Whether You Follow A Mediterranean Diet Or Not, Eating In Season Can Be Healthful

Anna Fiannaca loves the peppers, eggplants, and zucchini her brothers grow more than the packaged foods in the grocery store as Sicily’s peak summer draws near.

The 89-year-old eats largely vegetarianism and makes everything from scratch in her kitchen. However, she credits a large portion of her ongoing health to modifying her diet to include the foods that are most readily available all year round.

According to Fiannaca, who resides close to Agrigento, “It was just the way of life in Sicily, taking whatever the seasons will give you,”

One of the many components of the Mediterranean diet’s health benefits is the consumption of a wide range of fruits and vegetables. It also has a lot of nuts, legumes, beans, and fish and olive oil, which are good sources of fat.

Yet, according to nutritionists, purchasing in-season produce is a simple first step towards adopting healthier eating practices, wherever you live.

Seasonal eating can be viewed as a means of constructing a more varied diet, said to registered dietician Sharon Grey, who oversees the community nutrition programme at the University of Connecticut.

Why is seasonal eating better for you?

Eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease, and other conditions. It is a crucial component of a healthy diet.

According to Grey, who provides healthy cooking lessons to low-income Hartford residents, a smart place to start is by selecting whatever is most available in the market each month. In New England, fall brings us pumpkins, squash and cranberries instead of summer’s tomatoes, berries and peaches. They are abundant in fibre and antioxidants, and offer a variety of vitamins, minerals, and complex carbs.

It helps that in-season produce tastes better.

According to her, ““A lot of adults don’t like a lot of fruits and vegetables, so if you can get them to like something, then they build it into their diet,”  “That is moving people away from processed food to preparing more food at home.”

According to Julia Zumpano, a licenced dietician at the Cleveland Clinic who specialises in illness prevention and treatment, eating seasonally frequently entails eating locally. In addition to being better for the environment, locally grown produce typically contains more nutrients since it is collected soon after it has naturally ripened.

“You’re going to maximize your vitamins and minerals in there, the polyphenols and antioxidants that are the foundations of how we decrease the risk of disease,” explained Zumpano.

How do you get started?

According to Sean Heffron, a cardiologist at the NYU Langone Heart Centre for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, changing your diet requires a little bit of an open mind. He advises patients to consider options other than the year-round broccoli, onions, and other veggies.

Heffron advised, “Open yourself up to, ‘Oh, now I see a lot of asparagus or peaches or artichokes.’ “It will expose you to more, and make you willing to try and eat more fruits and vegetables in general.”

Grey pointed out that farmers markets have proliferated and that a large number of them now accept food assistance programmes like SNAP. However, she also suggested that consumers buy at local supermarket chains, as they might be more likely to stock local products than national ones.

She advises customers to check the store’s fliers and signage to see what’s on sale, as this typically serves as a clue of seasonal plenty. In addition to saving money, it enables consumers to purchase expensive goods like frozen berries for later use.

Zumpano advised registering for a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) programme, which provides a seasonal produce box delivery service.“You don’t get to pick and it just comes every week,” she said. “I usually have to purchase additional food, but I can use that as a great foundation.”

Experts warn that following a seasonally appropriate diet isn’t a magic bullet and that individuals living in colder climates may experience wintertime nutritional deficiencies. This implies that you should buy veggies all year round, including leafy greens.

According to Zumpano,“We need seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day,” “Ninety percent of us don’t eat enough of them.”