The change from summer to fall marks a new school year for some, a transition to cooler weather for others, and kicks off the holiday season for most. It’s also a time to enjoy the produce that hits its prime this time of year – we’re talking corn, cranberries, apples, and, of course, pumpkins!
• Corn. Complex carbohydrates, like corn, are essential to a healthy diet. They provide the body with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Corn is a good source of two essential minerals, manganese and phosphorus. These two nutrients help keep our bones healthy and strong. Corn is also a good source of fiber, with one large ear providing approximately 3 grams. Fiber is what makes corn harder for the body to digest, which means you’ll avoid unpleasant blood sugar spikes and crashes and will feel full longer after eating it.
• Cranberries. Cranberries are best known for two major health benefits: their ability to fight inflammation and cancer, and their ability to ward off urinary tract infections. Cranberries fight inflammation and cancer thanks to their unique combination of five antioxidants that work together in the body. One of these antioxidants, proanthocyanidines, works overtime to prevent UTIs by reducing the ability of bacteria to adhere to the urinary tract. The only downfall is that fresh cranberries are only available from October to December – such little time for such a powerful super food.
• Apples. Have you ever wondered how apples earned a reputation for keeping doctors away? It’s because apples, specifically their peels, contain an incredible amount of antioxidants. In a study comparing the antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruits in the United States, apples ranked second highest! In addition to their high antioxidant activity, apples are also high in fiber. Just like in corn, fiber regulates blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full. The only added benefit in apples is that one medium apple provides 4 grams of fiber (1 gram higher than corn)!
• Pumpkins. A member of the winter squash family, pumpkins can be seen everywhere during the fall. Whether used as décor, pureed for pies, or roasted whole, this orange gourd is the season’s icon. And for good reason! It’s pumpkin’s orange hue that makes it one of our favorites. Orange fruits and vegetables are a great source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps maintain vision and decreases the risk of age-related visual impairments such as macular degeneration.
These four fall favorites are filled with health benefits that are well-worth reaping, but don’t delay, they won’t be around for long!