veggiesYour mother always told you to eat your fruits and veggies.
As a healthy-eater, you might be quick to get holier-than-thou. But have you ever considered the time of year or where you live when planning your meals? That banana could cost a lot more than the buck you paid for it.
Eating for the seasons -- whether it's winter, spring, summer or fall -- can change the way you feel and even slim you down, sister. Whatever reason you have for choosing a healthy lifestyle, you owe it to the planet, your conscience and your dress size to explore what eating seasonally could do for you. Here is some food for thought:
Freshness. If you take into consideration what time of year it is when choosing veggies or fruits, you are able to buy produce picked at its peak. The peak harvest time is when that beautiful tomato is at the height of its creation. Right then, it's the perfect fruit. The location of a farm in relationship to you will determine how fresh it is, too. Produce spoils quickly when it's picked at its peak, so plan on eating what you buy within three to five days.
bananaFlavor. We all eat for flavor. Seasonal fruits and veggies taste the best -- they don't need to be sprayed with chemicals to speed up ripening. This often happens with tropical bananas -- they are never in season in the Northern Hemisphere. They're picked before ripening and transported long distances, by boat and plane, before reaching your mouth.
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Local. Buying seasonal often means going local, ladies. By supporting your community, you are funneling money into your local economy and straight into the hands of honest farmers. Most small to medium-sized farms use natural fertilizers, birds to keep away bugs, and they grow from local seed. Fruit doesn't need to withstand long journeys for delivery or grow to be the size of your head like genetically-modified produce.
Cheap. You can generally expect a cheaper price when eating seasonally, since the farmer has a lot of crop in peak season. Fruits and veggies are ripened to perfection and people want to sell, sell, sell. This is when farmer's markets, fruit and vegetable stands and our nearby supermarkets have an abundance of certain crops, so you can indulge in more, inexpensively. Rad.
tomatoesNutrition. When it comes to nutrition, eating seasonally gives you the most bang for your buck. Studies have found more vitamin C in produce picked at its peak, since it's allowed to receive more sunlight. In addition, when your produce has to travel days to get to you, each day it loses more precious nutrients, both from time and from bruising.
Health. Eating hearty root vegetables in the winter months will help you survive the cold weather, lowering your chances for sickness by fortifying your immune system and keeping you warm with better circulation. In the summer months, citrus fruits and greens give you more water to stay hydrated in the heat and more sustainable energy for moving around a lot.
When you are eating produce that's in season, your body is in sync with nature's rhythms. We're not saying to entirely give up your banana-topped cereal in the dead of winter, but it's good to be cognizant of your choices. From nature's cornucopia, your body can get the proper resources for the right amount of energy, so no extra fat will be able to stick around. The result? You keep your fabulous figure year-round and give Mama Nature a break.
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