Ever since the beginning of civilization, humans have followed the seasons for dietary necessities. Seasonal foods are a healthier and cleaner source of improving daily diet with higher nutrient levels while also helping the environment by lowering production and transportation costs.
What is Seasonal Eating?
Seasonal eating is about enjoying produce during its peak growing season—for example, juicy watermelons and raspberries during the summer or kale and sprouts in the winter. Simply put, seasonal eating means allowing the seasons to dictate your eating habits. And the best way to make the most of the summer's blessings is to visit the nearest farmers' market and load up on scrumptious, wholesome summer foods.
Benefits of Consuming Seasonal Foods
The main advantage of seasonal eating is access to fresh produce, at the peak of edibility, in the quickest time possible. These foods sustain the highest level of nutrients and micronutrients and also taste better, given that they are naturally grown free of agrochemicals or GMOs. However, the most crucial benefit is the bountiful varieties and all the goodness it offers to human health.
Seasonal variation brings variety, and as produce varies, so do the nutrients in them. The ample offerings are exactly what can help us find a balance between overabundance or insufficiency of dietary nutrients.
- Cleaner, Tastier, and Healthier
The concentration of nutrients in organic fruits and vegetables becomes compromised with long transportation periods (owing to temperature and surrounding changes). This is why food with fewer travel hours is more flavorful, fresher, and healthier. If you've ever tasted summer produce without summer freshness, that is because it's an off-season harvest or has traveled across the country (or should we say, globe) to get to your plate. Organic seasonal food is the best choice for the highest level of nutrition, cleanliness, and flavor.
- Overall Health Support
The microbes in the intestinal tract and body system are responsible for digestion, glucose levels, skin health, immune system, cell regeneration, weight control, etc. And seasonal eating helps facilitate proper processing of the gut flora. The nutrient and moisture-rich foods stimulate the growth of the good microorganisms in the body, resulting in improved mental and physical wellbeing.
- Cut Carbon Emissions
Making the most of what's available to us locally can help cut down food mileage and contribute to carbon footprint reduction. "Farm to the table" process has a lower transportation-related emission. But given that supply chains account for only about 18% of the emissions, it is also vital to consider what we're eating alongside where the food is coming from. Certain local foods may have higher GHG emissions than shipped foods grown in greenhouses.
- Fostering Community Bonds
Food is love— it brings people together without any religious or cultural boundaries. One of the most notable benefits of shopping for local produce is coming across people sharing the same beliefs. Places like farmers' markets help foster shared identities and fortify community relations. It is also a beautiful opportunity to make new friends and form bonds.
How to find Seasonal Food?
The neighborhood farmer's market is a perfect place to start with shopping for seasonal food because seasonal eating and local shopping swing synonymously. This is because the foods in season may vary depending on where you live. For example, seasonal produce in California may not be the same in New Hampshire owing to the climate difference. That said, some of the websites where you can search for foods that are in season include Certified Naturally Grown, American Indian Foods, Buy Fresh Buy Local National, and Slow Food USA.
Local produce is becoming a prominent societal shift today. People around the world, more than ever, are seeking fresh, local options for produce and other foods. More eateries are also starting to practice farm-to-table by using ingredients grown nearby. The world is reversing backward in terms of clean eating, just like the good old days before the invention of greasy and harmful processed foods. And that is nothing but wonderful news!
Seasonal food has tremendous benefits for the health, community, and environment. The more nutrition you consume, the healthier and more eco-friendly your meal plan and life will be. Choose locally grown seasonal food to support your health, local producers, and our precious planet.