The Benefits Of Eating Seasonal Produce

by Sumdima Rai
What’s in this season? I’m not talking about the latest fashion trends, but the amazing produce that nature brings in with every change of season. Just like you dress differently throughout the year, you should eat keeping in mind the different seasons too. After all, nature has an amazing way of providing you with just what you need, when you need it. Among all the healthy eating trends, the one I find the most appealing is that of eating fresh, local and seasonal food. Here are the reasons why eating what's in season is best for your body, the environment and your wallet.

1. Maximum Nutrition 

Did you know that eating spinach in season provides up to three times more vitamin C than eating it out of season? Fruits and vegetables harvested at just the right time in their peak season are more nutritionally dense. They’ve had time to mature and develop abundant nutrients, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In contrast, in fruits and veggies that have been stored for long periods of time, there is depletion of beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants which do not do your body any favor. Nutritionist Catherine Jeans further elaborates: “Shipped stuff tends to ripen en route and can be sprayed with chemicals to aid this process. It may also depend on waxes and preservatives to keep it looking fresh and attractive on the shelves.”

2. Body’s Seasonal Needs

Nature caters to our needs by supplying us with seasonal foods. How else would you explain the appearance of apples in the fall—a perfect transition fruit helping our body get rid of excess heat and cool it down before winter? Or the citrus fruits that readily arrive in winter to provide us with the essential vitamin C to help fight common colds and flus? Building your lifestyle around nature’s seasonal cycle can aid the body’s natural healing process, according to Mindbodygreen.

3. Taste factor

Don’t you agree that oranges are tastier and juicier in winter than in any other season? Fruits and vegetables that ripe naturally and are harvested at the right time have much more flavor and nutrition. You only need to bite into a ripe juicy tomato that’s in-season and compare it with an anemic shipped variety, to know what we mean. New York-based nutritionist Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD says, “I’ve seen seasonal eating help people fall in love with cooking and look forward to eating their fruits and veggies, instead of feeling obligated to do so.”

4. Economical

Naturally, prices fall when there is a large supply of produce, with in-season foods harvested by farmers in abundance. As these seasonal foods are locally sourced, it cuts down on the travel and storage costs as well.

5. Environment-friendly

As seasonal foods are more likely to be produced locally, it not only supports local farming in your area but also helps keep the environment free from pollutants with less transportation and refrigeration, less use of pesticide and genetic modification of produce.

Check out these 10 fresh off the field summer goodies that you should be having right now.

1. Corn

Fresh sweet corn simply spells summer. It helps you filter out sun’s damaging rays with the help of its antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin.

2. Tomatoes

Tomatoes protect you from skin burn with help of the plant pigment carotenoid that is responsible for the red color in them.

3. Tart Cherries

The presence of anthocyanins in tart cherries rev up fat burning in your body helping you get slimmer and leaner, just in time for swimsuit season.

4. Watermelons

Staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp and your mood stable and what better way to do it than to dig into some cool watermelon.

5. Raspberries

Rich in fiber and protein, raspberries can help in promoting weight loss, making it the perfect summertime snack.

6. Peaches

Peaches are great sources of vitamins C and A. Whip up a smoothie with sun-kissed peaches on a summer morning.

7. Cucumbers

The fact that cucumbers are made up of 90 percent water makes them an ideal summer vegetable. They also contain vitamin C and silica—important for tissue growth and skin cleansing.

8. Radishes

The super nutritious root vegetables have a good amount of vitamin C and other flavonoid antioxidants that offer great health benefits.

9. Bell Peppers

Their tangy flavor makes them a summer must-have. They also supply vitamin B6 and folic acid to help lower risk of high cholesterol.

10. Apricots

These are good sources of vitamin A, an antioxidant that helps cellular growth and sharpen eyesight.

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