From apples to sweet potatoes, autumn's beautiful bounty of fruits and vegetables offer a wide variety of delicious flavors and tantalizing textures to enjoy this time of year. These seasonal foods are the perfect excuse to prepare something warm and comforting to nourish yourself during cooler weather.

Listed below are 12 Fall Foods that help reduce inflammation, boost immunity and prevent holiday weight gain. Look for whole food ingredients that are unprocessed and buy locally grown produce at a Monterey County Farmers Market or at a local farm-stand like The Wharf Marketplace in Monterey or Earthbound Farm in Carmel Valley.

1. Apples

A great source of fiber, vitamin C and polyphenols, apples are versatile and easy to include. Try apples sliced with almond butter, juiced with carrots and ginger, chopped with pecans and cinnamon or braised with bacon and cabbage. For a super satisfying lunch, try Porter's in the Forest's House Salad with pecans, apples, gorgonzola, grapes and champagne vinaigrette.

2. Brussels Sprouts

Rich in glucosinolates that support detoxification, brussels sprouts are also full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Enjoy these mini cabbages steamed, sautéed or roasted until fork-tender so they're less bitter, but still have a little crunch.

3. Cauliflower

Loaded with vitamins C, K, B6, folate, choline, potassium and fiber, cauliflower is delicious raw on salads, roasted with mushrooms, or sautéed with scallions. Try Basil Seasonal Dining's fresh cauliflower with golden raisins and pine nuts for one drool-inducing side dish.

4. Cranberries

Extremely tart with a lovely bright red hue, cranberries appeal to the senses and pack in nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and antioxidants. Enjoy fresh raw berries when possible to preserve nutrients. Combine with apples, oranges, or pears to sweeten and add to juices, dressings or side dishes.

5. Dates

A healthier whole food alternative to brown sugar, dates are a naturally sweet fruit rich in fiber and potassium. For a healthier dessert, try dates rolled with shredded coconut or chopped nuts. But, be sure to enjoy these mouth-watering treats in moderation as they contain around 14 grams of sugar per date.

6. Fennel

Fennel supports digestion with nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, manganese and fiber. Enjoy the bulb braised in stew, the stalks sliced thin with oranges, or the leaves finely chopped with fresh salmon. For a savory treat, try a side of fennel confit with carrots, broccoli leaves and baby leeks at the Big Sur Bakery.

7. Parsnips

Parsnips are a perfect lower-carb alternative to potatoes that are rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate and manganese. Parsnips add a sweet and nutty flavor to roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, and butternut squash soup.

8. Pears

Rich in fiber, phytonutrients and vitamin C, pears are great for digestion, immunity and reducing inflammation. Be sure to eat the skin as that's where the nutrients are concentrated. Enjoy pears with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and some of Schoch Family Farm mouthwatering raw milk cheese.

9. Pomegranates

This super antioxidant-rich fruit is fabulous for supporting fertility, heart health, and immunity. It's rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and fiber. The juice makes an amazingly sweet addition to dressings, while the seeds taste terrific tossed in salads with tangy cheeses and crunchy nuts.

10. Rutabaga

Rich in vitamin C, potassium, manganese, beta-carotene and fiber, rutabaga has a sweet and nutty flavor. Try this root veggie sautéed with apples and dates, mashed with cream and dill, or roasted with red potatoes and rosemary.

11. Sweet potatoes

A nutrient-dense alternative to white potatoes, sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and fiber. Baked, roasted, sautéed or steamed, cooking enhances this root veggies sweet flavor. To get the full benefits of beta-carotene, stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent overeating, enjoy sweet potatoes with a healthy fat such as coconut oil or walnuts.

12. Winter squash

Seasonal standouts, pumpkin, spaghetti, butternut and other squash varieties are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and vitamin B6. Cooking squash creates a soft and sweet flesh that's tasty with butter and sea salt.