Importance of Seasonal Eating
It can be hard to remember that eating what’s in season is better for you when you can get food like blueberries year-round. However, as the seasons change, so should your diet.
Your bodies’ needs vary by the season. In winter, dietitians recommend eating foods higher in fat and protein to replenish our depleted moisture reserves and fight the dry, cold air. Produce with high levels of vitamins A & C and antioxidants are perfect tools your body will need to help fight off colds and flu.
In order to maximize nutritional benefits, it’s best to go a step further and eat foods that are locally grown and harvested—like from a farmer’s market. The general rule is—the less time and distance your food has to travel, the more nutrients (and flavor) they’ll have.
Here are a few of our favorite foods in season during fall and winter:
Apples are high in fiber and pectin, which help your body cleanse and support digestion, particularly of fat. If you’re watching your weight or cholesterol, apples may help reduce your body fat and bad cholesterol levels.
Winter squash contains vitamins A & C to help ensure your immune system is fully equipped to guard off sickness during the cold and flu season. Winter squash is also low in saturated fat, cholesterol, & sodium and contains vitamins B2 & B3, folate, and pantothenic acid. Try using spiralized winter squash as a healthier alternative in your favorite noodle dish.
Did you know that beets are rich in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants? They can help detoxify your system, reduce inflammation, and help sharpen your focus. They are also known to help increase blood flow which will help keep you warm this winter. Be sure to buy beets whole with the beet greens intact. The greens are rich in vitamin C and are delicious raw in a salad or sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
Consuming pomegranates in winter can help strengthen your immune system because of their high level of antioxidants—3x more than green tea and red wine. Antioxidants help keep free radicals in check and prevent disease from forming. It’s also been found that drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily may improve your learning and memory.
Filled with fiber, eating swiss chard may aid in the digestion of fat and proteins as well as the absorption of nutrients. Swiss chard may also help maintain healthy bones and sugar levels. Try them lightly sautéed with other wintergreens and garlic for a delicious and nutritious side dish.
Cycle new flavors and textures into your dish with different produce options. Stop by your local farmer’s market to see what else is in season. To look up one nearest you, visit: https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets.