From back-to-school activities to holiday preparations, fall can keep your schedule absolutely packed. And the stress of a busy day can do a number on your health. That’s why it’s important to strengthen your immune system this time of year. These are our eight favorite fall health boosters to help keep you feeling your best all the way to winter.
Apples are a handy fall snack, a great salad topper and can be baked
for a special treat. They also have some surprising health benefits.
Apple skins contain a special compound called triterpenoids. According to the Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology,
triterpenoids could prevent the growth of some cancers including colon,
breast, prostate, and melanoma. An apple a day just might keep the doctor away!
Hot cocoa can do more for your body then simply warm it up. The main
ingredient in homemade hot cocoa, unsweetened cocoa powder is a
nutritional rock star!
Cocoa powder contains a wealth of plant-based compounds called
flavonoids. Flavonoids function as antioxidants and can help prevent
systemic inflammation, a condition associated with many chronic
diseases. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that a flavonoid found in cocoa, epicatechin, can help reduce blood pressure.
The warm, vibrant flavor of cinnamon is perfect for a cool fall day. There are plenty of reasons to love cinnamon: it emboldens the taste of baked goods and can add the perfect kick to many savory ethnic dishes like Moroccan tagines.
Did you know that cinnamon also has an impact on your blood sugar? An article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that seasoning a high-carb food with cinnamon can help reduce its negative effects on your blood sugar level after a meal, so you won’t experience an energy dip.
You may only associate avocados
with summertime foods, but this rich, green fruit is actually in season
during the fall months too. Avocados make for a wonderful addition to
many types of dishes, from salads to a bowl of chili. You can even use
avocado as a healthy substitute for butter when baking.
While their delicious flavor may be motivation enough to eat them, there are numerous benefits as well. In 2013, the Nutrition Journal
published a 7-year study that associated eating avocados with a reduced
risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition shown to increase the risk of
stroke, coronary artery disease and diabetes.
Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids can be a challenge. Instead of
turning to expensive supplements, snack on walnuts. One-quarter cup of
walnuts will give you over 100 percent of the recommended daily value of
plant-based omega-3 fats. Diets rich in omega-3 fats are associated
with lowered risk of diseases like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis,
depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Walnuts are great for trail mixes, salads and baked goods. When
cooking and eating walnuts, try to leave the flaky outer shell or skin
intact. It’s thought that the white skin contains about 90 percent of
the antioxidants found in walnuts.
Warming up with a cup of green tea on a brisk fall morning is a
wonderful way to start the day. In addition to its mild and refreshing
taste, green tea is teeming with antioxidants. Polyphenols, natural
chemicals found in the tea, are believed to have anti-inflammatory and
Even though Thanksgiving is behind us, don’t forget about pumpkin! The famed fall gourd can be used as a low-calorie substitute for oil or egg when baking. You can swap an equal amount of pumpkin for the amount of butter or oil required in a recipe and save on fat and calories. To create egg-free baked goods, use a quarter-cup of canned pumpkin in place of each egg.
Pumpkin is a rich source of many valuable nutrients. A half-cup of pumpkin has four grams of fiber and only 40 calories. Pumpkin gets its bold, orange color from high levels of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a cancer-fighting antioxidant that boosts your immune system, supports vision health, and protects your skin from sun damage.
Soups made with fresh ingredients can make for a filling and nutrient dense fall lunch. Eating soup can actually help you eat less throughout the day. Researchers at Purdue University found that people who eat soup tend to eat fewer total calories in a day. For nutritious options, check our 5 favorite healthy soup recipes.