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Why Seasonal Eating Is Better For You

Did you know that the Japanese had no specific word for their clothing until the arrival of Western influence in Japan? The term 'Kimono' that we usually associate with Japanese clothing originally meant clothing in general. Until western fashion became popular, there was no concept of traditional vs non-traditional clothing styles.

The same can be said of seasonal eating.

To anyone over the age of 40, the concept of non-seasonal eating is something that has only sprung up in their (read my) adult lives. Until modern greenhouse techniques and the globalisation of food markets gained ground over the last 20 years, ALL food was seasonal.

And while this has brought greater variability to peoples' diets and allowed us to experience new and exotic foodstuffs, it hasn't all been good news.

Let’s dive into nine reasons why seasonal eating is better for you.

 

 Better Taste

Simply put, food that is grown in season tastes better. This is because produce harvested at the right time after ripening naturally tastes better than food picked early and transported thousands of kilometres.

 

Good For Gut Health

A 1-year study of Hazda people in the Rift Valley in Africa compared the gut health of these hunter-gatherers with Italian urbanites and African farmers. It found that the seasonal eating Hazda people had a far greater spectrum of gut bacteria than either the farmers or the Italians. Moreover, the researchers observed changes in their gut flora as their diet changed seasonally. The Hadza do not suffer many common gut health issues we in the West do.

 

High Nutritional Value

As with taste, food that has been allowed to ripen fully is higher in polyphenols (compounds found in plants and have a wide variety of health benefits).

 

Cheaper

With inflation skyrocketing, we're all looking to save some money these days, and seasonal eating is one way you can do that. Seasonal food is typically more available and has a shorter distance to travel from the producer to the consumer, both of which help keep the cost down.

 

Supports Your Body’s Needs

Our bodies evolved in harmony with our environment, which means that the nutrients we need for each season are often in the foods available at those times. For example, in the wild, many berries are in season in autumn, along with many wild mushrooms. Together they supply high levels of vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc to help our bodies prepare for the winter ahead.

 

Environmentally Friendly

Locally grown seasonal produce grows more efficiently and has shorter supply lines which help to reduce the environmental impact of that food on the environment.

 

Support Local Community

Eating locally grown seasonal produce helps support our communities. Instead of paying international shipping agencies and big businesses, that income can go directly to local farmers and their families. This is doubly true if you source your produce from an organic farm or a scheme like neighbourhood food.

 

Easier To Know Exactly What You’re Eating

You have a much better idea of how old your produce is by eating seasonally. You also have a greater assurance it hasn't been treated with chemicals or radiation treated to make it last longer.

 

Stop Food Waste

Food waste has become a significant issue in the West, with over ¼ of food produced globally going to waste. According to an EPA report, this contributes approximately 8-10% of GHG emissions.

According to stopfoodwaste.ie 'the longer food spends in storage and transit, the higher the chance of spoiling and becoming waste. More than half of all food waste occurs along the supply chain.’

If you want to get a guide on seasonal eating, check out this handy Bord Bia guide which shows what’s in season every month of the year.

 

Want To Learn More?

Check out our course, Plant Based Basics. You’ll learn why and how to eat seasonally. It’s a brilliant self-paced course that will empower you to make better food choices.