Hit The Tropics
Since summer is in full effect (felt like 101 here in SoFla this weekend!), I wanted to explain the importance of eating both locally and seasonally, along with the impact it has on our health. Our bodies are much more in tune with nature than we give them credit for. There are actual reasons why we crave hot soups and hearty vegetables in the winter and light salads + cool fruits in the summer.
Mother Nature knows when we need more or less of a specific nutrient. It’s very beneficial for our minds, bodies + spirits to maintain a balance of eating seasonally as well as locally to stay in harmony with the natural order of things. Dr. Axe states: "Eating food out of season makes little sense economically, environmentally or nutritionally."
Reasons to eat locally + seasonally:
1. You know where your food is coming from. If you are shopping at a farmer’s market or are part of a local CSA, you get to know the people who are growing your food. A lot of the time the produce is actually organic, but the small farms in our area don’t have the money to pay the USDA to get a certification. Every time I visit a farmer’s market, the workers are more than happy to tell me about their pesticide use (or lack there of) and their farm practices. I’m always impressed!
2. Price. We are all aware that organic foods are more expensive. You can get some very good deals by shopping at the local sections of the grocery store, at a farmer’s market, or by becoming part of a CSA. Visit localharvest.org for more details on Community Supported Agriculture.
3. Eating locally also helps the environment by saving food miles. Imagine the amount of fossil fuel required to ship in grapes from California. Local food is much fresher, saves gas, causes less pollution, and is also up to the US standards. Remember, organic in Mexico or Costa Rica might not be the same as here. Also, less nutrition is lost because your "organic" produce from Peru isn’t on a plane, train, or truck before entering the door of your local grocery store.
In a recent article, Dr. Axe also shares that "Biochemical researcher Donald R. Davis says that the average vegetable on our supermarket shelves today has anywhere from 5 percent to 40 percent less minerals than those 50 years ago. Other experts estimate that you’d have to eat eight oranges to get the nutrient value that your grandmother would have by eating one. Green beans and peas lose anywhere from 15 percent to 77 percent of their nutrient content by the time we eat them. Even normally nutrition-rich broccoli may lose almost 60 percent of its flavonoids." How sad! Even when we TRY to eat right, we are missing nutrients.
How do we know how to really eat seasonally? Seasons vary in different parts of the world and even in different regions in the same country, but there is both specific and general guidance available. Check out Sustainable Table for more information! Here is specifics on South Florida this time of year: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/florida/late-july
Since these cooling fruits are best eaten in the summer, here are some fruit facts about tropicals:
• Mangoes are alkalizing, low glycemic, and help improve your eyes, hair, and skin.
• Coconuts are packed with fiber, electrolytes, they fight bacteria in the body, improve mental focus, help depression thanks to their healthy fats and mineral content, offer up magnesium, fiber, B vitamins, and contain 17 amino acids!
• Papaya is packed with enzymes for digestion, it’s loaded with vitamin C and beta carotene for your skin, and it’s very hydrating due to its high water content. The seeds are even beneficial for removing parasites from the body!
• Bananas are a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
• Kiwis have more vitamin C per fruit than an orange and can even help improve the bacteria in your digestive system since they act as a prebiotic!
Okay loves, I'm off to make a banana, kiwi, mango + papaya smoothie! With coconut on top.
Sources and Additional Reading:
Institute for Integrative Nutrition, 2012