Give Your Gut a Fall Reset by Stocking up on These 3 in-Season Foods

Photo: Stocksy/Kate Daigneault
There's such an abundance of color and produce at the fall farmers' market that it's almost like the vegetable world is showing off. Vibrant orange pumpkins, rich red onions, purple eggplant, multi-colored's all so glorious that it can be overwhelming knowing what items to prioritize. (So many veggies, so little time—and crisper space.)

If you're eating with gut health in mind, nutrition experts have a short list of vegetables they recommend reaching for first. There are three key seasonal foods that can give your digestive system a major boost—which is key right now, considering it's the beginning of flu season and the microbiome is largely responsible for keeping your immune system up. Your fall cooking game will thank you.

Looking for more amazing foods for gut health? Check out these recs straight from an RD: 

1. Brussels sprouts

In season: September through March

If there was one seasonal vegetable Ignite Nutrition registered dietitian Andrea Hardy, RD, recommends for gut health, it's Brussels sprouts. "They contain a type of fiber that fuels the good bacteria in the colon," she says. "Feeding the good bacteria in your gut is so, so important because it's associated with better overall health, including a better functioning immune system."

How to cook it: "I like to make Brussel sprouts in the oven, drizzling them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and roasting them at 400°F for 20 minutes until they're crispy and brown," Hardy says.

2. Kale

In season: October through April

Registered dietitian and Latin nutrition expert Malena Perdomo, RDN says kale is her favorite fall veggie. "Kale is a good source of fiber and vitamins A, K, and C," she says, counting the reasons why she's so into it. And almost all of those things translate to good digestive health. Fiber helps increase the number of good cells in the microbiome, which helps them fight off harmful pathogens (as well as promoting a healthy digestion). Vitamin A is important for gut health because it helps keep the gut lining strong, and vitamin C helps increase the absorption of iron in the gut, another mineral that kale is rich in.

How to cook it: "Kale is great because it can  be added to any side dish," Perdomo says, adding that she likes to include it in a Mexican rice and bean salad. If you're sick of kale chips or kale salads, that is.

3. Red cabbage

In season: August through November

Red cabbage is another one of Perdomo's seasonal fall faves for gut health. "Incorporating red cabbage into a well-balanced diet is not only great for improving gut health, but according to the Knorr Future 50 Report, red cabbage has ten times more vitamin A and double the amount of iron than green cabbage," she says. Aside from the fiber, it's also great for your gut because it's rich in the antioxidant anthocyanins. One study credited the anthocyanins in red cabbage to helping the digestive tract run smoother, making the fall veggie a win for your bathroom habits. (The anthocyanins are good for your skin, too.)

How to cook it: While you can reap these benefits by eating red cabbage raw or cooked, fermenting it will increase the probiotic content, upping the good bacteria population in your gut.

Here are some other ways to improve gut health, according to a gastroenterologist. Plus, how sugar affects your microbiome.

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