The Benefits of Fresh Produce
October is fast approaching, thus fresh apples, squash and pumpkin spice are abundant in Iowa! Apples have many positive nutritional benefits. Starting off, a medium sized apple is less than 100 calories, but is packed full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Apples make a great addition to breakfast, lunch or a mid-afternoon snack. Pairing apples with (1-2 tablespoons) of peanut butter or any nut butter is a well-rounded snack or a great post-workout snack because it contains carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat. The sugar in apples is considered a complex carbohydrate, which contributes to stabilizing energy and blood sugar! Additionally, apples are fairly reasonable compared to other fruit and when purchased in season (in Iowa) so you can really get your money’s worth!
Squash also have many nutritional benefits! Although there are early (Summer) squash available through Summer months, most people classify squash with gourds and pumpkins. Did you know zucchini is a type of squash? Overall, squash is rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and anti-inflammatory compounds.
So how does consuming apples, squash and other fresh produce this fall help our overall health?
Vitamins and minerals are found abundantly in fresh, whole food. Having a well-balanced diet, consuming fresh fruit and vegetables enhances and improves quality of life. A minimum amount of vitamins and minerals are needed for our body in order to function appropriately and overall be healthy. Moreover, vitamins are important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Fiber is essential to incorporate in our diets because it helps us feel satisfied and full, which helps control our appetite. As always, a well-balanced, whole-food eating plan along with exercise is the best way to increase or maintain bone strength and muscle mass. It also improves or maintains vision, stabilizes blood sugar, decreases high blood pressure, prevents cancer, improves digestive health and much much more.
Have fun with apples and squash throughout the month of October!
Contributed by Andrea Doster (Wellness Assistant)