It's difficult to know these days what's in season and what's not, as supermarkets import produce from around the globe to fill their shelves all year round. But there are SO many reasons why you should be prioritising eating seasonally, below I’m going to jump into the benefits.
From a historical and natural instinct standpoint, our ancestors adapted according to the seasons. Produce was not readily available and consequently our bodies were nourished with the produce that was in season at that particular point in time. Get back in touch with mother nature’s intentions and take this primal approach.
Eating seasonally ensures great variety in food consumption, this variation of food will support nutrient requirements across the year. Mother nature had it right, the seasons support our eating habits. For example, in summer, it’s hot and you don’t feel like consuming a hearty soup, instead you opt for a light refreshing salad full of fresh seasonal leafy greens.
Variation in one’s diet will support diversity in your gut microbiome, this will promote a beautiful healthy gut flora. I always go on about eating the rainbow, this is because certain vegetables and fruits contain different colour pigments such as chlorophyll (greens), carotenoids (oranges & reds), anthocyanins (purples, reds, blues & blacks) and flavonols (yellows). These colours each have unique qualities, for example beta-carotene found in many orange foods such as carrots & sweet potato is converted into vitamin A. This vitamin promotes many health benefits such as eye health, immunity and skin health. Eating seasonally, ensures you are eating the rainbow as particular colourful produce becomes available in certain seasons, allowing you to fill your plates with diversity.
Overall, we know that different produce provides different vitamins and minerals, which are essential for our overall health. Eating seasonally will assist in reducing deficiencies and instead support your system so you feel optimal during all of the seasons.
Save Money & Support Local Communities
Eating locally & seasonally also supports your budget as well as your community. Try shopping at your local farmers market, the produce is often much better quality than supermarkets, where it’s very difficult to know where the produce is actually being sourced from. Buying organic from farmers is usually reasonably priced and markets often have fantastic deals on the day. Get to know your farmer, find out how your food is harvested and support their efforts by buying their produce. I also find that I am less likely to over buy as opposed to shopping at supermarkets, where it’s very common to go in for one thing and leave with a trolley full (strategic marketing, I think so)!
Help the Environment
By eating locally, it also reduces the food miles of your food. This is fantastic for the environment; less transportation leads to reduced carbon emissions. Shopping locally is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
We are also promoting organic farming and important farming practices such as permacultures (which focus on natural ecosystems). This traditional and healthy approach has been replaced with large scale farms and intensive practices, which are not supporting the environment nor the nutrient retention in our foods. Their priorities are sales, not the health of the world and us. On the other hand, an organic farmer, yes, they are trying to earn a living, but I bet that they are wildly passionate about the health of the world and YOU. Two very different priorities… who do you want to support?
There’s also a sense of looking forward to different seasons to eat certain produce, this creates an experience of joy surrounding anticipation for favourite foods. I know I always look forward to beautiful mangoes in summer and beautiful root vegetables come winter. I genuinely relish the moment when I eat these foods. Food is about enjoyment and looking forward to consuming it makes it even more special. I mean, If I wanted, I could eat mangoes out of a can in the middle of winter or have it imported from overseas, but it’s not the same, it’s no longer a special feeling. Try it out, wait for the foods you love to be in season, it’s magical.
I hope this has inspired you to buy good quality produce that is sourced locally as much as possible and in season.