Welcome to September! The 2012 fall harvest brings to us gorgeous looking fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden and into your local food market. One of my favorite fruits of the season is luscious, sweet tasting red grapes grown locally at this time of year. They contain the heart healthy antioxidant, resveratrol, among others. In a study published by the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology in December 2009 entitled “Grapes, wines, resveratrol and heart health”, researchers studied the positive effects of antioxidants and proanthocyanidins found in the skin and seeds of the grapes, respectively, and discovered these were the chemicals responsible for protecting the heart from cardiovascular disease (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19770673).
My favorite vegetable of the season is butternut squash. This high fiber member of the pumpkin family contains loads of vitamin A for the eyes, vitamin C for wound healing, and minerals such as potassium for the heart. It also contains a rich supply of B-complex vitamins that help many functions in the body, as in processing proteins that involve the heart, nervous system and cell structure, (http://www.livestrong.com/article/386063-b-complex-vitamin-benefits/).
These are just my favorites, including a variety of fruits and vegetables to your daily diet will insure a healthy body this fall and every day. If you just added TWO extra servings of fruits or vegetables per day to your diet, whatever the amount you eat now, even if it isn’t any, studies show you can reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes (http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/04/26/us-fruit-veggies-tied-to-lower-diabetes-idINBRE83P14620120426) .
Ideally, the recommendation is for 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day or 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit EVERY DAY! That is more than the earlier 5-a-day recommendation and many people have grown up disliking fruits and vegetables from habit or poor cooking techniques of long ago. Don’t let a bad experience from childhood prevent you from staying healthy as an adult. That includes not passing along your past experiences onto your children and grandchildren.
Today there are creative ways to include fruits and vegetables into your diet such as fruit and vegetable salads, salsas, and smoothies. I have included a recipe for a Green Smoothie that includes bananas, peaches, non-fat milk or yogurt and ice. The secret ingredient is baby spinach which provides lots of antioxidants as well as the green coloring. Learn more about fruits and vegetables at the following website and take the fruits and vegetable challenge: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/take-the-fruit-and-vegetable-challenge.
Recipe for Green Smoothie
2 Bananas, 2 Peaches, Non-fat milk, ice, 3 cups of Baby Spinach
Put fruit in blender until smooth- add enough liquid till texture is right then add baby spinach
blend some more until color is even. Add more water or ice as needed.
Amount equals 2 servings.(adapted from the American Diabetes Association)