Aden Dawit, NTP
If you’ve been in the wellness/functional medicine space for some time now, chances are you’ve heard the term “seasonal eating”. As the name suggests, this means eating produce that is locally sourced and naturally grown in the specific time of year that you are in. Eating with the seasons is wonderful for your health for so many different reasons!
Seasonal foods are more nutrient dense. Produce that is grown seasonally is allowed to fully ripen and then picked at the peak of freshness, then brought to you quickly. As opposed to produce that is grown elsewhere, where those foods have not been allowed time to fully ripen because it must travel a long way to get to you.
We were designed to eat food this way. If you think about the different nutrients in food, like lycopene for example. This is prominent in tomato and guava, which have skin protective properties. These 2 foods are grown in the summer, which makes sense because you would need that nutritional boost during that time. Another example, is that these foods contain a higher water content which is also needed in those hotter months.
Eating seasonally saves you money! Fruits and vegetables are grown in abundance in their peak season, which usually translates to cheaper prices from farmers. Compared to foods that are out of season, there is much less supply and higher demand. Those foods may also require special treatment to keep them alive longer, or they may have to be shipped from elsewhere (which also contributes to the price).
Seasonal food just tastes better. Have you ever eaten a watermelon in the winter and noticed how bland they are? You’ll find that eating them in the summer, they are much juicer and sweet! Flavor is super important when it comes to eating healthier and a plant-forward diet. Some people may think that they don’t like a certain fruit or vegetable, but it may actually be because they haven’t tried it when it was in season.
- Eating seasonally helps you to connect more with your food and community. When you buy seasonal and local produce, you have a chance to support local farmers and to keep your plate fresh and interesting. Instead of getting bored of eating the same few meals all of the time, you start to get excited with each seasonal change. This in turn will improve the state of your microbiome (bonus points!). As you probably know by now, the best way to improve your gut microbiome is by eating an abundance of different colored fruit and vegetables that contain fibers which nourish your beneficial gut bugs.
Lastly, if there is a specific fruit or vegetable you can’t imagine not eating year round, consider buying them during its peak season, and freezing it for later!
What’s in season this spring in Texas? (Check out https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/ for produce grown in your region!)
- Fava Beans
- Summer Squash
Zucchini and more!