When you go to the grocery store, the food you buy has traveled an average of 746 miles to get from the farm to you. That’s alarming not only from an environmental perspective (shipping food creates a massive carbon footprint) but also from a health perspective. Here’s what you need to know about the value of eating local and seasonal.
The Benefits of Eating Local
1. It Just Tastes Better
Often, food that’s been shipped long distances has been picked before it was ripe.
In contrast, locally grown food is picked at its peak ripeness, meaning it looks and tastes its best.
Plus, chilling food for days upon days as it gets shipped across the country also further degrades flavor and texture.
That’s to say nothing about the ripening agents, preservatives, and other substances often added to foods that have to be shipped to your community.
This is why tropical fruit in Hawaii tastes better than what you may find at home, or why fresh seafood on the coast is so much more flavorful than what you may get in a more landlocked town.
2. It’s More Nutritious
Similar to the flavor note above, when food is picked in its prime ripeness, it doesn’t just taste better. Its nutrients are more fully developed, and its vitamins and minerals are more available for your body to absorb. Juvenile, unripe fruit that then ripen in the store (versus ripening on the mother plant) have a poorer nutritional value, which impacts how helpful these foods are for your body.
“Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased,” explains Michigan State University. “Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it gets to your store.”
If you care about nutrition and supporting your body’s health (and your immune system strength), eating food that’s local and been allowed to fully develop is better for your spirit, mind and body.
Of course, not all of us can buy every single item in the store from a local source. That’s where supplements come in. From standard vitamin and mineral supplements, to science-backed supplements like the thymic proteins found in BioPro Plus 500, we should all be seeking ways to add balanced nutrition to our day.
3. It Supports Your Seasonal Nutritional Needs
We did not evolve in a vacuum. Our bodies are in sync with the world around us, and nature (and us) evolved to support each other as the seasons change.
When you eat locally, you eat seasonally. And that often means enjoying what nature intended us to have, when we needed it most. For example, many citrus fruits reach their prime at the start of winter. Citrus fruits are exceptionally rich in vitamin C, and the start of winter is when we need vitamin C the most to bolster our immunity and prevent seasonal colds and flus.
Likewise, apricots, peaches and other stone fruits (some of the top sources of vitamin A) reach their local, seasonal peak in the summer. Eating more vitamin A helps to protect us from the free radicals and damage caused by the summer sun.
As you can see, eating seasonal and local foods supports our immunity and general health in more ways than one.