When we hear the words seasonal produce it’s almost immediately coupled with adjectives like fresh, plump and flavourful. There’s a reason for this connection and it might just be linked to your health.
By Jana du Plessis
Walking down the supermarket aisle, there’s no denying the beautiful colours and shapes that decorate the fresh-produce section. But have you considered some of those fruits and veggies on display may not be as healthy as we think? Certain produce thrives under different conditions, for example making strawberries juicy come summertime and pumpkins sweet when winter rolls around. Cultivating fruit and veg to be harvested outside of their natural seasons results in a loss of nutrients, sometimes smaller fruit and veg, and definitely a reduction in flavour.
Take a moment to think about the different produce available at varying times in the year: Winter is commonly marked with colds and flu, and in summer we need more water to stay hydrated. Therefore vitamin C-rich citrus is in abundance during the cold, cloudy months when our immune-systems have to work slightly harder. In the same sense, watermelon, tomatoes and mushrooms are picked in the hot months to nourish our cells with foods naturally high in water.
The better choice
Besides the fact that certain foods appear at certain times of the year to fulfil the specific nourishing roles our bodies need at that time, eating seasonally has a great effect on the economy and environment too. Out of season fruit and veg is imported from around the world, which pushes up costs as well as carbon dioxide emissions. Buying seasonal produce benefits the local market and boosts our own economy. Your body, the Earth and your budget will thank you for it!