Produce that is purchased in season is more likely to be fresher, consumed closer to harvesting and higher in nutritional value, some antioxidants such as Vitamin C, folate and carotenes will rapidly decline when stored for periods of time.
Seasonally fresh produce is picked when it is fully developed at the peak of the season. With optimal growing conditions and more sun exposure come higher levels of antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, folate, and beta-Carotene!
Health Benefits of Seasonal Eating
Instead of eating the same small group of fruits and vegetables year-round, seasonal eating encourages a varied diet. Branching out from your favorite kinds of fresh produce will give you important vitamins and minerals that you might not usually get.
Additionally, the quality and freshness of in-season produce are better than out-of-season produce. Because demand for certain crops is high year-round, they are modified to grow in bulk and to resist disease, but these modifications take away some of their nutritious benefits. When fruits and vegetables are grown during their natural timeframe, they will grow and thrive without any harmful additives.
Seasonal eating Supports body’s natural nutritional needs
Eating with the seasons provides the body with the nutrition it needs. In winter we are provided with a variety of citrus, high in Vitamin C which supports the body to fight coughs and colds. The winter vegetables are perfect for making warm and nourishing meals like soups, stews and casseroles. On the other hand summer foods such as stone fruits provide us with extra beta-carotenes and other carotenoids that help protect us against sun damage, they also provide more sweetness for an energizing summer, as well as salad vegetables for those tasty cool summer salads.
Environmental Benefits of Seasonal Eating
Growing food outside of their natural season only works when humans artificially create seasonal weather conditions. The fossil fuels (nonrenewable energy) and large amounts of water needed to do this have a negative impact on the environment.
Growing crops seasonally doesn’t require these resources. For example, compare recreating summer heat during the winter to grow summer crops instead of using only the heat from the sun. Seasonal growing requires much less energy.
Sticking to the earth’s seasonal growing routine also helps create sustainable eating patterns. Sustainable eating and seasonal eating go hand in hand: they both rely more on natural resources and less on artificial sources to provide food. Reducing food waste and encouraging long-term food planning are other goals of sustainable eating.
How to Get Started
Lifestyle changes like this can be intimidating, but if you’re interested in seasonal eating there are simple steps you can take to begin your journey:
Research what fruits and vegetables are in season for your area.
Summer crops are popular and commonly eaten, so focus on cool weather produce that you don’t typically eat.
Preserve in-season fruits and vegetables for later on. You can freeze, dehydrate, pickle, can, etc. in-season produce to use during its off-season.
Seasonal eating is simple, healthy, and good for the environment.