By: Rena Ooi
Despite temperatures still reaching the 90’s most days, our internal and external environments are preparing for the crisp cooler weather of autumn. It is a time when we naturally gravitate towards hearty, warming meals such as casseroles, stews, and delicious roast dinners. Choosing to use locally sourced seasonal ingredients increases the nutritional content of those meals while supporting our local farming community. Our bodies recognize and assimilate the naturally occurring phytonutrients in food rather than their synthetic forms. Considering approximately 80% of our immune system resides in the gut, we actually can help our bodies fend off invading seasonal threats by feeding them high quality nutrients. By adding in some of the foods below, we can improve our health this winter. I have included some simple recipes from Chef Jenny of Seeds of Success, a well-known face at the Nolensville Farmers market. If you would like to try more recipes like these, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apples are nutritional powerhouses leading to the well-known phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While that may not be entirely truthful, they do pack a lot of nutrients into a small, sweet package. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. An apple may contain 5g of fiber which is 20% of the recommended daily amount.
Carrots are another superior source of phytonutrients for maintaining optimal body function. They contain beta-Carotene which gives carrots their bright color. Beta-Carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body which is necessary for healthy skin, immune system, and eye function. Carrots also contain fiber, vitamin K, potassium and high water content.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another root vegetable and one of my personal favorites. Each one packs in an impressive amount of vitamin A and potassium. They also contain fiber, vitamins B6 and C, calcium and iron.
Mushrooms are fungi and may be used in place of meat in some dishes. They may not be brightly colored but they sure contain many micronutrients which actually survive the cooking process. These include ~copper, potassium, folate, niacin and selenium, all of which are vital for healthy cell function.
The cabbage plant is a member of the Brassica family which also includes broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. This family of veggies is known for its disease fighting benefits with numerous studies showing that their consumption may reduce the incidence of both heart disease and many cancers. They contain vitamins A, C, and K; calcium; potassium and magnesium. Cabbage may be fermented and provides a valuable source of probiotics or healthy gut bacteria which improves immune function.
Below are 2 recipes that I hope you will try. They incorporate some of the foods mentioned above and provide a healthy, delicious “dose” of plant-based medicine.