Health Benefits of Fall Favorites
|By Petra Trudell, Managing Editor on Friday, September 27, 2013|
|When you think of fall, a variety of colors, smells and foods come to mind. Many of these fall staples have health benefits worth taking advantage of all year long.||
What are the foods that make you think of fall? Chances are, you pictured pumpkins and apples, maybe corn, too.
Good news! All the fall favorites have some great nutritional benefits when enjoyed regularly.
Everyone loves a festive jack-o-lantern or maybe just a few pumpkins scattered on the porch. More popular than ever are foods and drinks made with anything pumpkin. From lattes to muffins and everything in between, pumpkin is the flavor to enjoy this season. While eating a sugary pumpkin donut or drink daily isn't exactly beneficial for your health, eating pumpkin in other ways provides you with plenty of nutrients and not a lot of calories.
Pumpkins are naturally rich in vitamin A, which supports healthy skin and the eyes, to keep vision sharp, even at night. Pumpkins are also a great source of fiber to promote digestive regularity, heart health and to keep you feeling full longer between meals. Keep some canned pure pumpkin in the pantry to add to recipes or try roasting an actual whole pumpkin and pureeing it for soup.
Don't overlook the seeds, either. Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc, which supports prostate health, as well as trace minerals and amino acids. Pumpkin seed oil is commonly sold as a supplement.
Follow the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" all year long. First of all, apples contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are needed by the body to combat the negative effects of free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and damage to the cells throughout the body. Next, apples are a good source of fiber. As previously mentioned, fiber supports the digestive and cardiovascular systems.
Cut them up and add them to a salad, roast them for soup or snack on them plain -- just go easy on the added sugar. In other words, candy or caramel apples shouldn't comprise your daily apple intake. Apple cider, when unpasteurized, keeps many of the valuable nutrients in the apples intact, but it can be high in natural sugars. The benefits of apple cider vinegar are almost too many to list. This amazing home remedy has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties and can be combined with honey and lemon to ease a sore throat.
With so many varieties of apples to choose from, you'll never get bored!
Corn is an incredibly versatile food that you can enjoy so many different ways. It also contains a variety of valuable nutrients. Corn contains B vitamins like folate and thiamin, which support energy production and cognitive health, vitamin C, which functions as potent antioxidant to fight free radicals and strengthen the immune system, and minerals, like magnesium, for nerve health and strong bones. Fiber is another great source of fiber, too.
Corn has been feasted upon for thousands of years. Some great ways to enjoy corn are in soups, chowders and stews, left on the cob and roasted, boiled or steamed or even sliced off and mixed into a salsa or side dish. Try some sweet corn so you can lay off the butter and salt and try to be a corn purist. Otherwise, reach for herbs and spices to add additional flavor.
This delicious spice helps give those pumpkin treats you love so much their amazing flavor. As an added bonus, cinnamon is a spice worth taking for many health reasons. Cinnamon helps the body convert sugar into energy more efficiently. This prevents the body from hanging onto that sugar as fat and also helps keep blood sugar levels within the desired range.
Spices are the health gems of your pantry you probably aren't using enough of in your day-to-day cooking and baking. So, start experimenting! Sprinkle some cinnamon on your morning toast, stir it into coffee or even make a spicy hot chocolate with it. Or, try baking up a batch of whole wheat pumpkin muffins with cinnamon.
Enjoy these delicious foods for an amazing fall. You can also find supplements featuring these foods at eVitamins to help you take advantage of their benefits anytime. As with all supplements, speak with your doctor before using them if you have a medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Pick them up today and have a great fall weekend!
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