Seasonal food and diet

Mother Nature is a worthless treasure of so many things that we even do not know. Be its vegetations loaded with nutrients, beautiful geography, wonderful seasons and many more. Different seasons show different colours of Nature. Different flora and fauna flourish in different season. Nature plans for perfection and has a set cycle for sustainability in particular season. Changes in seasons must be balanced according to healthy seasonal food habits for better health.

Each variety of vegetable and fruit has its own unique and preferred growing season. In addition to this, nutritional values of food products comes from season of their growth and produce. For example adding some mountain food staples like ragi, buckwheat, black bean (bhatt) during winters to diet helps to protect from chills. This also boosts immunity.

The food we eat acts as fuel for our body machinery. The better we eat better is the functioning of body. Seasonal food bears benefits for us not only in terms of health and nutrition but also in terms of economy, environmental sustainability and harmonious living with Nature.

Let’s have a look at some benefits of Seasonal Food and Diet.

Benefits of Seasonal Food and Diet

  • High Nutritional ValueFruit and vegetables bought in season is more likely to be fresher. Long term storage of fruits and vegetables cause decline in Anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, folate and carotenes and other nutrients. Fruits and vegetables that are stored for long periods of time due to transportation or to be used at a later date have a reduction in phyto-nutrient content.
  • Less ExpensiveWhen farmers harvest a large abundance of produce due to the crop being in season, the cost of the produce goes down. When the produce is locally sourced because it’s in season in particular area, then travelling expenses and storage are not required therefore reducing the production costs that are then passed onto the consumer. When we buy produce that is out of season, it’s normally sourced from out of area locations that have a different climate and it can also be stored for long periods of time to offer people a variety of produce all year round. These factors push the price up.
  • Reduced Carbon FootprintEating seasonally effectively reduce your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. All of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye.
  • Better taste and flavourIn-season produce is fresher and tastes better, sweeter and perfectly ripe. When fruits and vegetables are picked for consumption that have been naturally ripened on the vine or the tree and harvested at the right time, it has much more flavor and nutrition. Most people have experienced that super juicy perfectly sweet orange in winter or that crispy sweet pineapple in summer. For transporting crops, it might be harvested early and refrigerated so they don’t spoil during transportation. Chilling reduces the flavour. Then when they get to their destination they are artificially ripen before it goes onto the market shelves. These steps greatly reduces the flavour, changes the texture and the taste. Think of those floury apples, flavourless tomatoes and limp tasteless greens. You may find that the food may be half rotten inside or overly fibrous such as an out-of-season pineapple.
  • Avoids Overseas Contaminates and PesticidesWhen fruits and vegetables are sourced overseas we are not sure about their regulations for pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Many countries across the globe have very relaxed laws about chemicals being sprayed on fruits and vegetables but other countries have banned due to their known harmful effects. Overseas agriculture may not regulate soil contamination tests to ensure land and soil quality. Some agricultural areas have shown to have very high heavy metal and other toxic contaminates due to industrial sites inhabiting the same area.
  • Aids environmental sustainabilityEating seasonally reduces the demand for out of season produce, which in turn helps support the local farmers that are providing cheaper and cleaner produce. The rise in local farmers aid the decline in genetically engineered food and mega-farming that often uses practices that deplete the soil of its nutrients. Moreover local availability means less transportation, less refrigeration, less hot houses, and less irradiation of produce.
  • Supports Body’s Natural Nutritional Needs In winter we are provided by nature all things citrus, these are particularly high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is very important for preventing infections such as colds and flu’s. Winter vegetables offer comfort and are perfect for hot meals, healthy stews, soups and other warming meals.Summer foods like cucumber, mangoes, cherries, avacadoes provide us with extra beta-carotenes and other carotenoids. These help protect us against sun damage.

Therefore, everytime you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body and seasonal foods adds on to this nourishment.

Soon we will come up with guidelines for healthy food habits according to seasons in our upcoming posts and will keep updating you all.

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