And you should try it too.
This is SERIOUSLY the most critical time to speak about food. No, not because summer is over and that we “have to “go back to good habits. NO! But for real, just like that, we went from “Happy New Yeeeaaaar” to “So what’s the plan for Halloween?”. 2020 is this strange, weird year where we had no spring and the shortest and weirdest summer. And there we are: the weather is cooling amazingly quickly, and fall settled faster it takes a kid to open a gift on a Christmas morning or quicker than it takes me to finish an avocado toast.
What and why do we need to read/learn about this?
- With the temperature dropping pretty quickly and starting to cool down so fast that by the time this blog will be published, we will have lost 1 degree less than when I started typing it. Consequently, that doesn’t make me a slow typer but truly makes us more vulnerable to catch the notorious seasonal cold because of the fluctuation from warm sunny afternoons to cool, breezy evenings.
- Well, the season has earned its name, leaves fall from their mommy tree, and we lose progressively much of the sunlight. And although we are all happy to wear jeans again and breathe out of the summer humidity, the seasonal depression and the autumn blues are real and affect many of us. Either for climate reasons or just because it’s hard to say goodbye to all the chill and vacay vibes of Mr all good and perfect summer.
- Back to school, back to the office, maybe back to the city, and add to that the bonus pressure we have this year of the uncertainty related to COVID gives all sense to the classic “Wake me up when September ends” song. It’s a fact, no one wants to deal with all the planning/back on track/ a.k.a the stress and anxiety of this month particularly.
Ok! Pretty depressing, so now what? Did I switch to warm comfort food, laying down in my duvet while eating a lot of chocolate? Well, precisely: yes, and no!
Fall comfort food
Chocolate, especially the dark one ( 70% Cacao and more), is an excellent source of Magnesium and Iron. It is not only a fantastic nutrient beneficial for heart and gut health but also brain food.
The adequate portion of dark chocolate can not only give us all the psychological intake needed but also protect us during this transition phase, especially from anxiety, stress, and nourish bodies and brains to deal with all the challenges they face during the fall. Various studies have demonstrated the Cacao effects to create feelings of contentment and to put people in a happy mood.
Either it’s the kids’ back to school, the work stress, or just coming back to a tiny apartment, whatever is driving one nut these days can be managed with…nuts (literally). Walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, or Cashews are high in magnesium, monounsaturated fats, and fibers, among other benefits. Not only are they a perfect snack for everyone as they increase the feeling of fullness and provide a good amount of protein but also, and most importantly, here Walnuts especially have a high concentration of DHA. This Omega 3 fatty acid protects brain health. It has also been shown to improve cognitive performance, and studies have shown that walnuts increase lower resting blood pressure and even lower blood pressure in responses to stress. Another research had demonstrated that pregnant women who included walnuts in their diet had smarter kids.
So when coping with a lot of changes and pressure during this season, adding a small portion of nuts every day can not only reduce the body’s stress reaction but also improves brain functions to respond to all the extra stimulations.
Honestly, I see no reason why everyone is not already eating 3 walnuts every day. I am still trying to figure it out.
When you think fall, you think pumpkin. But in reality, you need to believe Peppers.
Sweet red pepper is the 2nd richest food in Vitamin C, while orange Juice and raw oranges come respectively at 4th and 7th position. In comparison, sweet green pepper and chili peppers are ranked 5th and 6th. We are used to cucumbers and tomatoes in most salads, now just think of including some red pepper, et voila. Craving a snack? Instead of the standard Hummus and Carrot, try to switch to hummus and sweet peppers. Feeling the need to eat warm? Think shakshuka, think grilled veggies with some pepper included, or simply add some peppers to your morning omelet. (I can think of one million recipes with pepper, easy I am Mediterranean we basically add peppers and jalapenos to everything).
Basically, we are facing a huge virus threat right now. So, in addition to the fact that it is incredibly annoying to deal with the flu, it is even harder now to avoid an extra menacing virus and a serious one. When you think about boosting immunity, you think Vitamin C. It is in the small details just trying to pick the ingredients or add some portions of this and that to boost that immune system that is doing its best to protect us from viruses and bacteria.
After the red and green peppers, the “eat the rainbow” happiness lifestyle includes some pink and purple food intake. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries… berries are packed with antioxidants. These have been associated with having a good mood and that by activating brain pathways. YES, happiness has never been this easy. You drink a mixed berries smoothie, include some raspberries on a peanut butter toast, fill your oatmeal or chia pudding with fresh blueberries and blackberries, and your morning will have all you need to be filled with good mood. That is not unicorn/rainbow gullibility; that is science. Why would anyone don’t want to be happy every day or have the right ingredients to be smarter and more content?
What makes me the happiest about berries, is that they have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which basically supports the body’s defense against injury and pain (migraines, joints pain, back and neck pains, gut inflammation…name it)
It’s hype, yes. We used to live a comfortable life filled with soups and ragu. We grew up thinking about pumpkin for Halloween, pumpkin spice latte to cope with the goodbye to lemonade, pumpkin-spiced scented candles to make home cozy until the annual pumpkin pie for thanksgiving to feel that enough is really enough with pumpkiny everything. And there we are with the pumpkin seeds millennial’s trendy hype adding it to almost everything. But the truth is, these little tiny seeds (compared to the whole deal of the veg itself) are a particularly good source of magnesium, rich in iron, monounsaturated fat, and omega-3 fatty acids, they are incredibly high in fiber and contain antioxidants. So while the orangy decoration and scents make it cozier and more comfortable to cope with the season, pumpkin seeds, among others like sunflower, chia, flax, and hemp seeds, are the real effective way to support brain health and enhance good mood effectively.
Again, I am Mediterranean, so even though my dad is a doctor and my aunt a pharmacist, we grew up drinking warm water with lemon and honey in the autumn and winter mornings. Citrus fruits like lemon are high in vitamin C.
Vitamin C has an immune-boosting effect that can help the body fight off illnesses, such as the common cold. Also, fruits like oranges and lemons might help to lower the risks of heart disease.
Basically, when leaves start to turn orange and brown, the variety of colors of the nature surrounding is the signal that we need as many colors in our plates. Sure the sky might be more gloomy and the weather less gentle, and it’s precisely the time of the year to be careful of what we eat to preserve our health and mental health. We have been educated on how to boost our immunity system, but not as extensively as we can currently. Most importantly, it is time to strengthen our mental; it is the safe keeper of our whole being.
This list of super food is not exhaustive obviously but this is how by just being aware of what ingredients we put in our plates we can reinforce ourselves and facilitate a thriving Fall season.