Raise your hand if fall food is your favorite food. My hand is up, up, up on this one. We are so lucky here in Colorado to have tomatoes still bursting with ripeness, squash flourishing, and all the greens we can handle while the peaches of summer still line the farmers market stands. And soon – the pumpkins will be ready to go into pies and lattes. Okay, the lattes are already happening, but I’m ignoring it. Too soon!
While I’m not ready to spice and froth their essence quite yet, pumpkins are nutritional powerhouses. High in antioxidants, they can improve cardiovascular health, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and bone health. Pumpkins contain vitamin A which protects your eyes from cataracts and degeneration. Combine all of that with the vitamin C in pumpkins and you’ve got yourself one heck of an immunity booster. So many fall foods belong on the list of things we use to stay healthy. Here’s a list of some of my favorite seasonal ingredients and one of my favorite ways to get all the nutrition they promise into my family.
Fresh ginger is high in antioxidants and rich in gingerol, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidative compound, which supports our immune systems and mitigates the effects of stress.
Raw garlic can significantly reduce blood pressure and is a natural antibiotic. Processing destroys most of these health benefits so try raw, fresh minced, or Toum instead.
Every pirate knows that citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. But they are also dripping with vitamins D and A, both of which figure heavily into healthy immune function.
Maple syrup is a great source of calcium, zinc, magnesium, and potassium as well as polyphenols. A diet rich in polyphenols helps reduce inflammation and supports a healthy immune system. Maple syrup also contains inulin, a fiber that aids in healthy digestive and immune systems.
Fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna) contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which can enhance immune function and increase your body’s ability to ward off illnesses. Which brings us to my favorite way to get all of these tasty bits of nutrition into my family. Even the ones among them who were afflicted by the lamentable condition of “not liking salmon” before we discovered this delightful “I can’t even taste the fish” dish.
Orange Maple Glazed Salmon
- 4 salmon fillets (I use frozen)
- 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (feel free to replace zest and juice with oj concentrate. One tablespoon will do the trick)
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat broiler. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray generously with non-stick cooking spray. Place salmon, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together syrup, orange juice and zest, mustard, half the garlic, half the ginger, salt and pepper. Brush mixture over salmon. Broil for 7-10 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily fork and reaches desired level of doneness. Sprinkle the remaining garlic and ginger on top of the salmon before serving.
Bonus wellness boost – serve with broccoli and some bell peppers on the side. The rich colors of bell peppers mean they are high in healthy micronutrients. You can get twice as much vitamin C from bell peppers than the equivalent amount of citrus fruit, and they pack an immune boosting Vitamin A punch as well. For the broccoli, cook it gently until just softening and still bright green so it retains as much of the delicious vitamins A, C, E, and antioxidants it came with.
This fall let’s do ALL the things we can to keep ourselves and our village healthy. Talk to your doctor about immunizations – not only against COVID and the flu but anything else you may have missed – hydrate, sleep, exercise, and let’s relish in all the delicious ways we can also eat well.
Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness, the original online wellness mentoring system. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant, and that it is only possible to do our best work in the world if we make a daily commitment to our health. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.