Eat with the Seasons

EAT WITH THE SEASONS

Seasons form a natural backdrop for eating. All of the world's healthiest foods are seasonal.  Imagine a vegetable garden in the dead of winter.  Now imagine the same garden on a sunny summer day.  How different things are during those two seasons of the year.

Seasons are considered a source of natural diversity.  Changes in growing conditions from spring to summer or fall to winter are considered essential for balancing the earth's resources and its life forms.  But today it's so easy for us to forget about seasons when we eat!  To enjoy the full nourishment of food, you must make your menu a seasonal one.  In different parts of the world, and in different regions of the country, seasonal menus can vary, but here are some principles you can follow to ensure optimal nourishment in every season.

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Super Foods:

In spring focus on tender, leafy vegetables that represent the fresh growth of the season.  The greening that occurs in springtime should be represented by greens on your plate.

  • Artichokes – This springtime gem is a good source of calcium, folate, dietary fiber, and vitamin C and K. Artichokes are packed with antioxidants.

  • Asparagus – a good source of iron, fiber, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. It also contains folate, which works along with vitamin B12 to inhibit mental decline.

  • Strawberries – a great source of potassium and vitamin C, strawberries are a delicious way to strengthen your immunity.

  • Spring Onions – containing vitamins A, B, C, and K, spring onions are rich in minerals, such as calcium, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Like other members of the allium family, including garlic, leeks, chives, spring onions help to fight viruses, making them a perfect choice to fend off spring colds.

  • Radishes – a good source of magnesium and vitamin C. Their spicy and cooling flavor is also said to break down mucus, the springtime solution to your winter cold.

  • Leafy greens, especially arugula, spinach and salad greens – greens are cleansing to the body, plus they’re a great source of beta carotene (your body converts this to vitamin A), vitamin K, calcium and potassium.

Summer Super Foods:

In summer, stick with light, cooling foods in the tradition of traditional Chinese medicine. The summer season is packed with fresh fruit and vegetables that all seem to be super- foods. They are but some are more super than others.

 

  • Carrots – most carrots are orange, but heirloom varieties come in purple, yellow, red and white. Each color offers a different variety of powerful antioxidants. Known for their high beta carotene content, carrots help inhibit oxidative damage and are beneficial in inhibiting cardiac disease, too. High in vitamin A, biotin, and vitamin K, and loaded with fiber, they’re powerhouses of nutrition.

  • Broccoli – a cup of broccoli has more than a full day’s requirements of vitamins C and K, and is a good source of vitamin A, chromium, and folate.

  • Tomatoes – are off the charts in the phytonutrient department, offering high levels of beta carotene, lycopene, and numerous heart-health benefits. They’re high in vitamins A, C, K and biotin.

  • Cucumber – they’re high in antioxidants, helping to reduce free radicals, and they’re anti-inflammatory as well. Cucumber skin contains silica, a moisturizing benefit that helps with joint tissues and hydrates your skin. They also contain vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese.

  • Blueberries – blueberries improve memory. They also help to regulate blood sugar and are high in a variety of phytonutrients, as well as vitamin D, vitamin K, manganese, and fiber.

Fall Super Foods:

In fall, turn toward the more warming, autumn harvest foods.

 

  • Pumpkin and Autumn squash – high in B vitamins that benefit your heart, pumpkin and its cousins offer bone support from potassium and aids in inhibiting cancer from beta carotene (it’s what makes them yellow or orange inside). Squash is a healthy carbohydrate that is really satisfying.

  • Brussels sprouts – are members of the highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable family. These little vegetables offer two and a half times the daily requirement of vitamin K in just one cup. One serving also offers well over your daily requirement for vitamin C, which helps build your immunity in the fall for the winter cold and flu season. They also contain folate, vitamin B6, and a good dose of fiber.

  • Pomegranate – are a great source of antioxidants such as cancer-fighting polyphenols. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.

  • Cauliflower – is surprisingly high in immune-boosting vitamin C, plus it has plenty of vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6 and fiber to support digestion.

  • Dark leafy greens and kale – one cup of cooked kale offers up 1,200 percent of your daily vitamin K and almost 600 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement. It also contains copper, manganese, calcium, potassium, and magnesium along with all the fiber.

Winter Super Foods:

In winter turn even more exclusively toward warming foods. Remember the principle, foods that take longer to grow are generally more warming than foods that grow quickly. Winter produce is less varied than seasonal produce the rest of the year. This time of year, you need and crave warmth, with nourishment that will sustain you through the cold, dark days.

 

  • Sweet Potato – contains high levels of carotenoids, which your body needs to make vitamin A; one medium sweet potato provides the daily vitamin A requirement for children. Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, copper, and potassium. To get the most out of the carotenoids enjoy them with a small amount of fat (extra-virgin olive oil, walnut oil).  The fat helps you absorb the carotenoids.

  • Cabbage – is high in vitamin C, which is beneficial for immune support, and vitamin K, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, iron, antioxidants such as polyphenols, and plenty of fiber. The nutrients in cabbage are at their highest when you eat it raw or only lightly cooked, but they’re preserved even when cabbage is fermented, or made into old- fashioned sauerkraut the traditional way.

  • Beets – contain potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins A, B and C. They’re also high in beta carotene, beta cyanine, folic acid, and fiber. They’re cleansing to the liver and work to purify the blood.

  • Persimmon – is the official fruit of Japan. They deserve super food status thanks to the high amounts of vitamin C and A, as well as beta carotene and heart-healthy lycopene. They also contain manganese, iron, and calcium.

  • Collards – this super dark leafy green is high in vitamins A, C, and K, plus lots of B vitamins, calcium, manganese, iron and even a nice shot of protein.