Fall invites brisk mornings, changing leaves, and a variety of orange-colored fruits and vegetables. These orange foods are naturally rich in antioxidant carotenoid pigments that work to reduce inflammation in the body. Too much inflammation can lead to mood swings, chronic fatigue, digestive troubles, or even more serious conditions like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Excess inflammation can often be the result of excess oxidative stress in the body. This occurs when there is an imbalance between the free radicals that the body produces and antioxidants that combat their negative effects. Failure to consume a diverse mix of antioxidants can worsen this issue. While it is important to eat the rainbow, i.e. a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, orange foods offer many anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants.
Since fall is here and seasonal produce is arriving, stock up on some of the orange-hued favorites. Keep reading to learn which fall foods are the absolute must-eats for reducing inflammatory markers in the body.
Carrots are rich sources of beta-carotene, and they nearly top the anti-inflammatory shopping list. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. Additionally carrots offer zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which are powerful antioxidants that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. They work to encourage cell health, and lightly cooking carrots can increase the bioavailability of the inflammation-fighting compounds.
Just like carrots, and most of the foods on this list, sweet potatoes are naturally rich in beta-carotene. Some people consider sweet potatoes or yams the best of the fall produce items. The anthocyanins in sweet potatoes have potent anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies observed that the anthocyanins were effective at reducing inflammation in colon cancer cells. Other studies found that the choline in sweet potatoes helps to reduce inflammatory markers and responses in the body.
People either love or hate persimmons, which are beautiful little fruits that resemble small pumpkins or orange tomatoes. Don’t brush them off as just another seasonal fruit, though. They happen to be superstars when it comes to fighting inflammation. Persimmons exhibit powerful carotenoids, flavonoids, and antioxidants such as catechin and anthocyanidin. You’ll also find zinc, magnesium, iron, fiber, copper, and manganese in these fall favorites.
Although turmeric isn’t orange on the outside, it is vibrantly orange on the inside. Turmeric is a classic Indian spice, with curcumin being the active polyphenol. According to several studies, turmeric helps to relieve joint pain and stiffness in people with arthritis. One study found that taking turmeric extract three times daily was comparable to 1,200-milligram dose of ibuprofen. In addition to reducing inflammation, it may also enhance immune function and lower cholesterol levels.
Pumpkins are good for more than just carving and decorating. In fact, this seasonal squash contains many nutrients that work to fight inflammation. Pumpkins are rich in lutein, phytosterols, beta-carotene, and polysaccharides, all of which work together to target the source of inflammation. The phytochemicals in pumpkin help to mitigate the effects of harmful free radicals in the body. And pumpkins have been used in traditional remedies because of the antibacterial, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, anti-tumor, and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties.
Oranges are pretty on the nose for orange-hued produce items to eat during fall. Although these are technically more of a seasonal item during winter, they do arrive in mid-to-late fall. Oranges have over 170 phytochemicals and 60 flavonoids, making them rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They are also famous for their vitamin C content. Several studies indicated that vitamin C effectively lowered C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a measure of body-wide inflammation linked to heart disease and arthritis.
Papaya is a tropical fruit that exhibits a sweet flavor and a diverse nutritional profile. It is rich in vitamins A & C, along with a powerful enzyme called papain. This naturally-occurring anti-inflammatory compound has proven effective at reducing joint pain and stiffness. Many nutritionists encourage arthritis patients to consume papaya for that reason. The strong enzymatic and antioxidant activity make it a great fruit for combating inflammation.