Allergy-Friendly and Local Fall Harvest

Ontario's Best Bounty

Make the most of the fall harvest by enjoying all that is local, delicious and in season this month in Ontario. Here are some of the many allergy-friendly choices available right now and a breakdown of their benefits.

Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are currently in season. Include cruciferous vegetables in salads, soups, stir fries, slow cooker dishes, roasts and eat them raw.

The unique phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables have been shown to offer superior health benefits; they can modify human hormones, detoxify compounds and prevent toxins from causing DNA damage that could lead to cancer. Studies have shown that genetic defects that may lead to cancer are suppressed by the consumption of some cruciferous vegetables. Research has shown that as their intake goes up 20% in a population, cancer rates drop by as much as 40%.

Broccoli supports our body’s detoxification system and is a good source of vitamin A, C, E, K, fibre, B vitamins, calcium, chromium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and many other nutrients. Cabbage contains some of the most powerful antioxidants of the cruciferous vegetables. It is also an excellent source of fibre, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium for regulating the heart rate and blood pressure. Cauliflower offers B vitamins, vitamins C, K, antioxidants and many minerals.

Root Vegetables: Beets, carrots, onions and radishes are all in season in Ontario. Since they absorb vitamins and minerals from the ground, root vegetables grown in rich soil are full of nutrients. Use root vegetables in salads, soups, stews, chili, muffins, crepes, slow cooker dishes and others. 

Root vegetables are an excellent source of fibre. Several have remarkable healing properties, are anti-inflammatory and provide impressive immune system support. Root vegetables can absorb toxins from the ground as well, so choose organic varieties when you can. 

Beets contain B vitamins, vitamin C, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and many other nutrients. Carrots contain vitamins A, C, vitamin K, E, B vitamins, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium. Onions contain B vitamins, vitamin C, copper, phosphorous and potassium. Radishes contain vitamin C, B6, magnesium and calcium.

Low Glycemic Fruit: Instead of apples, why not switch it up with low glycemic pears and plums of different varieties; they are in season right now and offer many health benefits. Enjoy pears and plums in salads, muffins, cakes, puddings, pies and compote.

But, don’t peel your fruit. The skin of pears contains three to four times as many phytonutrients as the flesh, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients. The skin of the pear has also been shown to contain about half of the pear's total dietary fibre! 

Pears are a source of vitamins C, K and copper. Plums are full of antioxidants and beta carotenes. They help us digest our food as they are enriched with fibre. Plums contain vitamins A, C, K, B vitamins, potassium and iron.


Lisa Cantkier is a holistic nutritionist and lifelong celiac who specializes in food allergies and special diets. For more information, visit

Categories: Allergies & Special Diets