Embrace the seasons for an easy health boost
posted in Nutrition,
We’re all told to make sure we include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in our diet but there is an easy, and often overlooked way, to make sure we’re getting the most from these foods.
The nutritional value of fruit and vegetables is at its highest when it has been allowed to ripen on the plant and is consumed as soon as possible after it’s been harvested, so, if we want to ensure that we are optimizing the nutritional content of our diets, it makes sense to make sure we are including as much local and seasonal produce as possible.
When fruit and vegetables are harvested they continue to respire and transpire and whilst these levels depend upon the type of produce, their nutrient levels start to decline. Add to this the fact that long transit times require produce to be picked before it’s fully ripened, further decreasing the nutrient content, and it’s apparent that anything that has been shipped half-way round the world simply isn’t going to be able to compete nutritionally with something grown locally.
Local farmers’ markets and box delivery schemes are often excellent ways to find quality seasonal foods and as we come into May it’s a great time to enjoy British produce. Make the most of the short asparagus season, one of nature’s true food heroes, and also look out for artichokes, aubergines, broad beans, carrots, courgettes, fennel, mange tout, new potatoes, peas, radishes, rocket, sorrel, spinach, spring onions and watercress.
Making big improvements to our health often requires significant change and quite a bit of effort but by taking note of what is in season and sourcing it locally you can improve the quality of your diet with minimal effort.
Below are some suggestions of fruit and veg that are seasonal to the UK at the moment and therefore most likely to be grown locally.
Spring onions – try finely chopped in salads or cooked in stir frys
Asparagus – can be enjoyed in so many ways but delicious grilled and works really well with eggs for a nutritious breakfast
Rocket – lovely and peppery as a salad base or mixed with other salad leaves
Radishes – really tasty, keep them raw in a salad
Young carrots – sweet and tasty and make a great raw snack or dip into some homemade houmous
Beetroot – packed full of flavour, try them grated raw or they can also be cooked. Great with other roasted veg and some crumbled feta
Strawberries – try them on top of a salad for a beautiful pop of colour or for a delicious treat dip them into some melted dark chocolate, leave to set in the fridge for a few hours and then enjoy!
Rhubarb – try it cooked in a little fresh orange juice with added ginger and raw honey for taste. It’s delicious served with natural live yoghurt
Spring cabbage – hugely underrated! Lovely and crunchy when grated into coleslaw or stir fried with other young veg