Fresh beetroot has so much to offer in terms of its natural flavour, with its slightly sweet and earthy taste combined with a smooth, velvety texture. Not only does fresh beetroot taste great, it also has a lot of nutritional value, too. In fact, beetroot is high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fibre, and minerals including potassium, which is essential for optimum nerve and muscle function, and manganese, a mineral which helps to maintain a healthy liver and pancreas as well as kidneys and bones. With beetroot belonging to the same plant family as spinach and chard, it comes as no surprise that both the leaves and the root can be eaten, too.
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Chestnuts are a typically autumnal ingredient – they are extremely versatile, too, for both sweet and savoury dishes. There are numerous health benefits to these shiny nuts, which are high in fibre and minerals and low in fat. The creamy flavour of cooked chestnuts is a great addition to stews, stuffing and casseroles, or use the nuts as a purée in place of mashed potato. You can do so much with them, too – chop, crumble, candy, crush, roast, sauté or simply add them whole to your Sunday roast.
Fennel is like marmite, you either love or hate its aniseed flavour. However, in terms of nutritional value, fennel is a real all-rounder. It is rich in vitamin A, and contains calcium, fibre, phosphorus and potassium which contribute towards protecting against heart disease, boosting the immune system and reducing blood pressure. But it doesn’t end there; fennel is also full of iron which helps against anaemia, stimulates your digestive system and reduces inflammation of the intestines.
This fleshy fruit can be enjoyed as part of a sweet or savoury dish and has an abundance of health benefits, too. Not only are pears an excellent source of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and copper, they are also good for releasing energy slowly throughout the day, helping to balance your blood sugar levels. Pears also help to maintain a healthy digestive system – in fact, a single serving provides around 18 per cent of your daily fibre requirement.