Inviting as they seem to be, not many people enjoy eating fresh fruits and veggies. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 24.7 percent of Americans meet their minimum intake requirement for fruits and vegetables. Just so you know, eating in-season produce might just be the best thing to happen to you and your body. Here’s why.
1. It’s Easy On The Wallet
The basic law of demand and supply applies here—when crops are in season, you’ll be rewarded financially by purchasing what’s growing now. When you go out to buy seasonal produce, you will realize that due to its availability in abundance, it is usually cheaper. To put it in perspective, consider herbs: when you find packaged herbs in a grocery store during winter, they’re usually limp and pale, but still cost about $3 for half an ounce. On the other hand, fresh, bright and vibrant herbs bought at the farmers’ market often sell for as little as $1 or $2 for a generous bunch.
2. It Has More Nutrients
Gina Chrome, a registered dietitian and ACE-certified personal trainer and health coach says that, not only is seasonal food generally cheaper, it is also more nutritious. “Nutrients such as vitamin C are particularly fragile, and once a fruit or vegetable is cut from its source, it begins losing vital components. In one study, researchers compared the vitamin C content in in-season broccoli (picked locally) with that of off-season broccoli (shipped from another country) and found that the off-season shipment contained only about half of the vitamin C found in the local, in-season variety,” she adds. More nutrients, in turn, will boost your metabolism, helping you shed weight faster.
3. It Tastes Better
When food is not in season, it’s either grown in a hothouse or shipped in from other parts of the world, and both affect the taste. Aaron von Frank, CEO of GrowJourney.com says, “If you buy produce that was grown somewhere else in the world, it was likely picked long before it was ripe and has been sitting in a box or shipping container for weeks or months before finally arriving at your grocery store.” Eating seasonal means choosing fruits and vegetables that are in their prime. This means that the taste and texture of these foods are at their best, and will be eating more of it, helping you stay healthy.
4. There’s More Variety All Year Round
Many people are surprised to find that a wide variety of crops are harvested in fall (squash, apples, endive, garlic, grapes, figs, mushrooms) and winter (citrus, kale, radishes, turnips, leeks), in addition to products that we readily associate with the summer like sweet peas, corn, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans. Sarah Hagstrom, who runs The Seasonal Diet, says, “When you eat with the seasons, you’ll be eating produce you might otherwise skip at the grocery store. The more variety you get in your diet, the more likely you are to get all of the nutrients your body needs to function at its highest level.”