Fabulous Fruits of Fall

Fabulous Fruits of Fall

Fall is Here

Fall is not just about breathtaking foliage, trick-or-treating and wrapping up against the brisk weather! It’s also about the tasty and nutritious produce nature provides for us to enjoy! Roasted vegetables, sweet or savory pies, and hearty soups alike. Autumn fruits and vegetables are bursting with nourishment and flavor.  The question is, which fall produce packs the most nutritious punch? Eat with the season this fall and give your body the protection it needs, before the winter sets in!

What’s Halloween Without a Jack O’Lantern?

Although this tradition of lighting candles inside a carved pumpkin at Halloween is probably now bigger in the U.S. than anywhere else, it’s originally a tradition from my fair country, Ireland! Vegetables with lit candles inside were hung in windows in Ireland to ward off Jack O’ Lantern. He was a wayward soul condemned by the devil to walk the earth for all eternity!

Yet, pumpkins are not just for carving. They boast an abundance of vitamin A, which is crucial for eye health. They’re also high in alpha and beta-carotene. This converts to retinol to promote cell growth and healthy vision and also protects against free radical damage. They’re bursting with plant molecules known as phytosterols, which help reduce LDL, known as our bad cholesterol.

Did you know that a pumpkin is not actually a vegetable, but rather a very large berry! Its tasty seeds are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital in the reduction of inflammation. Keeping our inflammation under control helps us to manage our blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce our propensity for heart disease.

From Golden Delicious to Granny Smith

Universally adored, apple picking is always a hit. Crunchy, delicious autumn apples are not just great for kids’ applesauce and the perfect pie! They’re also abundant in antioxidants, which slow ageing and prevent chronic disease. Their vitamin C content is particularly significant, as it strengthens the immune system and lowers our risk of chronic diseases such as cancer. Apples are also high in pectin, which decreases our risk of cardiovascular disease.

Anyone for Squash?

In terms of its nutritional powers, squash is definitely a powerhouse. The squash family actually encompasses many different vegetables, including pumpkins, zucchinis, courgettes, and marrows. Different types of squash can improve many different aspects of our health, including our sight, skin health, and immune system. There are many arguments in favor of incorporating members of the squash family into our nutritional lifestyles this fall!

The impressive level of vitamin C, magnesium, and other antioxidant compounds in squash make them a potent immune booster. We need these antioxidant warriors on our side to neutralize damaging free radicals. These destructive molecules, or free radicals, speed up the ageing process and can even cause cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases. Furthermore, squash contains very high levels of vitamin A, including carotenoid phytonutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are so important for our vision. All of these nutrients together help the body to boost its immune response and defend against external foreign invaders, as well as against damaging cells produced by our own bodies. Without this nutrient protection, our defenses weaken and our health diminishes over the long term.

Another compelling argument in favor of incorporating squash into our dietary lifestyles this fall is the density of B vitamins. The Bs are essential for the optimal functioning of our metabolisms, keeping us energized throughout the day and regulating our nervous systems.

We could continue this discussion on the benefits of our delicious fall friends, but let’s end for now with a note on the anti-inflammatory activity of the squash family. This is due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, which assist in the healing of such diseases as arthritis and gout. Specific studies on squash have also pointed to its powers in the healing of various gastric issues, as well as to its anti-inflammatory effects on the cardiovascular system. Inflammation also has ties to type-2 diabetes. This points out another way squash helps us prevent a growing chronic condition. Here’s to a happy and healthy fall season!