Two Delicious Ways to Boost Your Health This Fall
Most of us in southern Florida have a few friends up north who envy our warm winters and wonderful beaches. But this time of year, there’s a feature of living up north that I envy… fresh-picked autumn fruit.
We can find seasonal fruits in the supermarkets here. But it’s not quite the same as getting an apple right off the tree or a pumpkin fresh out of the garden.
I love these autumn treats for more than their flavor. Both are nutritional powerhouses. And you may be surprised by just how healthy they are.
Because of pesticide use, apples have gotten a bad reputation. They’re one of the “dirty dozen” – very likely to carry a dose of unhealthy pesticides. But not if they’re organic apples.
Apples are so good for you; it’s worth seeking out the fresh organic variety. For one thing, apples deliver a healthy dose of antioxidants. In fact, apples are an excellent source of the antioxidant quercetin.
Quercetin is a flavinoid – a type of plant pigment – that supports good health in several ways. Here are just a few of quercetin’s benefits:
- In lab studies, quercetin promotes the release of lower levels of histamines. Your body releases histamines in response to seasonal pollen and other irritants. So quercetin may help relieve the discomfort they cause.
- Quercetin supports cleaner, clearer arteries. Clogged arteries are a major cause of heart trouble… so quercetin is great for your heart.
- Quercetin also supports healthy blood pressure levels… and may promote prostate health.1
And that’s just one of the ways apples can boost your health. A team of Dutch researchers also discovered that people who eat apples regularly tend to have better lung function than those who don’t.2
Apples may also help you keep your blood sugar under control. Doctors at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital monitored more than 38,000 women for 8 years. They found that those who ate more apples had a lower risk of blood sugar problems. In fact, women who averaged an apple a day cut their risk by 28%.3
And here’s a bonus, ladies… A 14-year study showed that women who regularly eat foods high in flavonoids – such as apples – tend to keep weight off better than women who don’t.4
So don’t laugh when you hear someone say, “An apple a day…” It’s true.
Pumpkins don’t have the same reputation as apples, but they’re no slackers when it comes to your good health.
To begin with, when you make that pumpkin pie, don’t throw out the seeds. Fresh pumpkin seeds are loaded with important minerals. Just a quarter-cup provides…
- 52% of your recommended daily value of manganese. Manganese is critical to healthy metabolism and nerve function. Many important enzymes require magnesium to function.
- Over 45% of your magnesium requirement – critical for bone health and energy production.
- More than 40% of the recommended daily value of phosphorus. Every single cell in your body requires phosphorus to function properly.
- 30% of your daily iron requirement. Iron is important for healthy blood. It’s also a key component of hundreds of enzymes and proteins.
Pumpkins are also high in protein, vitamin K and zinc. At just 186 calories for a quarter-cup, pumpkin seeds are a powerhouse snack.
But the seeds aren’t the only part of the pumpkin that can boost your health. The pumpkin itself is loaded with nutrition. Pumpkin is high in vitamin A, potassium and fiber. And it contains a fair amount of vitamin C, too.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that pumpkin has good antioxidant activity… and also appears to promote healthy blood sugar levels.5 a pumpkin pie – sweetened with stevia instead of sugar – could actually be one of the healthier dishes at your Thanksgiving feast.
There are so many reasons to celebrate autumn’s arrival. Thanks to apples and pumpkins, you can add a big health boost to the list.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 See http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/quercetin-000322.htm.
2 Tabak C, et al. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Intake of Catechins, Flavonols, and Flavones
The MORGEN Study. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med., Volume 164, Number 1, July 2001, 61-64.
3 Song Y, et al. Associations of dietary flavonoids with risk of type 2 diabetes, and markers of insulin resistance and systemic inflammation in women: a prospective study and cross-sectional analysis. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Oct;24(5):376-84.
4 Hughes LA, et al. Higher dietary flavone, flavonol, and catechin intakes are associated with less of an increase in BMI over time in women: a longitudinal analysis from the Netherlands Cohort Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Nov;88(5):1341-52.
5 Kwon YI, et al. Health benefits of traditional corn, beans, and pumpkin: in vitro studies for hyperglycemia and hypertension management. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):266-75.