Seasonal Nutrition

Picture Credit: Patrick Donnelly
Picture Credit: Disiana Caballero

I have been noticing the shift towards autumn recently as I am sure many of you have too. The nights are drawing in, temperatures have been dropping and the leaves are falling off the trees. Warming soups, stews and broths are now on my menu. Why though is it important to eat seasonally? Well yes, it is more beneficial to the environment, especially if locally sourced, due to a reduction in food mileage and transportation resources. This is certainly a positive. Greater knowledge of global food systems, and awareness of food sustainability is slowly being brought to the forefront. Pesticide and herbicide contents can also be minimised as food preservation priorities lessen, so does chemical load.

From a nutrient content perspective, seasonally (and ideally local + organic) sourced produce can have a higher nutrient content in comparison to out of season products (i.e., eating Strawberries in December in the UK)! Why might this be?  Seasonally sourced fruit and vegetables are traditionally harvested when the produce is considered at its ‘best’. This means that they retain their natural nutrient and vitamin content. The produce is fresher, and so the natural phytonutrient compounds are maintained at a more beneficial level compared to vegetables that have been in transit for days or weeks on end.

Knowledge and understanding of these broader issues are vitally important. Nutrition is not just about obtaining the right macro and micronutrient balance. These concepts will be explained and introduced to students at the Hippocratic Institute in detail. Wider parameters need to be considered such as, chemical load, preservatives, and nutrient value in food produce. Seasonality can really play a key role for not just our environment but our nutrition too. So where would be a good place to start? The Soil Association suggests aiming for 2 seasonally produced meals a week, this certainly seems a manageable goal! Their website has a whole page on seasonal food and what veg is in season now. So this month, I will be making a chunky veg soups incorporating seasonal foods such as: broccoli, leeks, mushrooms and parsnips. Give it a go and you might notice a difference!

Katie Roberts

Nutritional Therapist

NT Dip CNM, BA Hons

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