Have you ever wondered why a lot of the produce found in the grocery store is available all year long? Or what influence it has on the nutrient content? With our modern society we have fresh foods available to us at all times, but at what cost?
The produce found year round in grocery stores is usually shipped from far away places which uses more gas, oil, and energy. The average time spent in transit is 5 days.
The fruits and veggies are not picked at their peak, rather before they are ripe to ensure they do not spoil during the time of transportation. Instead of allowing nature to work its magic in its natural habitat so it can increase its nutrient value, it's robbed of this precious time. The produce is then packed, shipped, received, sits in the back of the store, sits on the shelf at the supermarket, and then usually sits in your refrigerator. All of this time spent sitting around can decrease the nutritional value.
As someone who worked as a supervisor in a produce store when I was 18 years old, I can tell you from first hand experience that eating with the seasons can be quite beneficial to your health and your pocket book. Seasonal fruits and vegetables retain more nutrients than their counterparts making them a better choice for your health.
Shopping at your local Farmers Market is a beautiful way to support your local farmers and to get the most nutrient dense foods. They are usually picked the day before heading out to the farmers market which means the produce will contain more nutritional value.
I would like to share some advice advice from my years working closely with farmers. Establish a relationship with them and know where your food is coming from. I have seen many times people pretending to be farmers and selling their produce at farmers markets. In reality they went to a whole sale vendor and bought a large quantity of produce. They do not actually have a farm! This means you are not buying fresh picked nutrient dense produce. Know where your food comes from if possible.
Our bodies are intelligent beings which require different types of food at various times of the year. Have you ever noticed how the foods that grow in the winter are more dense and provide warmth to the body during the cooler months? Delicious foods such as root vegetables can be so nourishing and provide a great deal of energy to the body. While foods that grow in the summer can be more light and cooling? This is great to keep in mind when looking to eat with the seasons because it can be your guiding compass to deliver the nutrients your body requires.
While all food can be enjoyed year long for a healthy diet it is also nice to be conscious of how to get the most nutrients from the food you consume. This can be done by paying attention to what is in season. It will also save you money because the food does not have to be transported from far away places.
Spring Seasonal Foods:
Artichokes are one of the richest sources of antioxidants and are incredibly nutrient dense. They are particularly high in folate and vitamins C and K,. Artichokes are known for being a wonderful pre biotic, support liver health, and gut health. Pre biotics help to feed the good bacteria in your gut which is essential for a strong immune system.
Artichokes can be enjoyed in so many healthy ways. If you are looking for a simple healthy alternative simply steam them and make a dipping sauce with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper. Also vinegar is wonderful.
Arugula is wonderful for bone health. It contains an impressive amount of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, folate. Arugula contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and iron. It helps the body to naturally detoxify and can improve skin health.
Arugula can be enjoyed raw as a base for a salad, used as replacement in pesto instead of basil (one of my personal favorites. It adds a little spice to the pesto). It can also be added on top of pizza to add a balance of flavor and nutrition, as well as into soups.
Asparagus helps to promote overall digestive health and can help improve mood because it is rich in B vitamins and folate. Asparagus has been shown to help with weight loss, immune health, urinary tract health, liver support, and skin health.
Asparagus can be enjoyed grilled with olive oil, blended and made into a delicious soup, added to soups, risotto, breaded paired with a dipping sauce, or added to your breakfast omelette.
Avocados are a delicious healthy fat that are rich in potassium, vitamin C, folate and vitamin K.
Avocado's are perfect for healthy glowing skin, ahir, and nails. It is the perfect beauty food due to its healthy fat and nutrient content. Healthy fats help to plump the skin resulting in a more youthful appearance.
Avocados can be enjoyed as a healthy snack by just eating a half, on top of toast, guacamole, with eggs, you can cook an egg and enjoy it in the center of the avocado for a healthy balance of protein and healthy fat, you can stuff them with veggies or protein of choice. The possibilities are endless.
Beets are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and trace minerals. They are a wonderful anti-inflammatory and promote good heart health. Beets are excellent for supporting healthy detoxification which is essential for optimal health.
Beets can be enjoyed steamed, baked, in a salad with goat cheese, pickled, and pureed.
Broccoli contains high amounts of vitamin C, Calcium, and Vitamin K. It has been shown to protect heart health, improve immune health, and protect eye health.
Broccoli can be enjoyed raw, steamed, bakes, made into a delicious cheesy casserol, blended to make a healthy nutrient dense soup, and with with pasta.
Brussels sprouts contain a high amount of chlorophyll, which has anti aging properties. They also contain high amounts of Vitamin C which is used to protect the immune system. They are one of the top Vitamin K foods which help to protect bone health.
Brussel sprouts can be enjoyed steamed baked, and even shaved thinly and made into healthy chips topped with seasonings.
Cabbage is rich in key nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium, biotin, manganese and magnesium.T he fiber and water content in cabbage can be beneficial in preventing constipation and maintaining healthy digestion. Consuming adequate fiber daily helps to promote regularity, which is crucial for the excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.
Cabbage can be enjoyed in a soup, fermented, in a salad, in a casserole, in a stir fry, and as slaw.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene which is very imporatnt for the immune health of the body. It helps to protect the skin and eye health, and fighting free radical damage. It is true that eating carrots can help to improve eye health because they are rich in beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin which are crucial for eye health.
Carrots can be enjoyed raw, with a healthy dip, shaved into a salad, as a soup, baked, steamed, in a slaw, carrot muffins, carrot cakes, and carrot breads.
Cauliflower is an excellent source of antioxidants,
phyto nutrients, essential vitamins, carotenoids, fiber, soluble sugars, and minerals. Cauliflower has been shown to reduce inflammation, improves digestion, aids in detoxification, can help balance hormones, and aid in weight loss.
Cauliflower can be enjoyed in many different ways. One in particular that is quite popular at the moment is cauliflower rice. It is a nice substitute for grains and delivers while delivering important vitamins such as Vitamin C, K, And B6.
It can also be steamed, baked, used in a soup, as a crust for pizza, and more!
Collard green are amazing! They are usually overlooked and undervalued. Poor collards! They are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet. Here is why:
Collards are an incredibly rich source of Vitamin C which is essential for a healthy immune system and also a co factor for the synthesis of collagen in the body. Collagen is important for bone health, digestive health, and healthy hair skin and nails.
One of my favorite ways to eat collard greens is to lightly steam a few leaves for one minute and then use it as a replacement for a tortilla. You can add all your desired condiments and roll it in to a mini burrito. It is a healthy way to increase your nutrient intake while still enjoying the foods you enjoy.
Grapefruit has the highest water content of any fruit making it a wonderful way to add extra hydration into your diet, it has been praised for its ability to aid in weight loss, it has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, and support a healthy immune system.
Grapefruits can be a wonderful healthy snack on their own, added to brighten up a salad, in cocktails, added to tarts nd cakes, as a frozen dessert, with seafood, and seafood.
Eating healthy never tasted so good!
I wish you so much success on your healthy journey.