Superfoods by the Season

by Angela Yorke | September 24th, 2012 | Diet Strategy, Superfoods

Based on available knowledge, it would be remiss to exclude superfoods from your diet if you want to eat more healthfully. That said, you should also remember that, like other “non-super” foods, superfoods are seasonal too.

Eating superfoods when they’re in season allows you to reap the maximum nutritional benefits from said foods. This is because in contrast to produce cultivated out of season in hothouses in other countries, produce that is harvested when it should be is more affordable, flavorful, and suffers from less (if any) loss of nutrients compared to produce that spends time being transported to its point of sale.

One example of a superfood that is in season in the late summer/early autumn is the apple. Favored largely because they are excellent in pies (in my opinion), apples are antioxidant-rich, aiding in the repair of free radical-induced cellular damage, which in turns helps to reduce the likelihood of lifestyle and age-related diseases. They are also an excellent source of fiber, ensuring the digestive tract isn’t overworked.

Tomatoes are also (still) in season in late summer. Like apples, they are rich in antioxidants, and contain the carotenoids, lycopene and beta-carotene, which reduce a person’s chances of developing heart disease. In particular, lycopene reduces the risk of certain cancers significantly.

Blueberries are another mainstay of summer. Harvested fresh during the summer, blueberries in season can be frozen so that their antioxidant benefits, such as reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, can be enjoyed during the winter months. Like apples and tomatoes, blueberries reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, as well as possess anti-inflammatory properties. This last property is important because inflammation features in a number of chronic diseases.

Blandly colored in comparison to other superfoods, cucumbers aid protein digestion because they contain the enzyme erepsin. On a more superficial note, they improve the appearance of the skin, nails, and hair because they contain silica, vitamin C, and caffeic acid. Silica ensures the health of the connective tissues (muscles, cartilage, tendons, etc.), while the latter two prevent water retention. Their high water content makes cucumbers a superfood for the skin as well.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.