With winter around the corner, find out what September’s seasonal produce can do for your immune, gut and eye health. Why not try most of them in this month’s recipe?
As we move towards autumn, September’s seasonal produce brings plenty of goodness. The luscious berries and earthy radishes that stole the show in summer give way to brilliant produce that supports immunity, gut and eye health.
There’s a yummy recipe that combines most of them and provides an incredible range of nutrients too. Enjoy the read and the recipe!
I love the sweet, nutty taste of butternut squash, especially when it’s roasted. And the vibrant orange colour perks up anything it’s added to.
It’s not just there to look pretty, though. It’s also a winner when it comes to boosting immunity and eye health as it contains vitamins A and C. Butternut squash also supports cardiovascular health as the potassium it contains can help to reduce blood pressure.
Technically, it’s a fruit as it has seeds but it’s usually used as a root vegetable and is a good source of complex carbohydrates for your meals.
Bell peppers are part of the nightshade family, along with aubergines, tomatoes and potatoes. As you know, I love nightshade vegetables* and peppers are no exception!
Think citrus fruits are always your best bet for vitamin C? Peppers are absolutely loaded with it. Red and yellow peppers pack the biggest punch here as they can contain 2-3 times more vitamin C than an orange.
Whatever the colour, peppers are bursting with vitamins A and C, potassium and folate, and powerful carotenoids, including antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Both antioxidants are known to improve eye health and protect the retina from the effects of oxidative stress.
*Nightshades aren’t for everyone sadly. They can cause heartburn, reflux and digestive issues. If this is you, it doesn’t have to be. Get in touch to discuss how we can resolve your symptoms.
Courgettes are such a versatile vegetable, easy to grow your own, and they pack a punch when it comes to nutrients.
Full of potassium, they are super supportive for healthy muscles (think cramp!) and help keep you hydrated. They are another fantastic source of vitamin C and folate, and the fibre content helps keep your microbiome fed and flourishing. Our gut bugs love fibre and it’s so important for maintaining healthy bowel movements.
Love it or hate it, broccoli is hard to beat when it comes to health benefits.
Low in calories but full of fibre which helps to fill you up, support good digestive health and keep blood sugar levels stable. The abundance of vitamins A and C do wonders for immune, eye and skin health too but it doesn’t stop there.
The humble broccoli is also loaded with antioxidants, including beta carotene and lutein. And, as a member of the cruciferous family, it’s a vegetable your liver loves as it hosts compounds that support the livers’ ability to do its job.
Is that enough reason to load your plate with this superstar? If you need any inspiration for using broccoli, try the recipe I’m sharing at the end of the post – yum!
I’ll round off this month’s seasonal blog with one of my favourites. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea but their unique taste gets my vote every time.
Figs are a surprisingly good source of calcium – perfect if you’re avoiding dairy for any reason. They also provide healthy amounts of potassium, magnesium, fibre and some iron.
When it comes to digestive health, the fibre content in figs can act as a natural laxative. If you’re feeling bunged up, try reaching for some figs to help things along. They also have prebiotic qualities and can help to feed the good bacteria in your gut.
September’s seasonal recipe
Butternut squash quinoa risotto
- Half a small butternut squash, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 150g baby spinach
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 200g quinoa
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh or dried herbs
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 750ml vegetable stock
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Grated zest and juice 1 melon
- 200g tender stem broccoli (to serve)
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and roast the squash on a baking tray for 30 minutes, making sure to turn halfway through
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil over a medium heat before frying the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes
- Then add the diced courgette to soften for a couple of minutes
- Add the quinoa to one side of the pan, keeping it separate from the onion and garlic while you stir it. When the quinoa seems fairly crisp, combine it with the onion and garlic
- Increase the heat and add the hot vegetable stock or water 1 ladleful at a time. Stir constantly, letting the quinoa mixture absorb each ladleful before adding the next. This should take around 10 minutes but I promise it’s worth it
- Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, sea salt, lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice and cider vinegar to the risotto
- Cook for a further 10 minutes or until the quinoa is tender but still slightly al dente
- Stir through the spinach and roasted pumpkin, then cook for 5 minutes more
- Season to taste, add extra lemon juice if required, and serve with tender stem broccoli