Food is Medicine
The Manna Food Project’s mission is to help feed the hungry throughout Northwest Michigan by providing immediate access to nutritious food and to transform lives through nutrition education. We strive to give our neighbors access to a rainbow of produce, high-quality protein, and dairy products. Feeding the hungry is important, but we also want to make sure we are nourishing them with quality ingredients. We have already been receiving and distributing thousands of pounds of delicious fall produce. This includes a variety of gourds from Bill’s Farm Market, apples from Friske Orchard, and sweet corn from Bolt’s Farm. We are also looking forward to distributing venison this fall thanks to the generous donations from our community and the Rotary Club of Petoskey Sunrise.
Fall produce provides a bounty of nutrients and Manna is proud to offer these vitamin-rich foods to our communities.
- Pumpkins: These vibrant orange gourds are packed with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A. This nutrient is essential for maintaining healthy vision, immune function, and skin.
- Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples are rich in fiber, which aids digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness. They also contain antioxidants and vitamin C, helping to boost your immune system and fight off seasonal illnesses.
- Yams: These orange gems are not only delicious but also incredibly nutritious. This year, Manna will be including these vitamin-packed tubers in the Manna Holiday Boxes we distribute around Thanksgiving. Yams are an excellent source of fiber and also high in potassium and manganese. These are important for supporting bone health, growth, metabolism, and heart function.
- Cranberries: Tart and tangy, cranberries are a staple of fall feasts and canned cranberries also go into the Holiday Boxes. They’re known for their high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote overall health. Cranberries are also celebrated for their potential in maintaining urinary tract health.
- Squash: From acorn to butternut, squash varieties are abundant in the fall. They’re low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The vibrant colors of these gourds indicate their rich nutrient content, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.
Now that we’ve highlighted some of the nutrient-packed fall ingredients, let’s discuss how these foods can benefit your body*.
- Boosted Immunity: The vitamin C in apples and cranberries, along with the vitamin A in pumpkins, can fortify your immune system, helping you ward off colds and flu during the fall season.
- Steady Energy: Complex carbohydrates and B-Vitamins from yams and squash release energy slowly, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels and prevent energy crashes.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Many fall ingredients contain antioxidants that combat inflammation, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Food truly can be medicine, and these fall ingredients offer a cornucopia of health benefits. Incorporating these seasonal delights into your diet can provide your body with essential nutrients, boost your immunity, and promote overall well-being.
At Manna, we believe in harnessing the power of food to nourish individuals within our communities. As fall approaches, we encourage you to explore the wonderful world of seasonal foods and discover the health benefits they have to offer. By making mindful food choices, you can transform your meals that support a healthier, happier you.
Manna is proud to partner with McLaren Health Plan as part of our Nourish the North Campaign. McLaren Health Plan is sponsoring mobile pantries in Petoksey to help increase food access for those in our community who are experiencing food insecurity. You can learn more about health, nutrition, and receive food at these new mobile pantries. These two mobile pantries will be held at the McLaren MedCenter on Wednesday, October 11 and Wednesday, November 22 from 4:30pm – 6:00pm.
*Please consult a health professional about your specific health needs and how these ingredients, vitamins and nutrients may benefit you.