Have you ever wondered why certain vegetables are more abundant in certain seasons? I find it amazing how nature’s produce cycle supports our body’s needs, and gently leads us from season to season. For example, our bodies require more water in the summer months, and summer vegetables, such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers, help us stay hydrated and cool. In the fall, transition veggies, such as root vegetables, help us acclimate to the upcoming cooler months. Pretty cool, right?

    There are many reasons to eat seasonally (and locally, if you can). Seasonal eating is kinder to the environment, requiring fewer pesticides and chemicals to nurture growth. When food has to grow outside its natural season, farmers need to grow a greater supply so there’s more produce to pick from to meet the cosmetic standards set by traditional grocery stores. Using harmful chemicals to secure out-of-season harvests is often standard procedure. Eating seasonal produce is a more earth-friendly choice, that’s also healthier for you.

    Selecting seasonal produce also reduces the use of preservatives, since seasonal foods, especially when grown locally, are fresher and travel less distance. That also reduces fuel and transportation costs – often called “food mileage” or “food’s carbon footprint.”
    So enjoy some of your favorites or be adventurous and try something new! Eating a variety will help to provide you with the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy this season!

    Get to know your veggies! Check out the fabulous benefits of Fall's bounty below:

    Beets – Lettuce Turnip the Beet!  The entire beet is edible – even its leaves and roots!

    Benefits:

    • Fiber– Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels
    • Folate – Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function
    • Manganese – Helps prevent osteoporosis and inflammation
    • Vitamin C– Protects against immune system deficiencies
    • Potassium – Aids in nerve and muscle function
    • Protein (yes! protein) – Used to build and repair muscle tissue

    Broccoli – Broccoli is a cancer fighting cruciferous superfood!

    Benefits:

    • Fiber – Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels
    • Protein (yes! protein) – Used to build and repair muscle tissue
    • Vitamin A – Plays an important role in bone growth
    • Vitamin C – Protects against immune system deficiencies
    • Folate – Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function
    • Iron – Helps produce healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body
    • Potassium – Aids in nerve and muscle function
    • Omega-3 fatty acids – Helps improve brain function, metabolism, and bone, skin and hair growth

    Brussel Sprouts  – Brussel sprouts are the most hated vegetable in the U.S. but slowly gaining in popularity as people begin to appreciate them for the cancer fighting cruciferous superfood they are!

    Benefits:

    • Vitamin C– Protects against immune system deficiencies
    • Vitamin K – Anti-inflammatory
    • Folate – Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function
    • Manganese – Helps prevent osteoporosis and inflammation
    • Vitamin B6 – Promotes overall growth and good health by converting carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. Also helps develop a healthy brain.
    • Vitamin B1 (thiamin)– Provides energy to the body by helping convert carbohydrates to energy
    • Potassium– Aids in nerve and muscle function
    • Omega-3 fatty acids – Helps improve brain function, metabolism, and bone, skin and hair growth

    Carrots

    Benefits:

    • Vitamin A – One cup of carrots provides over 400% of your daily Vitamin A! Plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin, and reducing inflammation through fighting free radical damage.
    • Potassium – Aids in nerve and muscle function
    • Vitamin K – Helps blood to clot, plays essential role in building strong bones and helps prevent heart disease
    • Vitamin E – Helps protect the heart and eyes
    • Fiber – Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels

    Celery – Celery is a very challenging crop to grow because it takes about 140 days to harvest!

    Benefits:

    • Fiber – Aids in digestion (acts like a natural “broom.” Just as if more effective than most OTC remedies) and regulates blood sugar levels.
    • Antioxidants – Aids in cardiovascular health, brain function (including memory) and cancer prevention
    • Vitamin Bs – Promotes overall growth and good health by converting carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy.
    • Vitamin A (in the leaves) – Plays an important role in bone growth
    • Phytochemicals – Help prevent and fight cancer.

    Eggplant – Like a tomato, the eggplant is also considered a fruit and a nightshade vegetable. It contains solanine, which in large amounts, for some, can cause inflammation and stiff joints.

    Benefits:

    • Manganese – Helps prevent osteoporosis
    • Thiamin – Provides energy to the body by helping convert carbohydrates to energy.
    • Fiber – Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels
    • Folate – Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function
    • Vitamin K – Helps blood to clot, plays essential role in building strong bones and helps prevent heart disease
    • Protein – (yes! protein) – Used to build and repair muscle tissue

    Kale – A cancer fighting cruciferous superfood!

    Benefits:

    • Vitamin A Plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin, and reducing inflammation through fighting free radical damage.
    • Vitamin K – Helps blood to clot, plays essential role in building strong bones and helps prevent heart disease
    • Vitamin C – Protects against immune system deficiencies
    • Folate – Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function
    • Fiber – Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels
    • Calcium – Builds and maintains strong and healthy bones
    • Potassium – Aids in nerve and muscle function
    • Vitamin E – Helps protect the heart and eyes
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Helps improve brain function, metabolism, and bone, skin and hair growth
    • Protein – Used to build and repair muscle tissue

    Mushrooms

    Benefits:

    • Vitamin D – Known as the “Sunshine vitamin.” Mushrooms (grown outdoors in the sunshine) are the only vegetables that can make vitamin D. They con­tain a precursor that is converted into vitamin D when exposed to the sun
    • Fiber – Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels
    • Vitamin C – Protects against immune system deficiencies
    • Folate – Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function
    • Vitamin B2, B3, B5 – Promotes overall growth and good health by converting carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy.
    • Copper – Helps prevent osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease
    • Selenium – Acts as a powerful antioxidant
    • Phosphorous – Works with calcium to promote strong bones and teeth
    • Potassium – Aids in nerve and muscle function
    • Protein – Used to build and repair muscle tissue
    • Iron – Helps produce healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body

    Peppers – Red, orange and yellow bell peppers are just ripened green peppers! It's true! They start out green, and change color (and sweeten) as they ripen from green peppers to yellow then to orange then red! Which is your favorite?

    Benefits:

    • Vitamin C – Protects against immune system deficiencies
    • Vitamin A Plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin, and reducing inflammation through fighting free radical damage.
    • Folate – Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function
    • Vitamin B6 – Promotes overall growth and good health by converting carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. B6 also helps develop a healthy brain.
    • Vitamin E – Helps protect the heart and eyes
    • Fiber – Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels 

    Potatoes – There are over 4300 varieties of potatoes!

    Benefits:

    • Vitamin C – Protects against immune system deficiencies
    • Vitamin B6 – Promotes overall growth and good health by converting carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. B6 also helps develop a healthy brain.
    • Potassium – Aids in nerve and muscle function
    • Manganese – Helps prevent osteoporosis and inflammation
    • Folate – Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function
    • Fiber – Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels
    • Protein – Used to build and repair muscle tissue
    • Iron – Helps produce healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body

    Pumpkin – The largest pumpkin in North America weighs in at 2,261.5 pounds!

    Benefits: 

    • Vitamin A – Plays an important role in bone growth
    • Fiber – Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels
    • Vitamin C – Protects against immune system deficiencies
    • Potassium – Aids in nerve and muscle function
    • Iron – Helps produce healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body
    • Calcium – Builds and maintains strong and healthy bones
    • Protein – Used to build and repair muscle tissue

    Turnips – Don’t throw away the leafy green tops — they are the most nutritious part!

    Benefits: 

    • Vitamin C – Protects against immune system deficiencies
    • Vitamin B6 – Promotes overall growth and good health by converting carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. B6 also helps develop a healthy brain.
    • Vitamin A – Plays an important role in bone growth Protects Eye Health.
    • Vitamin K – Helps blood to clot, plays essential role in building strong bones and helps prevent heart disease
    • Calcium – Builds and maintains strong and healthy bones
    • Manganese – Helps prevent osteoporosis and inflammation
    • Fiber – Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels

    Which Fall veggies are you eating today? For the nutritional value of more seasonal vegetables in your region this Fall, check out the Seasonal Food Guide – https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/