Eating With the Seasons
BySarah Axtell, ND •October 5, 2011
Fall is here! This means that many of our favorite berries, tomatoes, and fresh herbs are no longer available. However, fall’s greatest bounties are now showing up in brightly colored fashion at farmer’s market. Pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, kale, and parsnips are some of the delicious super-foods now available in the months of Autumn.
We all know that fresh food translates to high flavor. Besides satisfying our taste buds, there are health benefits to eating with the seasons. Here are some reasons to choose local, seasonal produce:
1. You get the most bang for your buck. I mean this both financially and nutritionally. Eating seasonally is the best for your pocket book, as they tend to be the most affordable produce available. Also, they are packed with more nutrients. A study done by Japan in 2001 found a three-fold difference in the vitamin C content of spinach harvested in the summer versus the winter.
2. Eating seasonally and locally means a smaller carbon footprint. Less travel and packaging involved in the transport of foods translates to a healthier planet.
3. We are less inclined to develop allergies when we eat seasonally. Eating the same foods daily with no variation activates the immune system. The body develops an immune response to your daily-grind foods, thus increasing your risk of allergies to those foods. It is best to rotate your foods on a daily basis, incorporating the freshest foods available. This means eat strawberries and blueberries in the summer and squash in the fall and winter.
Humans have evolved over thousands of years to adapt to our environment. Our needs for different types of food, at different times of year, are intrinsic to that long evolution. Part of our very make-up has been shaped by the seasons.
For some delicious and healthy fall recipes (can you say pumpkin pie?!), see my blog post, “Healthy Harvest Recipes.”
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.