The days are getting shorter and the nights slightly cooler—signs that summer is on its way out. We’ll be wearing sweaters and eating soup before you know it. But before you say goodbye to summer, we still have September and the healthful foods that are at their peak this time of year.
When you make it a point to eat foods that are in-season, you are able to get fruits and vegetables when they are at their best. They taste better and are better for you when they are not made to travel halfway around the world or sit in a freezer for months on end.
The easiest way to buy your September superfoods is locally—at a farmer’s market or stand. Talk to the farmer and ask which of his wares are best and which are almost “done” for the season to get a good idea of where your money is best spent.
This month, be sure to look out for the following foods:
1. Lima Beans
Also known as butter beans in the south, lima beans are typically green when fresh or white when dried. They are loaded with fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol and regulate digestion. This same fiber is excellent for regulating blood sugar levels, which makes lima beans a good choice for diabetics and those with insulin resistance. Lima beans are also a good source of folate and magnesium—both excellent for cardiovascular health.
You either love them or you think they taste like dirt, but beets are one of the most beneficial root vegetables around. They possess anti-inflammatory properties and are often included in a liver cleanse diet because of their included betalains. Some studies have indicated betanin pigments in beets to lessen tumor growth in tumor cells from colon, stomach, nerve, lung, prostate, breast, and testicular tissues. If you are not a fan of their taste, try including them in a smoothie or juicing regimen with other palate-pleasing choices.
Broccoli has a relatively long growing season, which means you can take advantage of it for several months. This is important, as broccoli has numerous well-established health benefits – and can be especially beneficial for preventing cancer. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and potassium, making it great for bone health, immune function, and protection against cardiovascular disease. Though as mentioned, perhaps some of its greatest perks are found in its anti-cancer properties.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Another superior root vegetable, sweet potatoes should be a staple in a healthful, modern diet. They can be roasted or used in veggie burgers, but science has found that steaming and boiling them ensures their health benefits survive the cooking process. Those benefits include: blood sugar regulation, antioxidant support, and anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure you pair them with some fat (like extra virgin olive oil) so your body can take advantage of the fat-soluble beta-carotene.
While there are numerous amazing fruits and vegetables in-season this time of year, these are just a few of our favorites. What’s on your plate this September?