The best seasonal fruits and vegetables for seniors

By now we should all know how important it is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Buying locally grown seasonal products is not only good for the local economy, but also for the planet. So what are the best fall fruits and vegetables for seniors?

  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard, collard greens and collard greens, mustard and turnip greens are rich in antioxidants and help prevent or slow down macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in seniors.
  • Broccoli has many health benefits with its phytochemicals that help prevent cancer, fiber to prevent constipation, and anti-aging properties.
  • Apples contain flavonoids that help reduce the risk of cancer cells developing, pectin that lowers cholesterol and also helps prevent diabetes, and quercetin that helps protect against heart disease. Recent studies at the University of Massachusetts and Cornell University suggest that quercetin may also protect brain cells from damage, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. With the plethora of apple varieties available in the United States, it shouldn’t be difficult for most people to eat an apple a day.
  • Grapes have many of the same health benefits of red wine without the obvious side effects. They contain anthocyanins, which are good for the heart and circulation, reducing the risk of developing blood clots. Grapes also contain reservatrol which is known to help fight cancer.
  • Cranberries have long been known to help prevent urinary tract infections. Fresh cranberries also fight gum disease.
  • Pumpkins are the ultimate fall squash. They are packed with alpha and beta carotene and are important for vision. Don’t forget the seeds that contain omega-3 fatty acids that help fight heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Sweet potatoes, like pumpkins, are rich in beta-carotene, which produces the retinol that promotes good vision. They are also rich in vitamin C and fiber.
  • Acorn squash is a good source of potassium, which is important for brain health.
  • Carrots and beans promote hair growth.

With so many choices, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Take a trip to your local farmers market, see what looks good. Ask the farmer for a taste of an item you haven’t tried before. You can also get advice on how best to prepare the products and how to check for ripeness. Keep in mind that variety is the spice of life and eat an assortment of fruits and vegetables every day.