Fall is one of my favorite times of the year to get fresh local produce that contains many nutrients that support health benefits. Typically the more in season and local the produce is, the less likely it will have exposure to chemicals meant to preserve it for long transport.
. Here are some of my top 3 local fall produce items for health.
Apples come in many varieties and offer many great nutrients to support health. According to Harvard School of f Public Health, Apples contain fiber, vitamin C and phytonutrients like quercetin, catechin, chlorogenic acid and anthocyanin. Fiber helps promote regular digestion, vitamin C promotes tissue recovery and supports the immune system through aiding in the absorption of zinc. Phytonutrients are chemical compounds naturally occurring in plants. They are antioxidants that help reduce free radicals that can negatively impact health. Antioxidants help support the cardiovascular system have been shown to reduce risk of stoke and heart attack and anti-aging. Antioxidants have also been shown to reduce cancer, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's. Phytonutrients also play a role immune function by acting as an antibacterial and antiviral agent.
Squash also comes in many varieties and spaghetti squash, acorn and butternut are some of my favorites. Spaghetti squash can be cooked and substituted for pasta, making it gluten free, lower in carbs and containing more nutrients. Acorn squash can be cooked and filled meat for protein or with other vegetables and whole grains. Butternut squash can be cooked and pureed into a soup. Squash also contains fiber and vitamin C. Vitamin C in squash can help promote eye health and in particular, in the prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts. Squash contains B 6 which can be beneficial for reducing symptoms of depression. Squash is also high in beta-carotene, which has been shown to be beneficial in reducing the effects of UV exposure. Squash also contains magnesium. Magnesium supports muscle relaxation and sleep, can help support healthy blood sugar levels, nerve function, cardiovascular function, and bone health. A 2016 study of people with depression and had low magnesium levels, positively benefitted from increasing intake with regard to depression symptoms.
Pumpkins have lots of great health benefits. One cup of pumpkin can contain 200% of the daily recommended vitamin A. Vitamin A helps support immune health as well as eye health, They also contain antioxidants. Pumpkin also contains Vitamin and is high in potassium. Potassium plays an important role in maintaining a health blood pressure. Eating pumpkin can also reduce eczema symptoms and is an anti-inflammatory. Research is showing that pumpkin can also be beneficial in sperm production. Eating the seeds is beneficial too! Pumpkin seeds contain iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, potassium, folate, niacin and selenium.