The Benefits of Seasonal Foods
With the weather changes that are so inherent of Canadian living, a thought I’d like to share with you with the colder weather fast approaching, is the benefit of eating foods in season. In the summer, we change to lighter, breezy clothes and in the winter we add layers to keep ourselves warm and cozy. As the seasons change to balance the earth’s resources, our bodies likewise need the same consideration and food choices play a relevant part.
The food choices we make should reflect the present season we are in to ensure optimal nourishment throughout the year. Eating seasonally allows our bodies to get a variety of different foods and the rotation can help prevent various food sensitivities and the depletion of enzymes.
Our bodies have the innate ability to tell us what it needs and asks for it. For example in the summer do you feel for lighter foods such as salads, fresh vegetables and fruits? The higher water content provides a cooling effect that helps to replenish us, keeping us hydrated and refreshed in the heat of summer. Think about it, do you crave watermelon in November!?
In the winter who doesn’t like a warm, hearty stew or creamy hot soups? The richer more calorie dense foods help insulate us and warm our bodies through the colder months. When you come in from -25 with the wind chill are you running for a bowl of salad? Soup here I come!!!
An important reason to consider eating local foods in season is that many fruits and vegetables only grow in certain seasons. When we buy them in off-season times, we may be purchasing items that were picked weeks or months earlier. Produce begins to lose nutrients the moment it is picked, resulting in lower nutritional values. At this time of year we purchase more imported produce but don’t you wonder when it was picked far less how long it was in transport, frozen and then put in our produce isle?
Another reason for this conscious choice to purchase fresh seasonal food, is to support local farmers and keep the wealth within our communities, not to mention our own pockets. You do the math; foods in season are most often significantly less expensive than when they are not.
Some foods that are considered seasonal to fall and winter are: beets, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, leeks, celery root, parsnips, pumpkins, turnips, zucchini, pomegranates, persimmons, pears, kiwi, and mandarins to name a few. Some warming spices and seasonings that you can add to many recipes include ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and garlic.
So why not give it a try. Seasonal eating can prove to be a simple and smart way to help our bodies operate the way it should while obtaining and maintaining optimal nutrition.