Fall Food as Medicine

By Dr. Natalie Gentile

Happy September! It’s time not only for pumpkin flavored and scented everything, but for trying some Fall recipes and in-season ingredients. Possibly the most beautiful thing about fresh fruits and vegetables are the medicinal properties. Let’s talk about fresh produce that can really pack a punch for your health and wellbeing.

This month, lets talk about Fall Fruits

Apples

It has been said, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! As a doctor, I’m not sure what to make of that (wink, wink) but in all seriousness this fruit is impressive. Apples are a great source of fiber, especially when you leave the skin on. They are also jam packed with with polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. Think immune health, heart health, and gut health.

Cranberries

Cranberries are often seen on our thanksgiving spreads, but these berries can be consumed year round. Whether dried, cooked, or raw, cranberries are another great source of antioxidants. There have been studies showing the powerful effects of cranberries on stopping cancer growth in certain types of cancer, but these studies haven’t been done in humans yet. But it goes to show how scientists recognize the power of the whole fruit and its polyphenols, and are trying to figure out just how far this berry can take your health.

Pumpkin

Ok, here’s everybody’s fall favorite. Did you know that pumpkins are a type of fruit? I sure didn’t realize it. Pumpkin is an excellent source of beta carotene (part of what gives it the orange color), which is a powerful antioxidant. Our bodies turn beta carotene into vitamin A, and pumpkin boasts a major source of vitamin A. This vitamin is important in immune system function, especially important during flu and cold season!

Next month, we will talk about Fall vegetables and the 3 B’s: broccoli, beets, and brussel sprouts. Enjoy!