Jewish Senior Living: From Pomegranates to Potato Latkes, Seniors Benefit from Seasonal Fall Foods

image of soupIt’s natural to crave different foods as the weather changes. Cool weather means crisp apples, rich soups, and comfort foods. But did you know that changing your diet with the change of seasons also has health benefits, especially for seniors?

Eating foods that are naturally in season as the weather turns cool can help boost immunity and mood, and help protect against ailments common to seniors such as heart disease and changes in eyesight.

Benefits of Seasonal Eating
Incorporating seasonal foods into your diet and your loved one’s diet has many benefits. Fresh, ripe vegetables and fruit are generally more nutritious, with more vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. Local, seasonal foods are likely to have been picked while ripe, rather than artificially ripened and shipped across the country or the ocean!

And, just as important, in-season vegetables and fruit are tastier! Fresh vegetables and fruit typically have better flavor.

What’s In Season?
Here in Rockland County, there are abundant fruits and vegetables that are in season throughout the fall and even into December, from apples at Rosh Hashanah to pomegranates at Sukkot to potato latkes for Hanukkah.

Following is a list of just some of the area’s in-season offerings. As always, please consult with your loved one’s physician before making changes to diet. While all of the foods listed below have numerous health benefits, they may not all be appropriate for some health conditions and medications.

Apples: High in fiber and anti-oxidants, apples support lower cholesterol and heart health.

Brussels sprouts: Among cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts are the highest in vitamins C, A, and K (potassium). Vitamin C boosts immunity and is good for healthy skin and gums. Vitamin A promotes healthy eyesight. Potassium may help strengthen bones. The vitamins and minerals in Brussels sprouts also have been shown to have protective properties against certain cancers.

Cranberries: Cranberries have long been known for helping to prevent urinary tract infections, which can have especially strong symptoms in seniors. The same properties of cranberries that help prevent those infections also help to prevent the formation of plaque on the teeth and contribute to dental health.

Pomegranates: Pomegranates offer similar dental benefits to cranberries, and are also high in anti-oxidants. There is evidence that the anti-oxidants in pomegranates specifically increase blood flow and help stop plaque from building up in blood vessels.

Potatoes and Beets: Potatoes and beets are ideal choices for comfort and mood boosting during the late fall and winter months. Packed with healthful carbohydrates, these root vegetables give energy. Beets in particular are a good source of folate, which is important for brain function and emotional health.

Winter Squash: High fiber, low calorie winter squashes are good for heart health and support healthy cholesterol levels. Butternut squash has high level of carotenoids and Vitamin A, which helps fight macular degeneration. Spaghetti squash, with high levels of Omega-3 acids, has anti–inflammatory properties and supports good cardiovascular health.

FountainView at College Road is a glatt kosher senior living community in Rockland County, NY.

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