Each season gives us the seasonal food we need most. As if nature thinks about our health more than ourselves, in summer, when the heat is tightening, it offers us fruits rich in water, appropriate to hydrate us. And when winter comes, vegetables, greens and legumes soft, tasty and warm texture to warm our bodies.
In summer, tomatoes; in winter oranges
It would never have occurred to our grandparents to make a tomato salad in the winter or make orange juice in the summer. In winter, they fought the cold with tasty and nutritious dishes based on vegetables and legumes. They strengthened their defenses with fruits rich in vitamin C. They hydrated with warm broths and soups or warmer salads than those of the summer. Or they made sweet apple or quince compotes.
Seasonal foods were the absolute protagonists of the diet before the arrival of large stores. Today, however, the usual thing is to find on the supermarket shelves any product in any season.
But let’s pause for a moment and let our bodies do the shopping list. What do we want now that the cold is coming, that the heating dries the air at home, that viruses and bacteria are swarming everywhere and the threat of a cold is constant? Perhaps, seasonal food.
In winter, seasonal foods help us fight the cold and strengthen our defenses
3 Advantages of seasonal food
Science also gives us good reasons to prefer them. Consuming seasonal foods, that is, those that are grown and harvested in their natural season, have proven advantages:
- Are more nutritious. The concentration of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is higher in fruits and vegetables that are planted in season. The soil is less impoverished than that of extensive crops, which hardly give it rest. And plants grow in heat and sunlight, which also improve the quality of the final product. In addition, once separated from the plant, the fruit must be saved and stored, and during this time it loses much of the vitamin C it contains.
- The fruits are richer and tastier. As it matures in the tree, its carbohydrate content increases and the acid content decreases. An orange picked at the optimal moment of ripening tastes sweeter, softer, it is less rough and astringent.
- Are greener. When grown in the right season, plants get less sick and need fewer cures and pesticide treatments than if they are “forced” to grow in a time and climate other than their own. They also do better and don’t require as much fertilizer.
Remember that in winter are in season: tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, apples, quinces, pears, bananas, persimmons, custard apples, mangoes and papayas.
Seasonal foods are more nutritious, rich and ecological
Seasonal foods to combat the cold
Carrots, leeks, onions, lettuce, endive and all kinds of cabbage are in season in the cold months. And it is fortunate: all of them have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances that will help us cope with colds and infections common at this time of year.
Boiled, forming part of soups, purees and stews and even in warm salads, they should not be missing in main meals. Legumes are other great protagonists of winter. They have just been harvested and are still tender. They are rich in carbohydrates that are slowly digested and provide heat and energy for longer. Grandma’s traditional stew is, without a doubt, a wise option to keep the body warm on cold days. In addition, legumes have the virtue of being one of the most sustainable foods: they take care of the land where they are grown and require fewer resources to store and preserve them, since they do not need to be refrigerated or processed.
Like fruits and vegetables, fish also have their life cycle and some species are more abundant and tastier in some seasons than in others. Furthermore, taking into account the current state of the fishing grounds, it is more important than ever to respect that cycle and eat fish seasonal.
According to the environmental organization Greenpeace, 48% of fish stocks in European Atlantic waters and more than 90% in the Mediterranean are overexploited. If you want to make eating fish at home more sustainable, check out their species guide of each season.
Teach sustainable consumption to children
One of the Sustainable Development Goals that the UN includes in the Agenda for 2030 is to promote short marketing circuits and local food consumption. The organization explains that local foods are effective in fighting hunger and food waste and in improving the nutrition of the population. Consuming, as we always did, seasonal food:
- We help the local economy.
- We contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and the costs involved in transporting them from distant areas, storing them until they reach their destination and distributing them.
- We favor the conservation of native species.
Let’s teach our children from a young age to recognize and value the quality of food they consume and the effort involved in cultivating them. And to listen to the advice of your body when choosing them.
The entrance Seasonal foods that the body asks us for in winter appears first in Toads and Princesses.