The Healthiest Fall Produce
Fall is an exciting season for many people. The cooler weather, the changing of the leaves, and more, give people plenty of things to look forward to from the equinox to the winter solstice. Among everything else, fall is the harvest season first and foremost. And while pumpkin and other squashes are the star of the show, there’s many more fruits and vegetables in season to choose from, and some of them have considerable health benefits of interest to seniors. Read on to find out what you should be filling your grocery basket with, and what they can do for your body!
Apples are probably the second most popular fruit synonymous with fall. Apple picking is a much-beloved pastime for the season, after all. And while the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may not literally be true, it’s not a bad starting point. Apples have been linked to improved gut health, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. And while you might think of apples as something to go in a cobbler, pie, or other dessert, adding apples to a slow cooker full of chicken or pork is a great way to enjoy them without added sugar or other empty calories.
The cooler weather of fall is great for leafy greens like kale, spinach, bok choy, chard, and more. One of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can eat, leafy greens are high in iron and vitamin K, contributing to bone health and blood clotting. Not to mention their richness in fiber helps greatly with gut health, digestion, and regularity.
Surprisingly, brussel sprouts and cauliflower, both seasonal fall vegetables, are actually members of the same plant family! Both are cruciferous vegetables, high in fiber, and may help protect against cancers of the stomach, lungs, kidneys, breast, prostate, and bladder. Brussel sprouts also have carotenoids, a colorful plant pigment, that helps with the health of your eyes.
Sweet potatoes and yams, in addition to providing pleasing color on your plate, are high in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Purple sweet potatoes are rich in anthocyanins, an antioxidant that provides their striking color, and may also help your body fight and prevent cancer. Not only that, it can also help prevent oxidation in the brain, staving off alzheimers and other forms of dementia. A diet rich in antioxidants is associated with a 13% lower risk of mental decline.
And the real star of fall, squash, in all of its varieties, have many vitamins, minerals, and other compounds to boost your health and keep you at your best. Vitamin C and beta-carotene have a positive effect on your eyes, preventing macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts. Several varieties of squash are rich in vitamin B6, which can stave off depression and other forms of mental illness, useful in the cooler months as the amount of sunlight available decreases. High amounts of vitamin A help with our immune systems, good for fending off colds or the flu, and all squash are a great source of fiber.