When you consider the lush flavors of Fall, I think we can all be forgiven for leaping ahead in our seasonal cravings in spite of lingering summer?temperatures. ?And the good news is, the star ingredients?in?Autumn recipes and drinks have considerable health benefits.
APPLE: An apple has 4 grams?soluble fiber content for only 95 calories, and?14% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C. ?Antioxidant compounds in apples help prevent LDL (good) cholesterol from oxidizing and inhibit inflammation, both qualities which?help preserve heart health. ?The antioxidant quercetin, found in apple skin, makes oxygen more available to the lungs, helping to extend exercise endurance. ?Also in apple skin is ursolic acid, linked to diminished risk of obesity.
PUMPKIN:?One cup of fresh cooked pumpkin?boasts great vitamin payoff for only 49 calories — Vitamins A, C, E; riboflavin; potassium; copper; manganese; thiamin; B6;?folate; pantothenic acid; niacin; iron; magnesium; phosphorous; and zinc. ?This all-star list benefits the heart, the eyes, blood pressure, and immunity. ?Vitamin A in particular aids in skin cell renewal and the building of collagen. ?And plant-sourced iron, such as that from pumpkin, benefits fertility in women of childbearing age. ?(Note: Although the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte will contain actual pumpkin?for the first time ever in this Fall’s recipe, the amount will likely not be enough to reap these health benefits. ?Sorry — enjoy the PSL just for the yum factor!)
GINGER: Phenolic compounds in ginger help relieve gastrointestinal irritation and restore proper activity to the digestive system. ?Raw ginger can be used to combat nausea due to pregnancy, surgery or cancer treatment. ?The root’s anti-inflammatory properties can decrease?symptoms of dysmenorrhea (severe pain during a menstrual cycle), pain of osteoarthritis, and inflammation concurrent with some types of cancer.
CINNAMON: Natural anti-microbial properties in cinnamon have been shown to fight strains of E. coli bacteria and Candida yeast. ?This spice boosts feelings of satiety and mimics sweetness, which can lead to less sugar intake in a food or beverage. ?Cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity, thereby helping to regulate blood sugar. ?Once metabolized, cinnamon becomes sodium benzoate, which enters the brain and aids in neuron protection.
CHAI TEA:?Chai tea can feature many different ingredients based on the region it’s from, but?the mainstay ingredients are usually?black tea, ginger, cardamom, fennel, clove, and black pepper. ?As such, this beverage is a health benefit powerhouse. ?In addition to the benefits of ginger and cinnamon covered above: Black tea protects LDL cholesterol, which fights cardiovascular disease; and has been shown to have anti-viral properties. ?Cardamom aids digestion and supports immunity. ?Fennel provides Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. ?Clove helps digestion, is antibacterial and can help alleviate pain. ?The combined ingredients also help with circulation, thereby?carrying their?antioxidants to the skin.
Fall brings us the rare combination of rich flavors that also pack great nutritional punch. ?Extend the season just a smidge — you’ve got great reasons to enjoy your favorites!