Ever wondered why you crave certain foods? One reason is the change in seasons. According to Integrative Nutrition founder Joshua Rosenthal, our bodies seek foods that balance out the elements of the season. In fall, he says, people crave grounding foods such as squash. In summer, on the other hand, people tend to crave cooling foods like fruits and ice cream.
Eating seasonally is a great way to align your internal clock and live in harmony with yourself, your body, and the earth. (It also happens to be less expensive, and ensures you’re eating the most nutrient-dense, flavorful foods available!)
Now that summer is winding down and fall is officially here on September 22, here are five seasonal foods to add to your diet.
Squash comes in many varieties, whether you’re in the mood for acorn, butternut or the fall staple, pumpkin. Squash is chock-full of vitamin A and can decrease blood pressure. Pumpkin in particular is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help prevent cataracts. And pumpkin seeds are loaded with L-tryptophan amino acid, which increases serotonin and as a result elevates your mood. This fall, try recipes including sweet and spicy triple squash soup and acorn squash with applesauce. For dessert, check out these vegan pumpkin brownies.
If you’re tired of your usual greens, cook up some Swiss chard for lots of vitamins K and A, as well as potassium and iron. In general, dark leafy greens can strengthen your immune system, prevent cancer, improve circulation and more. Cozy up this fall with a bowl of this lentil, Swiss chard and potato soup, or simply sauté the greens with some onions as a side to your next dinner.
Figs are loaded with fiber, potassium and vitamin K. Visiting teachers at IIN swear by dried figs as a healthy go-to staple to keep in your cupboard. Figs are more commonly found dried vs. fresh at grocery stores, but either way the fruit is very nutritious. Put figs in your salads or make oatmeal fig bars (via Making Thyme for Health) for a sweet treat.
Mushrooms contain powerful antioxidants—in fact, as many as pumpkins and carrots. They also have selenium, which, according to Medical News Today, is rarely found in most fruits and vegetables and has the power to fight cancer. Mushrooms also produce vitamins D2, D3 and D4. Check out this recipe for vegan stuffed mushrooms to get an early start on your Thanksgiving menu.
This vitamin-rich superfood has been known to prevent and treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol and inflammation. And studies have found that the antioxidants in pomegranate juice are even more potent than in red wine and green tea. Mix together this salad with apples, walnuts and pomegranate seeds via Epicurious for an extra dose of fall foods.
What’s your favorite fall food? Let us know in the comments below.