October has arrived and this means we are well and truly into the months of Spring. As we move further into the season, a number of new fruits and vegetables become readily available and this means a whole lot easier on the hip pocket – especially the organic ones! Below I have included a list of some of the seasonal fruits and vegetables available during the months of October. Just reading over their health benefits, reinforces why it is so important to have a diet rich in cancer-fighting, anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables. Eat ‘em up!
Most of our September produce listed here is still available. Jump on over for a quick read / refresher and fill up your plates with all of this organic goodness.
Support your local farmer’s and get down to your local farmer’s market for a range of seasonal produce. Don’t know where to start? Check out this list of my own personal favourites.
Not only are they crisp and delicious, Cucumbers are 95% water which makes them excellent for replacing fluids lost through sweating. Eating foods with a high water content such as cucumbers is one way to protect against dehydration.
Cucumber is also an excellent source of silica, which is known to help promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues. Cucumbers are also rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. A diet rich in potassium protects you from high blood pressure.
To get the maximum health benefits of eating cucumbers, it’s best to eat them unpeeled because the outer skin is a good source of fibre and minerals. Conventional cucumbers may be waxed and have pesticide residues on their skin which can be difficult to remove, so it’s safest to buy organic.
Pop them in a salad or green smoothie.
Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. B vitamins also play an important role in the maintenance of a healthy nervous system.
Mushrooms are also a source of essential minerals like that of Selenium and Potassium.
Selenium is a mineral that works as an antioxidant to protect body cells from damage that might lead to heart disease, some cancers and other diseases of ageing. It also has been found to be important for thyroid health, immune system and fertility in men. Many foods of animal origin are good sources of selenium, but mushrooms are among the richest sources of selenium. This is good news for vegetarians, whose sources of selenium are limited.
Potassium is an important mineral many people do not get enough of. It aids in the maintenance of normal fluid and mineral balance, which helps control blood pressure. It also plays a role in making sure nerves and muscles, including the heart, function properly.
Also known as Swiss Chard, Silver-beet is one of the best vegetable sources for vitamin-K: a 100 g serve of Swiss Chard provides about 700% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity.
Swiss chard contains a high amount of fibre and protein, both of which help stabilize blood sugar levels and hence, maintain a healthy weight.
Baby spinach has a higher nutrient content than virtually any other food. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it is also concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium. Cooked spinach is also a source of calcium and iron.
Cooking spinach for up to 1 minute actually increases its health benefits. Just half a cup of cooked spinach will give you thrice as much nutrition as one cup of raw spinach. Cooked spinach is easier for the body to break down and absorb.
HOT TIP: Place spinach on your ‘organic shopping’ list, because the leaf tends to be sprayed heavily with pesticides that don’t come off with normal washing. It falls into the top 12 most heavily sprayed crops worldwide.
Polyphenols provide a blueberry with it’s rich blue colour. These polyphenols also provide the berry with most of it’s antioxidant properties. For those of you who don’t understand the meaning the antioxidants look at it this way: oxidation means to rust and hence antioxidants are anti-rust. They are essential for the repair and growth of the human body. Blueberries are also rich in Manganese, Fibre and Vitamin C. To get the full benefits of Blueberries, your best bet is to buy them raw and 100% organic.
Although available throughout the year, grapefruits are at their best from winter through early spring.
Grapefruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C, a vitamin that helps to support the immune system. Vitamin C also prevents the free radical damage that triggers inflammation and has been known to reduce the severity of asthma, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The rich colours of the pink and red grapefruit are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. Among the common dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells and accelerate ageing and disease.
The Grapefruit also contains a soluble fibre called pectin that has been shown in animal studies to slow down the progression of atherosclerosis. A number of studies has linked both white and red grapefruit to the reduction of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, whilst red grapefruit has been known to lower triglycerides as well. Add them to your salad and smoothies.
My favourite part of the Pineapple is that it contains the proteolytic enzyme bromelain that assists us with the break down of complex protein. If you struggle with digesting protein, this may be something you would be willing to try. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that consumption of pineapple regularly helps fight against arthritis, indigestion and worm infestation.