Ask any trainer about working your way into shape and a healthier lifestyle and they will tell you that you can't exercise enough to overcome a bad diet. Exercise is certainly an important part of living well, but it is an uphill climb if it's not accompanied by nutritional food choices.
That's the thought behind Polk Medical Center's partnership with the Rockmart Farmers Market. We're working together to develop strategies that will help get locally grown fruits and vegetables into the hands of students and others in the community who need them most.
Fall is a great time to do that because there are some great options available as the weather begins to cool and the leaves begin to change, which will happen sooner than you think.
Let's look at some of those healthy choices.
Is there any fruit that says fall quite like an apple? If you go bobbing for one, make sure you finish it off because apples are rich in antioxidants—particularly vitamin C. Vitamin C strengthens our immune systems and may even reduce our risk of cancer. Plus, apples also help lower cholesterol.
Ok, maybe we were wrong about apples being the most quintessential fall fruit. Linus would likely try to convince Charlie Brown that pumpkins are great enough to hold that title. He may be right because pumpkins have far more value than as just candle holders on your October porch. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A, which can help improve vision. Pumpkins are also packed with compounds called phytosterols, which can lower bad cholesterol.
Figs are loaded with potassium, which works to balance the negative effects of salt, making them a great choice for those who are trying to manage their blood pressure. Figs are also a great source of fiber, which can help decrease cholesterol, prevent constipation and help control blood sugar.
Like figs, pears are a good source of fiber. Plus, pears have recently been shown to offer additional benefits. They are high in a key compound called flavonoids. Flavanoids can improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, flavonoids have also been shown to assist in weight management.
You don't have to save sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving. This fall treat is rich in vitamin A and is also a great solution if you are trying to get more iron in your diet. And, here's a tip: roasting them allows you to maintain more of the vitamin benefits than boiling them, so give that a shot.
These are just a few of the many great options available to you when fall rolls around and you can find many of them at the Rockmart Farmers Market every Thursday afternoon. So, don't stop going to the gym or the park, but also add these super fall foods to your diet and you'll find yourself looking and feeling even better.