The one ‘diet’ worth doing?
With supermarkets and online vendors offering fresh produce all year round, it can be difficult to determine what’s in season at any given point in time. However, the changing of seasons offers a natural diversity of fresh fruit and vegetables that we should be taking advantage of. Eating locally grown, seasonal ingredients doesn’t simply taste better it’s also beneficial for the environment, local farmers and our health.
Top 5 reasons to follow the seasons
- Flavour: “Fresh” produce tastes best when it’s just that… fresh. Fruit and vegetables that are given a chance to ripen naturally and harvested at the correct time are full of flavour. We’ve all experienced the joy of that first juicy summer mango or the disappointment of biting into fruit that’s out of season and has no taste.
- Nutrition: As with flavour, fruit and veggies reach their nutritional peak at the time they ought to be harvested. Most foods begin to lose nutrients after this point. If food is picked prematurely and frozen in storage or shipped internationally, you’re not going to get the same nutritional value as fresh, local produce.
- Supporting local farmers: When you buy directly from the source you’re supporting local farmers and local business. It’s also better for the environment because the food isn’t being transported long distance, thus reducing the carbon footprint.
- It’s cheaper: You will save money, as out of season ingredients generally have a price hike due to the cost of transportation.
- More variety: Eating seasonally means that you’re not eating the same food all year round. It forces you to experiment with ingredients that you may not have used before and you’ll eat a wider variety of produce throughout the year.
Here are my top picks for the winter season
- Cauliflower: Rich in vitamin C for immunity and fibre for gut health, cauliflower can be used as a healthy rice or carb replacement. Check out some healthy cauli comfort food ideas here.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are traditionally believed to have immune stimulating properties, which is exactly what we need in winter. My favourite mushroom dishes are, mushroom meatloaf or mushroom bolognese on zucchini noodles.
- The humble spud: When potato is cooked and cooled it turns some of the digestible starches into resistant starch. We are unable to fully digest resistant starch so when it’s consumed it goes straight to our large intestine and feeds our gut bacteria. This bacteria then helps to maintain healthy gut function. Potatoes also contain potassium, vitamin C, magnesium and are a great source of natural fibre.
- Beetroot: Beetroot is traditionally known as a liver tonic because it’s beneficial for detoxification. When winter strikes many of us fall victim to colds and flu. Eating beetroot can help the body rid itself of unwanted bacteria, keeping you fighting fit for spring. It’s also low in fat, rich in antioxidants, and full of protein.
- Brussel Sprouts: Brussel sprouts belong to the cabbage family, Brassica, and are rich in compounds that support detoxification. Being rich in fibre, brussel sprouts can help to keep us fuller for longer so we are less likely to seek out unhealthy comfort foods!
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