Harvest the Nutrients with Fall Foods
From September to November, the autumn harvest brings a variety of healthful and delicious produce to choose from. In Canada, we are lucky to have fall foods that are nutrient packed and will keep you going strong as the days get shorter and cooler. Here is how some of your favourite foods will help you stay healthy this Fall:
Keep your Immune System Strong
Cold season is upon us. Thankfully, there are lots of Fall foods that are packed with Vitamin C to help you fight the common cold. An orange is filled with Vitamin C. In fact, 80% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C (100g) can be found in an orange. If you wish for double that amount of Vitamin C, that you can find it in a kiwifruit or Brussel sprouts. Other good sources of Vitamin C include beets, apples, pears, cauliflower, turnips and rutabaga – all which are grown in this area. In season and further south, you’ll find juicy oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines. Because it is not present in great quantities in foods, make sure you also supplement with Vitamin D in the Fall and Winter. Vitamin D also helps keep your immune system healthy.
Leafy Greens For your Musculoskeletal Health
Physical activity and your chiropractor will help to keep your bones moving well. Nutrition also plays a big role in your musculoskeletal health. Many nutrients and minerals are necessary for bone growth and maintenance, most of which are abundant in your favorite Fall foods. Magnesium, for example, contributes to the structural development of bone. It doesn’t get absorbed as easily as you age and you will, therefore, need more of it in your diet the as you get older. It can also be found in cabbage, Brussel sprouts, spinach, kale and other leafy green vegetables. In addition, it can be found in nuts, which are available year around. Vitamin K and Calcium, which are crucial to the mineralization of bone, can also be found in leafy green vegetables as well as turnips.
Comfort Fall Foods
Fall is one of the best seasons to cook. Hearty vegetables abound and it’s the season for soups, stews, and casseroles. Tremendous comfort comes from a hot bowl of soup at the end of a crisp autumn day. In our household, we like to prepare and can bone broth that we’ll use all winter to make soups and stews. Homemade bone broth is good for you and will help you get over a cold. It turns out that chicken soup is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is great for your digestive health.
Pumpkin Spice Anti-Inflammation
Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response; without it, we can’t heal. However, some foods, such as foods high in sugar and saturated fat promote chronic inflammation which can lead to aches and pains all over your body, especially in your joints. In addition, inflammation is thought to play a role in obesity, heart disease, and cancer. A healthy diet should include more anti-inflammatory foods than pro-inflammatory foods. A popular Fall food that you can include as part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet is the popular pumpkin spice mix. Pumpkin spice is usually made of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Whether you are a fan of the taste of pumpkin spice or not, there is no denying the health benefits of its components.
Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help control blood sugar and reduce cholesterol levels. Cloves also have anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties. Ginger has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and treat inflammatory conditions. It is also an effective anti-nausea and pain reducing supplement. Nutmeg’s anti-inflammatory effects aren’t as clear but it has been shown to be an effective pain reliever as well. While it’s main components might be healthy, be wary of the sugar content of your favorite pumpkin spice treat. Making your own mix at home and adding it to your favorite Fall foods is always the safest solution.
While Fall might be sometimes dull and grey once the leaves have fallen from the trees, your plate doesn’t have to be. Aim to eat a great variety of foods and keep it as local as possible for greatest nutrient density. Ottawa has many services that will deliver local, organic vegetables right to your front door such as Bryson Farms and Ottawa Organics. Use this time to can veggies and soups and freeze meals for a healthy Winter. If cooking ahead is not an option, consider local catering companies such as The Red Apron who will provide you with healthy meals made from local ingredients. Bon appetit!