The seasonal foods that the body asks us for in winter
Each season gives us the seasonal foods we need most. As if nature thought about our health more than ourselves, in summer, when the heat is on, it offers us fruits rich in water, suitable for hydrating us. And when winter arrives, soft, tasty vegetables and legumes with a warm texture to warm our body.
In summer, tomatoes; in winter, oranges.
Our grandparents would never have thought of preparing a tomato salad in winter or making orange juice in summer. They fought the cold with tasty and nutritious dishes based on vegetables and legumes in winter. They strengthened their defenses with fruits rich in vitamin C. They are hydrated with warm broths and soups or warmer salads than summer. Or they made sweet apple or quince compotes.
Seasonal foods were the absolute protagonists of the diet before the arrival of supermarkets. However, it is common to find any product in any season on supermarket shelves.
But let’s stop for a moment and let our bodies make the shopping list. What do we want now that the cold is coming, that the heating dries the air in the house, that viruses and bacteria swarm everywhere, and the threat of a cold is constant? Perhaps seasonal foods
3 Advantages of seasonal foods
Science also gives us good reasons to prefer them. Consuming seasonal foods, that is, those that are grown and harvested in their natural season has proven advantages:
. They are more nutritious: The concentration of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is higher in fruits and vegetables are grown in season. The soil is less impoverished than that of extensive crops, which hardly rest. And the plants grow in the heat and light of the sun, which also improves the quality of the final product.
In addition, once separated from the plant, the fruit must be kept and stored, and during this time, it loses much of the vitamin C it contains.
. The fruits are more prosperous and more flavorful: As they mature on the tree, their carbohydrate content increases, and their acid content decreases. An orange picked at the optimum moment of ripeness tastes sweeter, smoother. It is less harsh and astringent.
. These are more ecological: When grown in the right season, plants get sick less and need fewer cures and pesticide treatments than if they were “forced” to grow in a time and climate that is not theirs. They also grow better and don’t require as much fertilizer.
Remember that in winter, they are in season: tangerines, oranges, grapefruit, apples, quinces, pears, bananas, persimmons, custard apples, mangoes, and papayas.
Seasonal foods to combat the cold
Carrots, leeks, onions, lettuce, escarole, and all kinds of cabbage are in season in the cold months. And it’s lucky: all of them have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances that will help us deal with common colds and infections at this time of year.
Boiled, forming part of soups purees and stews, and even in warm salads, they should not be missing from main meals. Legumes are other great protagonists of winter. They have just been picked and are still tender. They are rich in carbohydrates, digested slowly, and provide heat and energy for longer.
Grandma’s traditional stew is, without a doubt, a wise option to keep your 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.
The seasonal fish
Like fruits and vegetables, fish also have their life cycle, and some species are more abundant and tastier in some seasons than others. Furthermore, considering the current state of the fishing grounds, it is more important than ever to respect this cycle and consume seasonal fish.
According to the environmental organization Greenpeace, 48% of the fish stocks in American waters of the Atlantic and more than 90% in the Mediterranean are overexploited. If you want fish consumption at home to be more sustainable, consult its species guide for each season.
Teaching sustainable consumption to children
One of the Sustainable Development Goals that the UN includes in the 2030 Agenda promotes short marketing circuits and local food consumption. The organization explains that local foods effectively fight hunger and food waste and improve the nutrition of the population. Consuming, as we always did, seasonal foods:
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 us teach our children from an early age to recognize and value the quality of the food they consume and the effort involved in growing it. And to listen to your body’s advice when choosing them.