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As the season moves from the long days of summer into the cooler temperatures and darker evenings of fall, our tastes in food change, too. Salads seem less tempting and we crave more warming foods, but that doesn’t mean being unhealthy. In fact, much of the produce traditionally harvested at this time of year is incredibly good for our health. On your weight loss journey with Phen Caps, it’s important to work in harmony with the changes around you and make the most of fresh seasonal foods all year round in order to benefit from their natural goodness.
Seasons form the natural backdrop for eating; all of the healthy fruit and vegetables we eat have their own season, providing you with the essential nutrients you need more at a particular time of year. It’s easy to forget this when we are accustomed to seeing the same foods available in supermarkets all year round as a result of modern food processing and worldwide distribution.
However, eating seasonal food is cheaper, tastier, incorporates more variety into your diet and gives your body the essential nutrients it requires as a result of the changing season, by helping fight off the viruses you’re more susceptible to at this time of year. Great foods to turn to are the more warming autumn harvest foods, including carrots, sweet potato, onions and garlic, and you can spice up your dishes with ginger, peppercorns and mustard seeds.
Here is our guide to some of the best healthy autumn foods you can choose at the moment.
Apples have what is known as a low glycemic index, so the natural sugar they contain is released very slowly and steadily into our bloodstream, meaning that apples keep blood sugar levels stable and also make us feel fuller for longer. This makes them a particularly good diet food, as they help hold off hunger pangs and they are low in fat, too! Apples are a brilliant food to eat in fall, at the very time they are most plentiful. This is because they are also excellent fighters of colds and flu; researchers have found that people who eat more apples have a lower incidence of colds and upper respiratory problems. This is partly due to the high levels of vitamin C they contain - the average apple contains 25 per cent of the recommended daily intake of this vitamin. Apples have also been found to lower cholesterol and protect against cancer, making them a real super food for your health.
Although carrots are available throughout the year, locally grown carrots are in season in the late summer and fall, when they are the freshest and most flavorful. Naturally sweet, delicious and crunchy, carrots also come with wholesome health benefiting compounds such as beta-carotenes, vitamin A, minerals and anti-oxidants in ample amounts. It’s due to these nutrients that they have been shown to prevent heart disease, reduce cholesterol levels, fight against ageing and give you beautiful glowing skin. Carrots are also great for helping you on your weight loss journey due to their respectable content of soluble fiber, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Sweet potatoes are particularly good for us at this time of year, when they are more abundant, as they contain vitamins C and D. These vitamins are crucial for our immune system and in the reduction of the stress-induced chemical cortisol, which holds onto fat stores in your abdominal region, plus vitamin D boosts mood and energy levels. A vitamin D deficiency makes it more difficult to lose weight, so at this time of year when the body produces less vitamin D due to a lack of sunlight, it’s important to incorporate more foods with vitamin D into your diet. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of mag-nesium, known as the relaxation and anti-stress mineral, which helps convert carbohydrates to energy, so a lack of magnesium could leave your energy levels feeling depleted.
There is a great weight of evidence showing that Oriental mushrooms, particularly shiitake, have many health benefits. Shiitake mushrooms have been found to contain a strong antiviral substance called lentinan that stimulates the immune system to such an extent, that in tests it proved more effective against the flu virus than a powerful antiviral drug, which is particularly important at this time of year.
Tests also show that the shiitake may help lower blood cholesterol and reduce the harmful effects of saturated fat. In one test, a group of 30 healthy women who ate three ounces of shiitake mushrooms every day for a week reduced their blood cholesterol by 12 per cent. Mushrooms are also great for weight loss, as they add a lot of flavor to dishes without adding many calories, plus they are 90% water, which means they help you feel fuller for longer.
Whether cooked or raw, onions are one of the most useful and flavorful ingredients in creating low-calorie, healthy dishes. Onions are a very good source of vitamin C, B6, biotin, chromium, calcium and dietary fiber, while they are especially good for the liver, the organ responsible for processing food into energy and breaking down fat. Onions have also been shown to have a significant blood sugar-lowering action, which is important while you’re on your weight loss journey, as to help stop cravings by controlling insulin levels.
Onions have a strong antibacterial activity, so they are great for helping with an inflamed throat, and they have been shown to thin the blood, lower cholesterol, raise good-type HDL cholesterol, ward off blood clots, fight asthma, chronic bronchitis, and diabetes.
In addition to antioxidants that battle toxins in the body, garlic contains phytochemicals which break down cholesterol and fatty deposits in the body, helping your body metabolize carbohydrates and fats more efficiently, while also stopping the body from creating more fat. Like onions, garlic is also a great way to add flavor to dishes without adding calories, so it’s a great ingredient to have ready for your dishes this fall.
Garlic’s health benefits include a lowered risk of cancer, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and help with respiratory problems, such as asthma, which can be worse for sufferers in colder weather. Daily use of garlic might also reduce the frequency and number of colds and its antibacterial properties help in treating throat irritations.
In fall, the natural changes in the world around us give us clues about the best foods to eat. We need more concentrated energy in the cooler autumn weather, and the denser foods of the autumn harvest. Plus, many of these foods have additional health benefits, which are important at this time of year when we are more likely to have to fight infections. Eating food when it’s in season is also good for your weight loss journey as you have the opportunity to experiment with new fresh seasonal produce, which tastes great, keeps you feeling full without adding calories, and supplies you with additional nutrients and vitamins.
We’d love to hear from you if you have any comments, or any recipes which include these great fall foods! Comment below!