Benefits of Eating with the Seasons
Written by Michelle Yandle.
Have you ever noticed that your cravings change with the seasons? In summer we tend to crave foods that cool us and in winter we need to warm up! Eating in season can not only give our bodies a boost nutritionally but can be better for our taste buds and bank accounts as well.
Our bodies are fascinating and if we listen carefully you’ll find our bodies are quite in touch with natures natural cycles. For example, in the winter we are often less active and just focused on staying warm. The theory of food energetics states that certain foods have properties to warm or cool our bodies. Root vegetables, for example, are warming and can help insulate our bodies from the cold. In the summer, we tend to be more active and need to do the opposite and stay cool in the heat. You’ll notice that most of the fruits and vegetables that are produced this time of year have a cooling effect on us, such as fresh berries, watermelon, etc.
These foods are also more easily digested which allow us to be more active and could lead to shedding any extra weight we may have put on during the winter months. In winter we tend to have heavier meals, for example- soups, stews, and roasted veggies to keep us warm, while in the summer we dine on fresh salads and cool drinks. Winter foods also keep us more grounded (perhaps for some level of hibernation- I know I certainly move a lot less in the winter!), while summer foods tend to make us more light and active. Nature and our bodies are amazingly in tune if we allow them to be.
“Eating a seasonally based diet with lots of variety throughout the year is the cornerstone of preventive medicine,” says Preston Maring, a Doctor at Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center in California. Inspired by study after study documenting the benefits of eating an in-season, plant-focused diet.
Eating seasonally means that the food often has higher nutritional value.
Certain vitamins and minerals can decline when they are picked and stored for long periods. Frozen vegetables are another story because they are snap frozen at their nutritional peak, but in general when foods are stored for too long or transported over long distances they are going to lose some of their nutritional value.
Buying out of season means that companies have done everything they want (and everything we don’t want) to keep them “fresh” for us. When we eat seasonally we are also more likely to find fruits and vegetables that are organic and spray-free as they would not need as many preservatives to keep them “fresh” for longer.
Another benefit of eating seasonally is that the food just tastes better. Have you ever had a hydroponic strawberry in the winter? Nothing beats fresh strawberries freshly picked and warmed by summer’s sun. Fruits and vegetables eaten seasonally just taste better, they are picked at their peak. For non-seasonal vegetables to be provided to us later in the year, they have to be chilled and this reduces the quality of the flavour.
Lastly, a lot of my clients are looking for advice on how to make their healthy lifestyle budget-friendly. If there was one piece of advice that I could offer to them it would be to eat seasonally. When we buy fruits and vegetables that are in season we are generally paying a lot less for them.
Recently I was at a local New Zealand supermarket and saw out of season limes (from the USA) that were almost 4 dollars each! When fruits and vegetables are in season there is usually an abundance of them and so farmers would rather sell them all than have them go to waste which is one of the reasons why the cost so much less. Scarcity increases prices, as does having to transport thousands of miles.
In summary, eating seasonally is not only better for you, but it’s also better for the environment and our taste buds. That being said, though eating seasonally is something we should practice more of for health and connectedness. We’re lucky to have amazing products available to fill in the gaps in between. I take Nuzest’s Good Green Vitality daily so that I’m meeting all my nutritional needs throughout all seasons. So go ahead and enjoy eating an abundance of seasonal fruits and veggies but engage in some extra self-care with some Good Green Vitality.