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Educating ourselves about seasonal eating wasn’t always necessary—it was simply a part of life back when we grew and raised our own food out of necessity. But now, we can get any food from anywhere at just about any time of day, month, or year. This has had an impact not only on our taste buds and nutritional status but also the environment.

Shifts in day length affect how produce grows. Even in places like California and Arizona, which some people consider seasonless, various types of produce grow best at certain times of the year because of changes in the sun’s location and the duration of sunlight hours.

Here are five important benefits of seasonal eating:

1. Provides more nutrients for your health

Our food supply changes with the seasons, as do our hormones and habits, and they are all beautifully interconnected. As seasons change, so does the amount of time we (and our food) are exposed to sunlight, with shorter days in winter compared to the sunnier days of summer.

Eating in season can help supply our bodies with the nutrients we naturally need for optimal wellness. When harvested in season, produce has the ability to ripen and come to its full nutritional potential. For example, the nutritional profile of broccoli has almost double the levels of vitamin C when you enjoy it in season—during late fall, compared to spring. And as we go into fall, our bodies need more nutrients like vitamin C to help support our immune system.

Other fall foods with immune-boosting nutrients include leafy greens, bell peppers, cruciferous vegetables, almonds, chia seeds, and sunflower kernels. Amazingly, nature provides precisely what we need to support our health as we go into cooler days.

2. Improves your gut health

The soil and the human gut contain approximately the same number of active microorganisms, but the average human gut microbiome is only 10 percent as diverse as that of soil. The diversity of human gut bacteria significantly decreased as we transitioned from a hunter-gatherer society to an urbanized one.

But when we eat in season, we obtain more nutrient-rich foods, which helps our gut health. In addition to the higher levels of vitamins and minerals, we also obtain more fiber to enhance our gut health. And eating a variety of fresh produce is known to help enhance our gut microbiome diversity.

If you’ve ever eaten strawberries or peaches in their peak seasons, you know precisely what I’m talking about. The closer we get to consuming our foods from their source, the more flavor they have. You don’t have to be a foodie or a chef to notice the 180-degree difference between eating apples from the local orchard in fall and those from the refrigerated section of your local grocery store in early summer.

4. Supports your local economy and saves you money

Produce we buy in the grocery store is often harvested before it’s fully ripe, which means it has less time to mature on a tree, vine, or other source of life. When you eat seasonally and locally grown produce, you can help minimize or avoid these issues. And you support your local economy.
Buying food in-season also tends to be less expensive than produce that is out of season. After all, it doesn’t have to travel halfway across the country or from other parts of the world or be grown in temperature-controlled greenhouses—all of which gets expensive.

5. Better for the environment

To get to the grocery store, food likely travels long distances—which means using a lot of fuel. On the way, it needs to be stored in temperature-controlled environments. And then there’s all the boxes, plastic, and other packaging materials used, which are tossed either at the grocery store or in your home. In addition, the greenhouses that grow out-of-season produce require more energy and therefore a larger carbon footprint.

If sourcing local produce is out of reach, try to find which of your local grocery stores has the freshest produce. Your body and Mother Nature will thank you.


From Poosh

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