Seasonal fruits and vegetables are healthier as compared to non-seasonal and imported foods. They help in building immunity. Interestingly, seasonal foods are easy to digest and are free of added chemicals and preservatives, particularly if they are organically produced. Here are some reasons to incorporate more seasonal foods in your diet.
During summers, it is advised to include fruits such as apples, grapes, plums, pomegranates, berries, cherries, coconut, pears, pineapples, mangoes, muskmelon, watermelon, papaya, and apricots. Vegetables such as cauliflower, cucumber, green beans, potatoes, bottle gourd, zucchini/torai, okra, parwal, tinda, karela, pumpkin, and sweet potato are recommended for consumption.
In the autumn season, try including fruits such as guavas, papayas, pomegranates, custard apples, apples and vegetables such as brinjals, tomatoes, spring onions, radish french beans, and beetroots.
In the winter, it is ideal to consume fruits such as strawberries, grapes, guava, papaya, pomegranate, pineapple, chikoo, muskmelon, and oranges. If you enjoy consuming vegetables, then you must incorporate adequate servings of brinjals, spinach, fenugreek leaves, mustard leaves, spring onions, beetroots, peas, capsicum, carrots, radish, and pumpkin.
Let us have a glance at what advantages they bring to our diets:
1. Aid with digestion and immunity
If you eat fruits and vegetables that are freshly hand-picked from your garden or from your local farmer’s land, you are having food that is exceptionally nutritious and healthy. It is easier to digest as it contains more prana or “life force” as compared to non-seasonal ones. The older the food, the less prana and the more strain it exerts on your digestive system. Eating old food, or food that is left over, canned, frozen or packaged, can make your digestion sluggish and slow. It creates ama, that is, the sticky mucous which is actually a by-product of incomplete digestion.
Ama (toxin) blocks the narrow passages that provide nutrition to the body cells and restricts other passages that eliminate waste products from the body. When the cells are deprived of nutrition or are flooded with toxic wastes, this adversely affects immunity. In fact, according to the principles of Ayurveda, good digestion implies good immunity.
2. Helps in the prevention of allergies
Besides improving your digestive vigour and functioning, centring your diet on foods grown in the soil and climate where you live locally can help prevent allergies. Eating foods grown in completely different climates around the world can disturb digestion and cause constipation or food allergies.
3. Balances the doshas
When you eat locally-grown food, you are actually eating in-season foods. The vegetables and fruits that are ripe in the spring season are not the same vegetables and fruits that are ripe in the fall season. “Being in tune with the seasons and eating local foods can help balance mind and body. If you have accumulated dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) during a particular season, you can bring your body back into balance by eating locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables. For example, during the spring season, you may accumulate too much of the heavy, dull, sluggish Kapha Dosha. You can eat lighter foods, with more bitter, astringent or pungent tastes. Similarly, during the hot, humid summer months, known as “Pitta season” where you might accumulate too much heat in your body, eating sweet, cooling foods that ripen during summer, such as melons and summer squashes, brings cooling and balancing effect on the body.
4. Supply greater nutrition at a lower cost
Food should be picked when it is ripe and edible. Picking at peak ripeness not only enhances flavour, but it also ensures that the food will have the optimal nutritional value. Only local fruits and vegetables can be picked when ripe and still reach the consumers on time. Fruits and vegetables are affordable and reasonably priced when in season. It is not surprising to know that foods imported from Western countries are highly priced, and non-seasonal due to their sourcing from cold storage facilities. Henceforth, it is best to consume ripe and flavorful fruits and vegetables, whenever they are in season because this is the time when they are available at low cost and also high in nutritional value.
Due to the above-mentioned reasons, it is advised to eat seasonal fruits and veggies to derive maximum benefits and to stay healthy!