The Truth About Seasonal Eating
Image via @welleco
This week, I sat down with the editor from Hello Giggles to chat all things seasonal eating!
Read on for my naturopathic tips to seasonal eating and the benefits it has for your health and wellness.
Proponents of seasonal eating say it provides you with all the nutrients your body needs at specific times of the year (for example, in the winter your body is thought to need nutrients from vegetables like potatoes, squash, and carrots, to keep your body warm, whereas in the summer, your body may need fruits and veggies with a higher water content, like watermelon and cucumber). Is there any scientific evidence to back this up?
Whilst there is no scientific evidence to back the nutritional benefit of eating seasonally, nature seems to have an inbuilt intelligence in providing us with fruits and vegetables rich in required vitamins at specific times of the year. For instance, in winter, we are provided with an abundance of citrus fruits which are rich in vitamin C, helping us to ward off colds and flus. We are also provided with an abundance of winter comfort foods to warm us. In summer we are provided with stone fruits abundant in beta carotene to provide extra protection from UV sensitivity along with water rich foods for hydration and carbohydrate rich sweet fruits for the extra energy required for our summer activities. Eating seasonally also naturally mixes up the variety of fruits and vegetables, it guarantees you are eating a variety of produce and that you are enjoying a balance diet
How can someone be sure what produce is in season and what's not?
There are various seasonal guides which provide information on what fruits and vegetables are in season. Visiting local food markets can also be a good way to ensure you are eating freshly picked produce. In general when considering seasonal fruit supply, citrus fruits, kiwi fruits, pears, apples and grapes are available in autumn and winter whilst stone fruits, melons and berries are available in spring and summer. Vegetables can vary a little more and be available more widely throughout the year however root vegetables are generally available in winter whilst zucchini, sweet corn, tomatoes and cucumbers are available in summer. Spring tend to be the time for lots of greens which is perfect for a spring detox.
People say seasonal eating and shopping locally go hand-in-hand. Why is that and what are the benefits to purchasing local produce vs. non-local produce?
Seasonal eating doesn’t mean you have to eat locally, but it is easier to eat seasonal if you are visiting local famers markets. Local produce tends to be more nutrient dense as small farms tend to rotate their crops which prevents soil from becoming nutrient depleted – this is great for the soil and for the crops grown on the soil. Furthermore, local farmers are generally more eco-conscious and use less chemicals despite not being labelled organic. Supporting your local farming community means that you are also receiving fruit and vegetables that have very low mileage, they are being transported direct from crop to your plate, this means they are not only more nutrient dense as they are fresh but they are also better for the planet.
Does eating seasonally mean that produce that isn't in season is completely off-limits? For example, does commiting to seasonal eating mean you shouldn't buy/consume tomatoes in winter and/or apples in spring/summer?
Eating seasonally 100% of the time can be challenging if you are living in a large city or certain parts of the world. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are not able to eat seasonally 100% of the time.
You can always mix up seasonal produce with other produce or get into the habit of fermenting summer foods for consumption in the colder months!
your professional opinion, is it worth it to commit to seasonal eating and would you recommend it to your clients?
I definitely recommend this to my clients. It is a nutritional and beneficial way of eating for both yourself and the planet.