As we ease into the fall season, there are many seasonal foods we often gravitate towards. And while things like fresh apple season bring a lot of joy, some also carry Halloween-level spooky health problems. This fall, avoid these scary foods — but don’t worry, we’ll share healthy alternatives that are just as tasty, while also boosting your wellness and your immune system.
1. Conventionally Grown Apples
Nothing says “fall” like biting into a crisp, juicy apple. Alas, conventionally grown apples have some frightening health problems, specifically when it comes to exposing your body and immune system to potentially toxic chemicals. According to the Environmental Working Group, the average apple has nearly five different pesticides on it.
“Few Americans may realize it, but most conventionally grown apples are drenched in diphenylamine, an antioxidant chemical treatment used to prevent the skin of apples in cold storage from developing brown or black patches known as ‘storage scald,'” reports the EWG. “Tests of raw apples conducted by Department of Agriculture scientists in 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, found diphenylamine on 80 percent of them, with an average concentration of 0.28 parts per million.”
Research shows that pesticide exposure can negatively affect your immune system in numerous ways, including weakening the immune cells that respond to bacteria and viruses.
Instead of buying conventionally grown apples, choose organic apples. Better yet, support a local, organic apple farm!
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2. Fall Root Vegetables
The problem is especially important when it comes to root vegetables like yams, carrots, and potatoes — all of which star in many seasonal dishes and soups this fall. “Root crops can uptake levels of lead in their roots that are at or slightly above the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization’s joint safety standards,” warn researchers.
Similar to our warning about conventionally grown apples, you can still enjoy your favorite fall root veggies. But the next time you’re grabbing a sack of potatoes, go organic whenever possible!
3. Canned Soups and Stews
- Some cans are lined with chemicals like bisphenol A (i.e., BPA), which may be linked to numerous diseases and health concerns
- Many canned soups are extremely high in salt, and a high-sodium diet is linked with health problems like high blood pressure
- Some products are highly processed, reducing the nutritional quality of the ingredients
When buying canned products, you may want to:
- Check that the packaging is BPA-free
- Read the ingredients list and nutritional panel
- Choose a soup or stew made with whole foods with as short of an ingredient list as possible