Once upon a time, before refrigerated trucks and supermarkets, people ate according to what was grown nearby in any given season (or according to what they’d thought to preserve during the previous months).
While today’s agricultural and supermarket industries offer us many more choices in how and what we can eat, doing things the old-fashioned way comes with a number of health benefits. Here’s why you can do your body a huge favor by adding more local, seasonal produce to your diet.
- Higher nutrient content. Produce has its highest nutritional value at peak ripeness, and starts losing that value as soon as it’s harvested. Many fruits and vegetables [link to ] destined to be shipped long distances are picked before they achieve optimum ripeness and lose nutrients during the long shipment process (and while they sit on your shelves). Eating locally and in season lets you avoid both problems and enjoy more of the nutrients that protect against breast cancer [link to] and other diseases.
- Better taste. The fresher produce is, the better it tastes. It’s as simple as that. If you’re unfamiliar with the various offerings at your local farmer’s market, you can enjoy an assortment of tantalizing flavors by researching recipes designed for the vegetables and fruits available to you. Or ask the people you buy produce from: chances are, they’ll have plenty of ideas for enjoying the season’s freshest offerings.
- Smaller carbon footprint. The less distance food travels, the less gasoline is required to get it from the field to your mouth. This creates a greener, healthier planet for everyone.
- Better prices. When a crop is ripe, farmers have to harvest it and sell it before it goes bad. This means that prices will be lower for you—it’s a simple matter of supply and demand. Take advantage of your favorite food’s peak seasons by learning to preserve batches of whatever you want to eat when the season has passed.
Eating a diet rich in plant-based foods has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to prevent cancer of all kinds. Treat your body right by indulging in the delicacies blooming outside your doorway, and enjoy the rich flavors and high quality of life that brings you!