

Here’s why some of your favorite in-season food can actually pay off for you.

Beets

Beets. Photo: Larry Hoffman
Beets will keep you going this autumn. Photo: Courtesy of Larry Hoffman
Beets have a long growing season, and are available through most of the fall. They’re full of nitrates, which are known for promoting blood flow and oxygen to your brain and muscles, and which make them good for endurance athletes, who can perform longer.

Distance runners like Ryan Hall have been known to take shots of beetroot juice before they compete. IF you don’t want to do shots, consider Beet Burgers.

Brassica

Cauliflower. Photo: Liz West
Try some cauliflower soup this fall. Photo: Courtesy of Liz West
Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, have some of the highest concentrations of Vitamins A and C, folic acid and fiber of any foods you can eat.

They’re known to fight cancer, heart disease and more, and they help you absorb and process oxygen. Since it’s fall, try some cauliflower soup.

Cranberries

Cranberries. Photo: Pen Waggenen
Gotta love cranberries. Photo: Courtesy of Pen Waggenen
Cranberries, which seem to only show up on fall menus, have huge antibacterial properties (which is why they’re often associated with bacterial infections) but they’re also antixoidants, like the brassica, and are anti-inflammatory so they’re good for sore muscles.

Shoot for fresh ones, instead of dried, which have more sugar, and if you want to get in the spirit of thanksgiving, put some cranberry sauce on your turkey sandwich.

Pumpkin

Pumpkins. Photo: Jeremy Seitz
‘Tis the season. Photo: Courtesy of Jeremy Seitz
Trader Joe’s overload aside (calm down with the pumpkin dog treats, TJ’s), fall pumpkin is high in Vitamin K, which is crucial for bone density and health, which seems important going into skiing and skating season.

Additionally, pumpkin seeds are a good source of iron, which helps oxygenate your blood. You can get both the seeds and the pumpkin itself in your morning granola.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes. Photo: Mike Motzart
Sweet Potatoes, not just paired with marshmallows. Photo: Courtesy of Mike Motzart
Not just to be consumed with marshmallows, sweet potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates, and will keep your blood sugar level for a long time (important for long bouts of exercise).

They’re also rich in Vitamin A, which is good for your bones, immune system and skin. No losses here. Roast ’em and stuff ’em with just about anything.

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