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The Health Benefits of Eating Seasonally for Diet & Nutrition

We all know that fad diets aren’t the best way to deliver real results, or nutrition. It’s important to eat a balanced diet made of whole foods, but there’s one other aspect of a healthy diet: the season. 

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That’s right, which season we are in should influence what we eat. In the modern world of rapid transformation and worldwide trade, we often forget that foods are not in season all year round. We can eat the foods and vegetables we want any time of year, but should we? 

In the past, people knew which foods were in season, but we’ve lost touch with that basic idea with ease of availability. But eating with the season is still important and has several nutritional and health benefits. It is common for those who practice holistic nutrition to eat foods during the seasons they are produced. Read on to find out what exactly seasonal eating is, the foods that are local to New York and the reasons we should be eating seasonally. 

What is Seasonal Eating/ Nutritious Diet Consist of?

The idea of seasonal eating is to eat certain foods during certain months for optimal health, nutrition and disease prevention. Seasonal foods not only offer more health benefits, but they are also tastier. Foods grown and produced in season are better for the environment and often are less expensive. Part of eating seasonally involves eating locally-sourced foods. Where to find seasonal ingredients varies, but usually small grocers, farm stands or farmers markets have more local options to choose from. 

Nutrition Benefits of Eating Seasonally 

When foods are grown and eaten during their appropriate seasons, they are more nutritionally dense. For example, broccoli produced during fall, its peak season, has a higher vitamin C content than broccoli grown during other seasons. Northeast produce differs from the west coast, so be sure to consider that each area has its own seasonal produce. If you plan to shop local, check for specific fruits and vegetables that are in season for your state or location. 

Consuming foods in their unnatural season are not as nutritious or flavorful as seasonal produce. The cost of seasonal fruits and vegetables is usually less too, since you’re not paying extra for transport or shipping. 

What Foods are in Season?

The foods that are in season will depend on where you live. Each climate produces different foods in different seasons and some produce can be available in multiple seasons, or all year round. The USDA has a comprehensive list of the most nutritious foods by season, some of the most notable in the New York or Northeast area include:

 

Spring

  • Apricot – May through July
  • Arugula – May through Sept.
  • Asparagus – May & June
  • Beet greens – May through Sept.
  • Chard – May through Nov.
  • Fava beans – May & June
  • Grapes – Aug. Sept. & Oct
  • Green onions/Scallions – May through Sept.
  • Lettuce – May through Oct.
  • Mesclun – April through Nov.
  • Morels – March through May
  • Mushrooms – March through November
  • Mint – May through Aug.
  • Nettles – March through Jun.
  • Parsnips – April & May
  • Parsley – May through Nov.
  • Potatoes – June through Oct.
  • Radishes – May through Sept.
  • Rhubarb – May through July
  • Shallots – June & July
  • Spinach – May through Sept.
  • Sweet Potatoes – 
  • Thyme – May through Sept.
  • Turnip greens – May through Aug.

Fall

  • Brussel sprouts – Sept. through Nov.
  • Cardoons – – Oct. through Dec.
  • Chestnuts – October
  • Cranberries – Oct. through Dec.
  • Fennel – Oct. & Nov.
  • Figs – October
  • Horseradish – Oct. through March
  • Kale – Sept. through Nov.
  • Lima beans – Sept & Oct.
  • Parsnips – Oct. through Dec.
  • Pumpkin – Sept & Oct.
  • Radicchio – Sept & Oct.
  • Raspberries – July, Sept & Oct.
  • Raspberries – Sept. & Oct.
  • Shell Beans – Sept. through Dec.
  • Watermelon – Sept. & Oct.

Winter

  • Shallots – Dec. & Jan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Summer

  • Apples – July through Nov.
  • Basil – July through Aug.
  • Beets – June through Nov.
  • Bell peppers – July through Oct.
  • Black-eyed peas – June & July
  • Blackberries – Aug. & Sept.
  • Blueberries – July through Sept.
  • Broccoli – June through Nov.
  • Cabbage – June – through Dec.
  • Cantaloupe – Aug. & Sept.
  • Carrots – July through Nov.
  • Cauliflower – Aug. through Nov.
  • Celery – Aug. through Nov.
  • Cilantro – July through Oct.
  • Cherries – June & July
  • Chili peppers – June through Sept.
  • Collard greens – June through Dec.
  • Corn – Aug. through Nov.
  • Cucumbers – Aug. through Nov.
  • Currants – June through Aug.
  • Eggplant – Aug. through Nov.
  • Garlic – June & July
  • Grapes – Aug. through Oct.
  • Green beans – June through Oct.
  • Lavender – June through Oct.
  • Leeks – Aug through Oct.
  • Melons/Honeydew – June through Oct.
  • Mint – July through Oct.
  • Mustard greens – June through Nov.
  • Nectarines – July through Sept.
  • Okra – July through Oct.
  • Onions – July through Nov.
  • Peaches – Jun through Sept.
  • Pears – Aug. through Oct.
  • Peas – June & July 
  • Potatoes – June through Oct.
  • Plums – June through Sept.
  • Raspberries – July, Sept. & Oct.
  • Rutabaga – August through Nov.
  • Shallots – June & July
  • Snap peas/Snow peas – Jun through Oct. 
  • Strawberries – June & July
  • Squash – Aug. through Nov.
  • Summer squash – June through Oct.
  • Sweet Potatoes – Aug. & Sept. 
  • Tomatoes/Tomatillos – June through Oct.
  • Turnips – Aug. through Nov.
  • Zucchini – June through Oct. 

All Year Round/ Non-Local Produce

  • Artichokes – (Not locally grown: Feb. through June & Sept. through Dec.)
  • Avocado – (Not locally grown – available all year)
  • Banana – (Not locally grown – available all year)
  • Citrus/Lemons/Limes/Grapefruit/Oranges  (Not locally grown – available all year)
  • Sprouts/Bean sprouts/Alfalfa sprouts – (Local to Northeast – available all year)
  • Mangos – (Not locally grown) – June through Aug.
  • Kiwi –  (Not locally grown – Sept. through May)
  • Ginger – (Not locally grown – Aug. through Nov.)
 

Seasonal Diet, Nutrition and Acupuncture

When combined with acupuncture, a seasonal diet is one of the best ways to ensure good health, especially for the gut. Acupuncture helps to restore the balance of energy in your body and includes many incredible benefits like better sleep, pain relief, healing, and more. Acupuncture from Integrative Family Acupuncture & Massage Therapy in Smithtown and a balanced, seasonal diet will have you feeling your best all year round. Schedule your Suffolk County acupuncture appointment today by contacting IFW in Long Island HERE

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