Fall foods with skin and body benefits
There are so many reasons to fill your plate with “in season” produce. First, it’s likely fresher and has been naturally ripened as opposed to being grown in another hemisphere and shipped to your current location. (This is good for your body as well as the environment.) As a result, you can expect more flavor as well as extra nutrients.
The fall season brings a bounty of fruits and vegetables that can have far-reaching benefits for your body and skin. From antioxidants to fiber, think of these options as a cornucopia that promotes skin and overall body health from the inside out.
You know what all of these orange-hued vegetables have in common? Their color is due to high concentrations of beta carotene, which is a vitamin-A (retinol) precursor. Vitamin A offers incredible benefits for the skin such as improving the appearance of acne and wrinkles (as well as for your vision and immune system).
In addition to vitamin A, pumpkin is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and folate, which work together to bolster the immune system. This gourd’s natural potassium can help with blood pressure while lowering the risk of stroke, kidney stones and type 2 diabetes as well. Unsalted pumpkin seeds also boast minerals and plant sterols that raise HDL “good” cholesterol levels. Pumpkin seeds also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps make a chemical called serotonin. In addition to making you feel good, serotonin is also a key player in promoting good sleep.
High in both fiber and antioxidants that help protect the body from damage caused by internal and external free radicals, sweet potatoes serve as a potent natural source of vitamin A. Additional essential nutrients found in sweet potatoes include potassium and manganese along with vitamins B3, B5 and E. Fun fact: The richer the color (whether you choose orange, red or purple sweet potatoes), the higher the antioxidant activity.
In addition to providing more than 100% of women and men’s daily recommended allowance of vitamin A in just one serving, it’s packed with potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and more. Beyond playing a role in a healthy complexion, other health benefits of butternut squash include reducing blood pressure, lowering colon cancer risk (thanks to beta carotene), managing diabetes and promoting gut health.
Traditional fall herbs and spices can also enhance your skin-improving efforts. Whether adding a dash to already-prepared foods or using them into your recipes, these beneficial spices can be incorporated into many dishes–and keep you on the right track for healthier, more resilient skin.
With so many ways to use cinnamon, there’s no excuse for not tapping into its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. This spice has also been shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels and possibly cut the risk of heart disease.
With magnesium, folate, fiber, vitamin B6 and manganese in every dash, it’s worth incorporating this spice into your recipes year-round. It has also been shown to help calm the mind and improve digestion.
This antioxidant-rich super-spice has far reaching skin and overall health benefits. It can help reduce pain and inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, improve mood and lower cholesterol. Whether consumed in the form of tea or broth, used as a seasoning or part of a spice rub for marinating fish and meat, it may enhance your skin’s radiant glow as well.