By: Dr. Keith Kantor

Are in-season foods naturally healthier and more capable of supplying what our bodies need during those specific times? Do our bodies’ nutritional needs change by the season?

Yes, foods that are in season naturally are at their peak nutritional value and they tend to taste their best in season too.  Nature truly does give us what we need.  Before diving into the health benefits of seasonal eating consider the environmental benefits of seasonal eating.

Consuming foods that are local, not shipped far and in season allows for the land and its harvest to be sustained and not over cropped and undernourished.   Industrial farming and the toll it takes on the land results in our food not containing the same nutrient profile it once did because the soil is not as rich and the feeding practices for livestock are not natural allowing migration, etc.  Consuming local food that is in season creates a deeper appreciation for food and keeps things interesting rather than eating salads all year round, which may feel odd in the very cold months, just like eating a hearty soup or stew feels odd in the warmer months.

During cold and flu season foods that have high amount of vitamin C like grapefruit, oranges, etc. are in season to help boost our immune systems during the months we are more susceptible to getting sick. We are also naturally inclined to gain weight during the colder months of fall and winter, so we crave more hearty foods like oatmeal, stews etc. because essentially our body thinks that it is in hibernation mode.

The spring time we tend to consume more root vegetables that are detoxifying, cleansing foods like leafy greens, spinach, etc.  The health benefits from these foods help us shed off winter weight gain and get energized for summer.

In the summer months foods that contain a high amount of water are in season like watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, etc.  These options can help maintain our hydration levels when we are sweating more due to hot temperatures.  We crave vibrant colored fruits and vegetables which are beneficial to our gut and overall immune system at this time of year.

Seasonal foods are not limited to fruits and vegetables, hunting and fishing seasons also correspond with the meat and seafood that is at its most nutritional peak, optimal point in their reproductive cycle, and most beneficial to our metabolism and guts at that time of year.  A prime example of this would be deer hunting season is not the spring because the deer are slightly malnourished after a cold winter, deer hunting season is the Fall due to their nutritional value being high from all of the grass they ate all summer.

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