When you eat in-season, and particularly when you buy your in-season produce at local farm stands or farmer’s markets, you get foods at their peak and without having to wait while they travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to your dinner plate. Late summer is a great time for in-season fruits and vegetables, as those that were planted in late spring are ready to harvest. Here are some of the top late-summer August-September fruits and vegetables that you should include in your healthful, natural diet:
From the nightshade family, eggplants are ready to eat in the late summer and early fall months. If you enjoy eggplant in your Indian food, ratatouille, or anywhere else—now’s the time to get it. This fruit-vegetable combo is rich in phytonutrients like nasunin, found in the skin, which has been found to protect cell membranes – particularly those in the brain. Eggplants are also good for your heart, reducing blood cholesterol and relaxing blood vessel walls, improving blood flow.
If you have a garden, you know all too well that it’s zucchini time. Once these vegetables start coming in, the average gardener typically ends up sharing theirs with friends and neighbors simply because the healthy plants are so productive. Zucchini contains vitamin C, making it great for reducing inflammation and even the symptoms of asthma. They also encourage a healthy vascular system and may be able to reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis. Rich in magnesium and folate, the vegetables are great for bones, muscles, and metabolism.
Related Read: Organic Gardening 101: How to Start an Organic Garden
It’s early in the season for apples, but they are starting to come around. The health benefits of apples are so numerous, we can’t possibly list them all, but we can start with: blood sugar regulation, weight loss, anti-cancer benefits, heart health, immune benefits, asthma treatment, bone health, reduced risk of macular degeneration, and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
You’ve still got some time to get plenty of ripe tomatoes. They are at their peak in the hottest months and we’re certainly there. Tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants, which are credited with many of their health benefits. They have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and improve bone health of post-menopausal women. They are also amazing for heart health and cancer prevention. Add them raw to salads and sandwiches, or cook them in a variety of sauces and soups.
Remember, buying in-season requires you buy local or grow your own! Check out this infographic to see what to eat, and when to eat it.