The Importance of Eating Seasonally
By Sara Butler
Summer is here and that makes for some of the best dietary options available to you all year long! Summer is ripe with delicious fruits and vegetables that are not only fresh but also local to you. If you really listen to your body, you will find you experience an increase in craving for fruits and vegetables that are normally enjoyed in the summer such as berries, watermelon, tomatoes and sweet corn. These cravings are usually specific to summer, and other cravings sneak into the mix during different times of the year. Do you know why that is? Your body was made to eat seasonally. Here’s how your health and your pocketbook can benefit from seasonal eating.
The nutrients that nourish the food you eat that then gets passed on to you is a product of the soil and the sun in which the food was grown. When a food is in season, it is harvested when it’s fully developed and ripe. This means it’s had optimal sun exposure and that makes it higher in antioxidants. In fact, some studies have found the beta-carotene and iodine in milk is higher in the summer. Sounds like a great reason to go out and get that ice cream cone you’ve been craving.
Because a food is picked at its peak the flavors have had time to fully develop. So, not only is food better for you when you eat seasonally, it’s also better tasting. Have you ever plucked a tomato from the vine and eaten it in the summer? It’s just as good as an apple in the fall.
When you buy produce that's not in season, it has probably been shipped to your store from another state or even another country. That means it’s not only lacking in flavor and ripeness (and maybe even nutrients), it’s also really expensive. When the food in season in your area is abundant, it will be less expensive than at other times in the year. Have you ever noticed how expensive strawberries are in the winter? That’s why! So cash in on seasonal produce!
As previously mentioned, when a food isn’t in season locally, it will be shipped from a far-off land, so an abundance of fossil fuels have been used in order to get it to you, which is bad for the environment. Also, seasonal foods don’t take much interference from human hands to grow well. That means fewer pesticides have probably been used in growing seasonal produce. It’s better for you and better for the environment.
Check out your local farmer’s market and find the freshest local produce you can that is in season today!