Fall for Delicious Colors
Seeking out deep, rich hues when selecting fruits and vegetables can result in a host of additional nutritional benefits, according to nutrition experts.
“Take cabbage, for instance. While the taste of red cabbage is similar to green, the red (otherwise known as purple) variety is richer in nutrients,” according to Nancy Wagner, RDN, registered dietitian at The University of Vermont Health Network - Central Vermont Medical Center.
Anthocyanins, compounds that belong to the flavonoid family, are responsible for the bright color of red cabbage, explains Wagner. They can also be found in other vibrant fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, plums, cherries and eggplant. Several studies link eating foods containing these compounds to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease, the most common cause of mortality among men and women.
A cool-season crop that brightens up fall and winter meals, red cabbage is also an excellent source of Vitamin C. Just one cup raw delivers more than half of your recommended daily value. One cup of raw green cabbage, by comparison, delivers 37% of your recommended daily value – not bad, but not quite as impressive as the red variety, according to Wagner.
Red cabbage is also a good source of fiber, which lowers cholesterol and helps maintain good bowel health. A high-fiber diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains is particularly important for people with diabetes or those wishing to manage their blood sugar, according to Wagner. “Higher fiber foods often cause less of a spike in blood sugars,” she says. A whole apple, for example, has more fiber than applesauce which has more fiber than apple juice. “When you eat the whole apple, you benefit from the fiber and maximize its nutritional value.”
Ready for a sweet and savory fall dish that’s fiber-rich and full of flavonoids? Check out our culinary medicine team’s Cider-Braised Cabbage and Apples. It packs a double dose of healthy fiber and makes for an easy, colorful autumn dish – perfect after a day of leaf peeping.
Cider-Braised Cabbage and Apples
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound red cabbage, cored and cut into 1/2” pieces
2 apples, cored and cut into 1/2” pieces
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Melt the butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir for one minute.
- Add cabbage, apples, apple cider, caraway seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper to skillet. Cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add vinegar and cook, uncovered, for about one minute until liquid evaporates. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm.
Love Food and Recipes?
Visit the UVM Medical Center Culinary Medicine team online for tasty recipes and downloadable recipe cards. You can also visit our “What’s That Food” playlist on YouTube for delicious recipe videos featuring fresh, seasonal produce and simple growing tips.