Eat Seasonally & Reap The Benefits

seasonal-eating2

One thing all nutrition experts will agree on is that as a society we need to let go of highly processed and refined foods and convert our eating to a whole foods diet rich in nutrients. All the research out there supports the benefits of eating whole foods while cautioning the consumer of the dangers associated with refined and processed foods. But one thing that seems to be overlooked in much of the nutrition world is the idea of eating seasonally.

Modern food processing and worldwide distribution allow foods to be available at all times of the year, yet there are many benefits associated with eating seasonally. Seasonal foods refer to foods that are in harmony with nature. They grow when they have the ability to reap the most nutrients from the soil and atmosphere. When you eat seasonally, you automatically eat the foods your body needs to be at its best – detoxifying foods in the spring, cooling foods in the summer, light, immunity boosting foods in the fall, and restorative foods in the winter. Eating seasonal foods helps boost your immunity because those foods have exactly what your body needs to stay at it’s peak.

Benefits of eating seasonally:

  • At their ripest and allowed to ripen on the vine (full of phytochemicals that help prevent cancer and other diseases)
  • Most flavor
  • Highest nutritional value (studies have shown that some crops can have up to here times more nutrients when grown in season)
  • Higher antioxidant content
  • Less expensive (due to higher availability)
  • Lose weight (eating nutrient dense foods has shown to cut down on food cravings and overeating)

How to eat seasonally:

  • Discover what’s in season by using a local seasonal chart
  • Purchase from a local farmer’s market
  • Ask knowledgable employees in the produce section
  • Looks at produce end caps and the cheapest fruits and vegetables as these are typically the foods in season
  • Try new foods!
  • Don’t forget to shop the rainbow – more color means more nutrients

 

Seasonal Foods (The following are typical of the seasons each food is listed under although variations may occur based on the climate you live in.)

Winter: Warming foods (keeps us warm through the coldest months)winter

  • Stew & Soups made with root vegetables
  • Root vegetables
  • Winter Squashes
  • Kale and other winter greens
  • Acorn Squash
  • Belgian Endive
  • Clementines
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges

 

Spring: Cooling and dispersing foodsspring1

  • Tender Leafy Vegetables (romaine, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, parsley basil)
  • Artichokes
  • Apricots
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Diakon
  • Fennel
  • Green Onions
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Strawberries
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Pineapple

Summer: Wet foods (help us cope with the hottest times of the year and stay hydrated)spring

  • Grapes
  • Melons
  • Berries
  • Lettuces
  • Tomatoes
  • Squashes
  • Cucumbers
  • Apples & Pears
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Okra
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Cherries
  • Lemons & Limes
  • Stone Fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines)

 

Fall: Immunity boosting foodsfall

  • Apples & Pears
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Fennel
  • Hard Shelled Squashes
  • Pomegranates
  • Radicchio
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Peppercorn
  • Mustard Sees
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Figs

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