Similar to the weather changes all over the world, there is also a huge turn in the fresh produce if fruits and vegetables available. Each and every season offers a wide range of beautiful and delicious fresh produce, which makes it a perfect time to try out new recipes or moderate the old ones after including more seasonal fruits and vegetables. Not only will your plate be getting varieties, but it also provides a number of health benefits. With international import and export, we can now consume the same five vegetables and five fruits and vegetables everyday, for the whole day. There are some foods that are always available in the supermarket or online. Seasonal foods mean variety of foods, and that results in a large amount of nutrients in your plate. It is this variety that can help to prevent the risk of nutritional overconsumption or deficiency, and is at the main key to have a balanced diet.
What is seasonal eating? Seasonal eating means eating fruits and vegetables that are grown in your area in a particular time period. Fruits and vegetables that are produced locally can be tastier, fresher, and loaded with essential nutrients, and not like the out-of-season produce that is harvested early. So, if you ever feel like buying your favourite non seasonal fruit, then try and go for the seasonal local production, which will surely be tastier, healthier and fresher. Seasonal eating most is not just for privileged people or developed countries. It is an important part for millions of people around the world who count on growing their own crops to feed themselves and their families. Even many experts also suggest you to consume seasonal foods. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dt. Upasana Sharma, Head Dietician, Max Hospital Gurgaon, about seasonal eating. Read further to know about some reasons why you should practice it.
Benefits of seasonal eating
If we have the power to eat only seasonal, locally grown foods, then that would probably mean that it will be the excellent for our environment. Growing your own produce is one of the best ways to start, and in some places around the world you can now buy locally sourced fruits and vegetables. But for many people, having these foods can seem repetitive, and so a few imported goods are required. According to Dt. Upasana, here are the benefits of seasonal eating:
1. Tastes better
Local seasonal produce is more fresh, ripe and tasty as compared to non seasonal fruits and vegetables. When fruits and vegetables are picked for consumption that have been naturally harvested and grown in the right season, then it enhances the flavour and nutrition. A lot of people are aware of the different and amazing taste of a juicy, plumpy and sweet orange in the winter season or crispy sweet pineapple in the summer season. When transporting the produce, it must be harvested on time and refrigerated so they do not get spoiled while transporting, but chilling can reduce the flavor. It is important to reheat them artificially after reaching the destination to ripen the produce before it goes on to reduce the flavor even more as it can also moderate the texture and taste.
2. Higher nutritional value
Another benefit of seasonal eating us that it has higher nutritional value. The fruits and vegetables that you consume in the correct time, has a higher chance of being fresher, tastier and will also have a higher nutritional value. The foods that are consumed closer to harvesting are rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin C, folate and carotenes, which can decrease if stored or refrigerated for a long period of time. Local in-season fruits and vegetables will also have a better look as they are brighter and more vibrant, instead of being dull and dried up. Fruits and vegetables that are stored for long periods of time due to transportation or to be used after sometime have less of phyto-nutrient content. Many shopkeepers and people in the markets might also just buy out-of-season produce, that has been preserved in wax to extend its life.
3. Less chemicals and contaminants
Growing seasonal fruits and vegetables is the game of harvesting on time, which also means that it is free from most chemicals. But, when you buy foods that are transported from somewhere else, you should know that they contain preservatives and pesticides, which will surely make their way into your daily diet. Moreover, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are a difficult to remove part of most of the foods, and laws regarding the same vary from country to country. You should not consume foods that have many chemicals and toxic substances due to the environment or harvesting time differences. Therefore, it is advisable to practice seasonal eating to restrict chemicals and contaminants intake in the body.
4. Less expensive
When farmers are growing and investing on a large produce because it is that particular crop's season, the cost of the produce also decreases. This happens because when the produce is locally harvested, it means it is for the season in your area, which also says that the travelling expenses and storage are not needed. Thus, the production cost reduces when sold to the consumer. When we buy foods that are out of season, it is usually sourced a different region with a different climate and it can also be stored for long periods of time to provide people with a lot of fruits and vegetables available for the entire year, which can increase the price too. Getting into a habit of seasonal eating is cost effective and easily affordable for everyone.
5. Environment friendly
Being environment friendly is a benefit that is looked for in every food. Seasonally, our dependence on local produce and local farmers increases, which provides them with more help and support. In fact, the need for transportation, refrigeration, and hot houses reduces, making seasonal foods the best option and environment friendly as well. Therefore, you should practice seasonal eating as it is environment friendly and beneficial for you too.
6. Helps with body's natural needs
Seasonal eating helps in body's natural nutrient needs as well. The seasonal fruits and vegetables that are high in citrus and Vitamin-C should be consumed in summer. These foods are important to eat for preventing infections that you might get in the winter season. Winter vegetables are best to have hot meals and soups. On the other hand, the fruits and vegetables in summers are mostly extremely watery and help in keeping the body rejuvenated and hydrated.
So, these were the benefits of seasonal eating by Dietician Upasana. Some common examples of seasonal foods are lettuce, carrots, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, etc. You can enjoy the taste and freshness of many fruits and vegetables as per their cropping season. It is important to make the right decision about the time when certain foods should be consumed to enjoy more benefits. You can also talk to your dietician about seasonal eating.
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