by Susan Schachter, MSRDN September 24, 2021 3 min read
Autumn has arrived! We will soon be seeing the beautifully changing colors of fall foliage, cooler temperatures, opportunities for a nice change of wardrobe, beautiful fall produce, and cozy gatherings.
The opportunities for positively impacting our health are plentiful. Let’s take advantage of as many of them as we can.
The weather is cooler, crisper and the weather will still be beautiful for a while, so consider going for a walk or a run, or maybe try parking your car further away from the office or house. As we’ve discussed before, trying to get in as little as 30 minutes a day of walking—even if it’s broken up into 10 minute intervals—can have a sizable impact on your weight, your blood pressure, your overall cardiovascular health, your brain health, and your mental health.
The deep and richly colored kinds of produce that are available in fall tend to be great for our health. Cranberries, pumpkin, beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, pomegranate, spinach, swiss chard, apples, acorn/butternut/delicata squash... that's just to name a few!
And some of these items have a specifically positive impact in terms of helping to normalize our blood pressure: Cranberries. Beetroot. Pomegranate. Sound familiar? Half the main ingredients in 120/Life. Hooray for Autumn!
In addition to all of the phenolic compounds, anti-inflammatories, potassium, fiber, and vitamins in the flesh of this produce, some of them have other attributes. For instance, pumpkin has edible seeds that are a very good source of magnesium, and as we know from previous installments of The Circulatory, magnesium is very helpful in normalizing blood pressure too.
Now, of course autumn brings with it pumpkin everything. We need to have our “thinking/evaluating” hat on for some of these. Pumpkin soup can be delicious and nourishing. Pumpkin lattes, uh... not so much. Just an FYI, a venti pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks contains 470 calories, 15g fat, 280mg sodium, 65g carbs and 62g sugar! Drinking 2 of these a week for just the duration of Autumn would have you gain approximately 3.5lbs if you did nothing else differently!
Autumn also abounds with opportunities for some fun activities that we should approach with awareness when it comes to serving our health. For instance, football season started on the 9th and the World Series is on October 26th! Those could be great opportunities for a fun get-together with friends, whether that's at the stadium or at home. But since we're not the athletes burning hundreds or thousands of calories, we should be mindful about not overindulging in customary snacks and treats!
That being said, that doesn’t mean we can’t have some foods that we don’t usually indulge in. I’m not someone who believes we can’t make food exceptions! My suggestion would be to put some healthy food in your belly first (like fruits, veggies, bean dip, salsa etc.) and then, when you do choose something to eat that’s less nourishing, fill your plate once and savor every bite. We actually stop tasting food we’re eating after 2 or 3 bites!
So let’s Fall into good health! Let’s minimize the empty and inflammatory calories of excess sugar and/or unhealthy fat in candy, in apple cider, in fried foods and high salt foods and “food-like substances”! Instead, let’s take advantage of the enticing beauty of Fall produce and Fall weather. Maybe an apple a day—and/or a 120/Life a day!
Here’s to your health!
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