Saying Goodbye To Summer

Saying Goodbye to September

As we approach the Autumnal Equinox, the skies become a deeper and crisper blue. The early morning reveals a glistening coat on the trees and grass, which quickly melts into tiny droplets which glisten with the waking sun. Everything is more intense. A sense of urgency is in the air. The wildlife and all of nature senses impending change.

Such is the ebb and flow of life. Our bodies contain this same natural time clock. When we move with the seasons, with natural ease, we have harmony and energy. When we force our bodies to perform way beyond what they should; we experience revolt. Our bodies strike back ten fold. As does nature, when defied.

Exercise and physical activity should always provide a sense of vitality and enjoyment. Anything else is futile; damaging really. Forcing our bodies into punishing circuits will only result in pain and joint damage. Moving in a way to maintain strength, agility, flexibility and balance are essential to graceful aging.

We each have different levels of physical ability. Challenging our bodies gently, to provide growth and strength, is key. The goal is not to punish and annihilate our muscles and skeletal structure.

Strength Training, Science has proven we don’t need to train to failure to see muscle growth. Weight training is essential if we don’t want to see muscle atrophy as we age. By the way, this begins as early as our 30’s!

Cardiovascular Training. Our hearts and lungs need regular aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for at least 20 to 30 minutes per day. Hiking, walking, bicycling or sprinting, are all wonderfully enjoyable activities. Getting outside is a bonus. Nature provides a natural stress reducer.

Any activities that keep you moving and you enjoy are wonderful. Dancing, Swimming. Skiing. The list can go on and on….Just find something you love and do it.

We tend to sit too much in front of computers, television and in general. Be an active participant in your own life!

Photo from my backyard this morning…no filters.

Fabulous Fall Foods

There are plenty of good reasons to include Pumpkin in your meal planning.  Not only does Pumpkin add a rich, nutty taste to many stews and soups; it can provide your body with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.  Pumpkin also helps the immune system work properly and protect the body from disease.  Pumpkin is low in calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.  It does contain monounsaturated fats;  the fats that are good for the heart.  Pumpkin is a good source of dietary fiber, which not only helps with weight management, but aids the body with proper digestion. Pumpkin is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.  Inflammation present in the  body is believed to lead to many chronic health conditions.

 

Pumpkin has many healthy benefits

Pumpkin is a rich source of Vitamins and Minerals

  • B-complex group (Folates, niacin, vitamin B-6, Thiamin, Pantothenic acid)
  • Copper (strengthens the connective tissue and brain neurotransmitters)
  • Calcium (necessary for bone and teeth health, muscle function, nerve transmission, vascular contraction / dilation)
  • Potassium ( necessary for fluid and electrolyte balance as well as the role in muscle contraction and nerve impulses)
  • Phosphorus ( a component of DNA and RNA)

pumpkin-isolated

Pumpkin is a rich source of Anti-oxidants

  • Helps the immune system work properly and protect the body.
  • Leutin ( for your skin and vision)
  • Xanthin (helps protect against “age-related macular disease”)
  • Carotenes (converts to Vitamin A in the body)
  • Vitamin A ( necessary for good visual sight and maintains skin and mucus membranes)
  • Vitamin C ( helps make collagen that helps heal wounds)
  • vitamin E (fights viruses and invading bacteria)

pumpkin2

Health Benefits

  • Low in Calories ( 110 grams provides 26 calories)
  • No Saturated Fats 
  • No Cholesterol
  • Monounsaturated Fats which are good for the heart
  • Rich in dietary fiber ( good for digestion and weight management)
  • Rich in anti-oxidants
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
  • Disease Prevention (fights against certain cancers, such as lung cancer)
  • Reduces inflammation (inflammation may lead to many chronic health conditions)

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the distinctive taste of pumpkin.  The bright orange flesh of this fruit, as well as the seeds, are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  Pumpkins are good for more than pies and jack-o-lanterns.   They add a delicious flavor to many dishes as well as nutritional boost.  Pumpkin is not only a good source of fiber, but a low-fat, low-calorie addition to your meals.

Pumpkin a fruit?  Yes, you read that correctly. According to Wikipedia, pumpkin belongs to the fruit family.

Nutritional Benefits of pumpkin:

Vitamins C and E

Excellent source of fiber

Alpha-carotene

Beta-carotene

Potassium

Magnesium

The beautiful bright orange color that is characteristic of pumpkin indicates that it is an excellent source of the antioxidant, beta-carotene.

People who consume a diet rich in beta-carotene are less apt to develop certain cancers than those whose diets are lacking beta-carotene rich foods .  Pumpkin also contains another bonus carotenoid,  beta-crytoxanthin, which also aids in cancer protection.  Alpha-carotene  is also found in pumpkin and like beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant.  Alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are considered pro-vitamin A carotenoids, which means the body converts them to vitamin A.  Not only does vitamin A promote healthy vision, but it does wonders for the immune system.  The beta-carotene is also believed to help reverse skin damage caused by the sun as well as act an an anti-inflammatory.  Alpha carotene is believed to reduce the risk of developing cataracts as well as prevent tumor growth.  Carotenoids are true immunity boosters and can help lessen the risk of heart disease.

Pumpkin is considered an outstanding source of fiber.  A one-half cup serving provides 5 grams of fiber.  Fiber is considered a healthy part of  any diet and an excellent help in weight management.  Not only does fiber help reduce cholesterol, but it helps maintain blood sugar levels and helps protect the body against heart disease.  Fiber is an essential part of healthy digestion.

Most people know the importance of vitamin C in the diet.  Pumpkin is a great source of this immunity boosting vitamin that also reduces the risk of blood pressure and heart disease.  Pumpkin is also a good source of vitamin E, which protects the skin form sun damage as well as protect against the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Potassium is necessary for balancing the body’s fluid levels, promote healthy bones and in keeping your blood pressure under control.  Pumpkin is a good source for not only potassium, but magnesium as well.  Magnesium also assists in bone strength and helps promote a healthy immune system as well as many other essential functions.

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia

Pratt, S. (2004) SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life.  New York: Harper Collins