Images sourced from: Julies Kitchen
With the end of Autumn almost upon us and winter right around the corner, the change of seasons not only signals a change in our wardrobes but a transition in the fresh produce that is available to us and the foods we put onto our plates.
Changing of the seasons provides us the unique opportunity to incorporate a variety of fantastic foods that are only available during that particular time of the year. This means we are offered a natural diversity in produce that we should take advantage of for the benefit of our health and our planet. Eating seasonally ensures that we are properly nourished throughout the year by eating the best that each season has to offer. Theres a reason there is nothing better than enjoying a juicy ripe peach or a cool salad in summer or a warm hearty soup full of root vegetables in winter its what is usually in season and what are bodies are craving that time of the year.
How to tell whats in season near you
If you are unfamiliar with what is in season during a particular time of the year, its not too difficult to find out. Take a quick glance around your local grocery stores fresh produce section and pay attention to the prices. Have you noticed that berries, peaches, nectarines, and other stone fruits become terribly expensive at this time of the year? Or what are available for sale dont look as appealing as they usually do during summer and spring? Thats a good indicator that that particular produce is not in season. On the flip side, if you notice theres an abundance of something else or theyre on sale, these fruits and veg are more than likely in season.
For more about whats in season near you we recommend checking out Harris Farms Market Update Blog.
Below weve listed 4 of the many health benefits of eating with the season.
1. Higher nutritional value
Seasonal foods that are harvested at the peak of their freshness, usually offer a higher nutritional value as they are given more time to ripen naturally and contain more vitamins and antioxidants in comparison to out of season fruits and vegetables that have been picked early and stored before dale.
In-season fruits and vegetables that have been sourced locally will not only appear brighter and more vibrant but also means that they havent spent long periods of time in sitting in a shipping container for a trip across the ocean loosing their flavor or their health benefits.
When you eat with the seasons you can enjoy a variety of diverse foods in your diet as well as providing your body with a wide variety of important vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that you need to maintain your health. The added bonus? In season fruits and vegetables taste better too!
2. Supports your bodys natural nutritional needs
Eating with the seasons helps to support our bodies natural cleansing and healing processes, while also helping us to avoid seasonal imbalances. For example, in spring there is an abundance vibrant leafy green vegetables such as spring onions, spinach and kale that help to detoxify our bodies after winter. In winter we are provided with citrus fruits that are particularly high in vitamin C, which is important in helping our bodys immune system and fight off infections and colds. Summer brings an abundance of salad vegetables such as cucumbers to help cool us down as well as hydrating juicy fruits that provide us with extra beta-carotenes to help protect us against sun damage.
3. You get a wider variety of food in your diet
Another pleasant side-effect of eating whats in season is that you get a broader variety of foods in your diet. This can not only broaden your palate, but can expose you to different dishes and ingredients that you may not have considered otherwise. Many of us by default tend to buy the same fruits and vegetables all year round, by choosing to eat what is only in season it helps us to create a more well-rounded and balanced diet, and in turn receive a whole heap of nutritional benefits. Expanding your horizons to include more produce that is in season which you may or may not have ever tried before means that you open the door to more delicious food that you can get and prepare cheaply and easily.
4. Avoid Chemicals and Contaminants
Locally sourced fruit and vegetables are less likely to have been sprayed with pesticides, preservatives, waxes and chemicals. Out of season produce are not only harvested early but are often loaded with different contaminants to help extend their shelf life. When produce has been sourced from overseas, we cant always be certain what their regulations for pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are. Many countries across the globe may have very relaxed laws about chemicals being sprayed on fruits and vegetables. For example, remember the Hepatitis A contamination from frozen berries sourced from China last year? This was due to poor hygiene practices overseas that infected many Australians. The best thing to do is buy produce in season when it is often cheaper and buy in bulk for yourself to preserve, ferment, freeze or store in your own home free from pesticides.
Remember it is important to note that eating seasonally and locally is not always a realistic option for everyones health and pocket. It is about making decisions where possible that are better for your health, budget and the planet.
Do you buy your fruits and vegetables in season?
Check out our blog post on How to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet!