Benefits of incorporating seasonal produce into your daily nutrition
May 1, 2022
You’ve probably heard of eating locally – but what about eating seasonally? Eating seasonally means choosing fruits and vegetables when they’re in their natural growing seasons in your geographic area. It has multiple benefits, both for your health and your community.
This spring and summer, incorporate more seasonal fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. In the springtime, foods like broccoli, garlic, kiwi and mushrooms are at their peak freshness. As we move into summer, it’s the perfect time to eat berries, bell peppers, melon and tomatoes.
Why is eating seasonally beneficial? Consider these five reasons.
- Seasonal produce is higher quality. Fruits and vegetables are fresher and higher quality when they’re in season. They also tend to have richer flavor. Fruits and vegetables that are grown out of season are modified with chemicals and may lose some of their nutritional benefits. When you buy in season, you’re more likely to buy something that hasn’t been modified with harmful chemicals.
- Support local farmers. Reinvest in your community by buying local produce. Find farmer’s markets in your area and visit frequently. Shopping at a weekly farmer’s market can also help you stay creative in the kitchen, as you may use ingredients you wouldn’t usually pick up!
- You’re helping the environment. Seasonal growing is less harmful for the environment than growing out-of-season crops. You can only grow foods outside of their natural season by modifying the environment. Doing this requires large amounts of water and nonrenewable energy. When you eat seasonally, you’re contributing to a more sustainable eating pattern that requires fewer artificial resources.
- You save money. Out-of-season produce is typically sourced from other areas that have different climates. It can be expensive to relocate that produce to your community. The travel and storage costs drive up the take-home price. Buying seasonally is typically much more cost-effective because farmers have a large abundance of in-season crops.
- Eating seasonally supports your body’s needs. Many of us crave different foods seasonally. You may reach for more stone fruits or salads in the summer and more citrus or root vegetables in the winter. Often, the nutritional benefits of seasonal produce lines up with your body’s seasonal needs. For example, stone fruits such as peaches and plums contain extra beta-carotenes, which protect our bodies from sun damage. Citrus is in-season in the winter, when extra vitamin C can help prevent infections. When you eat seasonally, you’re doing your body a favor!