The change in season brings with it a whole host of beautiful fresh produce. There are many benefits from eating seasonally and paying close attention to which fruits and vegetables are ripening as the temperature starts to drop.
In winter it’s especially important to eat a healthy and balanced range of foods to build immunity and stay fighting fit. It’s also a great chance to break out any recipes you haven’t been able to use since last year, as well as an opportunity to try new things.
“During the summer we tend to eat a lot of salads, which ensures we’re getting our daily intake of veg,” says nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan. “This winter, get used to some warm salads that ensure you’re still getting enough greens.”
Here are some of the fantastic benefits that come from adjusting your diet according to what’s in season:
- Nutrients: Seasonally fresh produce is picked when it’s ripe and chock-full of nutrients, while fruit and veg that is not in season is often shipped long distances or stored for a prolonged period. As soon as produce is harvested, nutrients such as vitamin C are susceptible to decline. This is why it’s best to shop at local produce markets or greengrocers. Look out for kale in winter, it’s one of the most nutrient-rich plant foods out there and it’s easy to sneak into your winter soups and juices.
- Flavour: The benefits of this one are self-explanatory. Produce that is allowed to ripen naturally in the sun tastes amazing and the balance of flavours is spot on. There are so many winter flavours to look forward to – like juicy oranges or sweet mandarins, which are full of antioxidants.
- Price: An abundance of seasonal produce means prices go down. This is because seasonal food is much cheaper for famers to produce. The added benefit for you is the opportunity to get more of the amazing fruit and vegetables you love – at lower prices.
- Environment: Food that is naturally in season is more likely to have been sourced locally, meaning less “food mileage”. Producing seasonally abundant fruit and vegetables is also more sustainable as they can be grown without pesticides and genetic modification.
- Variety: “Personally I love nourishing my body with warm foods when the weather gets a little colder, making delicious soups or broths enriched with minerals and anti-inflammatory nutrients,” says health-focused chef Teresa Cutter. “It’s also the best time to enjoy freshly made juices from raw fruits and vegetables that are bursting with vitality and goodness.”
Eating seasonally adds variety to your diet and gives you the creativity to come up with new and delicious dishes based on what you find. Winter is the perfect time to embrace citrus fruits and rich, colourful vegetables such as beetroot and cabbage.