This article was written by Julie, our registered associate nutritionist, this article is here to help you to understand the importance of eating fresh seasonal produce.
A new season brings new inspiration!
With so many different types of fruit and vegetables on the market, it is easy to forget the importance of seasonality. Not only do seasonal fruit and vegetables support our nutritional needs more efficiently, but they also taste much better too!﹝1﹞
Why do seasonal fruit and vegetables taste better?
It isn’t just a marketing ploy, seasonal produce is fresher, sweeter and harvested at the point when they have naturally ripened. When foods are eaten out of season, they are often harvested early and undergo a process. This may be refrigeration to reduce the risk of spoilage or artificial ripening via a heating process once they reach their destination. Refrigeration is obviously a great way to keep food fresher for longer, however, it can diminish the taste of the produce. In addition, artificial ripening reduces the flavour and the lovely sweetness experienced with freshly harvested produce.
There are many benefits from a nutritional point of view….
Freshly harvested produce tends to be higher in nutritional content. Once foods are harvested vitamins such as vitamin C rapidly decline, and storage of products can mean that there is very little nutritional content left even when they hit the supermarket shelves! Some larger suppliers may need to treat produce, for example, the use of wax on apples and lemons to make them look fresh as well as extending the shelf life.
During the autumn months, apples are harvested and they are a great source of fibre as well as vitamin C. Apples are also rich in quercetin which has antioxidant and inflammatory properties, and there is also some evidence to suggest that they can support with cholesterol. So maybe an apple a day may keep the doctor away….
In addition, seasonal produce are able to support the bodies immunity, for example, in the winter months, we have an abundance of citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C ﹝2﹞. These can help the body to fight off cold and flu symptoms. There is also a wide variety of squash available that are rich in vitamin A that can strengthen and support the immune system too.
During autumn and winter, we have some fabulous vegetables available, ranging from vibrant beetroot to turnip, brussels sprouts, onions and leeks. Beetroot is packed with nutrients, including antioxidants that fight cell damage and reduce the risk of heart disease. This antioxidant known as betalain gives beetroot its vibrant colour and can help to reduce inflammation as well as reducing blood pressure. It may also help to protect against cancer as well!
Supporting the environment and the local economy
Purchasing locally grown fruit and vegetables help to support local farmers. Furthermore, local farmers don’t have the high cost of transporting produce if it is sold locally either. This contributes to a reduction in food miles, meaning less consumption of fossil fuels and few carbon emissions……WIN WIN ﹝3﹞.
Eating a variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables is always going to be beneficial to our health, so try to bear this in mind when you do your weekly shop, or why not try your local farm shop or market, you may find the produce is much fresher and tastier.
Written by our nutritionist:
Julie is an Associate Registered Nutritionist and believes in providing a personalised approach to her clients to help them reach their health and lifestyle goals. Julie has experience working with clients on a one to one basis to support digestive disorders, weight management and women’s health, in addition, Julie is a qualified chef and lecturer, and is able to support clients with their culinary skills, education and training.
Contact us to book Julie's nutrition expertise.
What is Food Miles?