Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Seasonal Foods?

You may have heard the terms "seasonal foods" or eating "in-season" used by holistic nutrition experts, but what do they mean? Why are seasonal foods so important?

The seasons provide diversity, and changes in conditions from spring to summer or fall to winter, for example, are essential for balancing the ecosystem. We've been taught to expect the same foods to be available in our supermarkets year-round; however, we pay the price for this availability, both in nutrition and ecological terms.

According to the National Resources Defense Council, most produce grown in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles before it gets sold. A grape traveling from Chile to California travels approximately 5,900 miles!

Seasonal produce is fresher, may have higher levels of beneficial nutrients, often tastes better, is more likely to be grown locally, and can often be purchased from local farmers, reducing the transportation time and associated costs, while supporting your local economy.

To find out what's in-season in your area, head to your local farmers market or check out the National Resources Defense Council Eat Local Guide.

For November, commonly found in-season produce includes: apples, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, corn, eggplant, kale, mushrooms, okra, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin, rhubarb, snap peas, spinach, and squash.

What are your favorite in-season foods for this time of year? Have some great tips for how to locate seasonal foods in your local area? Feel free to post your suggestions and comments here! Plus -- we're always looking for new recipes. We look forward to hearing from you.

>> To learn more about holistic nutrition and eating for health, find more information about the American College Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting online here.

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