Your body needs fuel to perform your daily tasks, everything from waking up energized, to making it through your 2 pm conference call, to exercise, to running errands. This makes the food you eat incredibly important. Health experts recommend you eat fresh, seasonal produce as often as possible.
Before we go into why eating seasonal produce is so beneficial, it’s important to point out that this doesn’t necessarily mean only shopping at the local farmer’s market. You can and should buy them from your regular grocery store if you’re savvy about it. You will notice that when produce is in season, even when shopping at traditional grocery stores, there is a drastic change in the price of fruits and vegetables when they are in season as opposed to out of season. This is because there is a cost involved with the transportation and storage of these out-of-season veggies. If you want a “summer fruit” in the dead of winter in Buffalo, your food is being shipped from somewhere that is still hot or being frozen and stored from the summer past. As a simple example, you will see strawberries in your regular grocery store all year-round. These berries are really only cultivated in the spring and early summer, so grocery stores must go to great lengths in order to ensure that they always have it on hand.
Let’s look at a few reasons why choosing seasonal produce is better for not just you, but everyone!
#1 The Food is Higher Quality
Nutrition, exercise, and sleep are the three pillars of wellness. The food you eat is incredibly important to your overall wellness. This means making sure you’re fueling your body with the high-quality nutrients you need. The time between when a fruit or vegetable is picked and when they arrive on your plate will impact the nutrients available to you. Some studies show that the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables decline over time. A study showed that green peas stored at 4°C (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit) for seven days lost up to 15% of their vitamin C content. Green beans stored in the same temperature lost up to 77% of vitamin C in that same week.
#2 It is Better Tasting
Foods rarely ever taste as good as when they are perfectly ripe and in season. When produce is in season, it is often allowed to ripen on the vine or plant and is picked at the peak of maturity. This allows the fruit or vegetable to have the best possible flavor, color, and the most nutrients! The strawberries mentioned above may have been flown across the world on an airplane to get to your store. On the other hand, seasonal fruit and vegetables have been grown in their ideal environment and picked at the exact moment for maximum flavor. Yum!
#3 It can be Less Expensive
The higher the supply, the less the cost! It is a common misconception that it is more expensive to buy fresh, locally grown food. In fact, it is often less expensive. How so? When you buy fruit grown in another country, it needs to be picked, packed up, shipped to your area, unpacked, and stocked on the shelf. All of this costs money. Guess who pays for these labor and shipping costs? You do! If you want strawberries in January, you’re going to be paying quite a bit. Choosing seasonal produce has many advantages; saving money is just one of them!
#4 The Whole Process is More Eco-Friendly
If you read above about strawberries being flown across the world and thought that couldn’t possibly be good for the environment, you’re absolutely right. It isn’t just about the pollution associated with transporting the items. Most fresh, locally-grown foods are also grown without the use of pesticides and harsh chemicals. Many times, when you are shopping at local farmer’s markets, the farmers may practice organic farming but choose not to pay for organic certification. We encourage you to take a look at the list of “dirty dozen” foods that are the most likely to be grown with pesticides.
#5 You will Sleep Better
Did you know that eating better helps you sleep better? In fact, beyond sleeping on a premium mattress, eating a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to sleep well. If you are focused on keeping your body functioning well and feeling great each morning, you want to learn about how food affects the way you sleep. It isn’t just so-called unhealthy foods that need to be avoided in order to sleep well. Many of the foods most known to be “clean” from pesticides are actually the ones that are shown to help you sleep better, like kiwis.
#6 You are Contributing to Your Local Community
These benefits extend beyond being great for you. It’s what is best for everyone! Supporting local farmers, native crops, and neighborhood markets and restaurants helps to circulate your money within the community. In fact, every dollar spent locally circulates two and a half times within the community through profits and jobs. People employed locally pay local taxes that go towards roads, bridges, schools, the fire department, and more. When you buy your food from far away, that’s exactly where your money goes too.
Part of a healthy lifestyle is getting great sleep on a high-quality, premium mattress. Another aspect of staying healthy is what you eat. Remember, research suggests that a bad night’s sleep can lead you to crave more unhealthy snacks and junk food the next day. It becomes a vicious cycle! Eat a light, healthy dinner with plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables before bed. You’ll be amazed at how easily you fall asleep, how long you sleep uninterrupted, and how fabulous you feel in the morning!