We often refer to autumn as a transitional season. It marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter, the passage from high to lower temperatures, as well as from carefree and summery mood to the daily routine and its obligations. Our mood changes, we have less free time and gradually become overwhelmed by all our duties and responsibilities. Somewhere in between all these changes, nutrition comes to support us, helping our body to cope with the new conditions. There are plenty of tasty and nutritious choices of seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables that benefit the human body.
The importance of nutrition in autumn
Eating healthy and properly during autumn is particularly important. On the one hand, it will help the body to recover from the not-so-healthy summer habits (junk food, drinking, poor sleep). On the other, it will help it to adapt and boost its defenses for winter. One of the most important objectives of an autumn diet is to support and enhance the function of the immune system so as to fight against viruses that appear in the autumn months and peak during winter.
In autumn, the human organism becomes more vulnerable (the drop in temperature as well as indoors gatherings are evidence of this). Therefore, it is important to make healthy and nutritious food choices. Adequate intake of antioxidants helps to strengthen the immune system naturally. Thus, we should enrich our diet with fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, fighting against free radicals, while also strengthening our body’s defenses. Most of the time, antioxidants give fruits and vegetables their characteristic colors (red, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple). Red-colored foods provide lycopene and polyphenols. Large amounts of carotenoids are loaded on fruits and vegetables with a yellow or orange color. Green ones are rich in chlorophyll and polyphenols, while those that are blue or purple are rich in anthocyanins. By incorporating a variety of colors into our diet, we can ensure the intake of all essential antioxidants.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables
In September, we find an abundance of grapes, figs, plums, pears, apples, red onions, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchinis, okras, walnuts and pistachios. In October, we eat grapes, pomegranates, apples, lettuce, carrots, spinach, almonds and walnuts, while November is abundant in pears, apples, pomegranates, mandarins, oranges, lemons, hazelnuts, chestnuts and almonds.
It is always a good idea to accompany our main meals with a salad and snack on fresh fruits or nuts. Doing that, we will make sure that we have consumed the recommended daily 5 portions of fruits and vegetables, which provide vitamins and fiber, also hydrating the body. In addition, we should always add a bit of olive oil to our salads to benefit from the so-called ‘fat-soluble’ vitamins. Finally, it is important to take small and frequent meals· eating regularly ensures that the body receives sufficient energy and nutrients, thus not feeling deprived and, therefore, caring out all its functions normally.
For sure, we stay adequately hydrated, since water regulates body temperature, aids in transporting and utilizing water-soluble vitamins, eliminates toxins and waste substances from the body, and hydrates the skin along with other tissues. Finally, we find ways out of the anxiety and stress that often overwhelm us by incorporating a form of physical activity into our daily routine. It is a fact that the combination of a balanced diet with exercise leads to good physical and mental health. Hence, they are our best allies for well-being throughout the year!