The benefits of eating seasonal food
My little cook and I were lucky enough to move to a house close to an allotment a few years ago. I felt nervous taking a plot on at first (it is back braking work at times!) but the benefits are so vast and we have learnt SO much about how food grows and what is in season. Plus there is nothing quite like watching your child pick something straight from the ground / plant and eat it! All you need is a windowsill and we have loved the experience so much that we include organic seeds in our spring boxes so that our customers can share the joy of growing food from seed. Here is a summary of the benefits of eating seasonal food:
- It usually contains less chemicals
Food grown outside of their natural season and environment need a lot more help in the form of pesticides, chemicals and preservatives to grow and be appealing to consumers. It makes sense when you think about it – we wouldn’t do so well if we were suddenly plonked in the Arctic and would need lots of protection, plants are the same!
- Natural phytochemicals help our bodies
Phytochemicals are chemicals plants make in reaction to their environment. They perform lots of jobs such as medicines to keep the plant healthy and protection against animal predators. They are extremely beneficial to our health – they function as antioxidants, help detoxification, and can reduce DNA damage. Food that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides, chemicals and preservatives often have higher phytochemical levels because they have to protect themselves in their environment. Non organic food on the other hand has grown up lazy, not needing to protect itself from predators or keep itself well because artificial chemicals have done it for them. It’s the same with our kids – if we did everything for them they’d never learn to do it for themselves!
- Food rich in nutrients
The closer our food is grown to where we live the less time it will have spent on a boat, plan or lorry. This means there has been less time for nutrients and vitamins to degrade – this is especially true of vitamin C which is quickly lost after food has been picked. If we buy strawberries in winter it is highly likely that they will have been shipped from outside of the UK and will have lower vitamin C values.
- Better for the environment
Shipping food from other countries which are out of season in our country clocks up a lot of air miles and burnt fuel, which could be avoided if we ate what is produced seasonally in the UK.
- Support our bodies natural nutritional needs
In winter we are provided with citrus food which are particularly high in citamin C and preventing infections such as colds and flu’s. Summer foods such as stone fruits provide us with extra beta-carotenes and other carotenoids that help protect us against sun damage. Nature has been around a lot longer than us and we should trust it most when it’s not been interfered with.
- Seasonal food is often cheaper
When there’s an abundance of a product the prices go down – asparagus from your local farm in June will be cheaper than buying asparagus in winter. Eat Seasonably has done research which shows that a basket of fruit and vegetables in the summer can be a third cheaper than the same basket bought out of season.