Greetings, Wellness Warriors! Last week we discussed creating a nutritional recipe for success and how crucial it is to us living, 30 Summers More. Today, I want to go more in-depth on this topic and explore some of the benefits of eating locally grown produce.
I want to bring awareness to our lifestyle choices' impact on our health, society, and the environment. Grocery stores have created efficient and well-established supply chains, buying produce worldwide and transporting it to local stores. Having a convenient variety of foods close by year-round at affordable prices is great, but it doesn't come without significant pitfalls. I want to offer you several reasons why local produce is the better choice for your health, community, and the planet.
Nutrient density matters—At a farmer's market, most local produce has been picked within the last 24 hours, ensuring it is ripe and at its peak nutrient-density. In contrast, most of the fresh foods you find in the grocery store were picked days or weeks before ever reaching the grocery store shelf. Variables like air, artificial lights, and temperature changes during transport can decrease food's nutritional value. As soon as a food is harvested, its nutrient content begins to deteriorate, specifically vitamins C, E, A and some B. The fresher the fruit or vegetable, the more nutrient-dense it will be, and the more your body will benefit. The produce and foods you find at your local farmers market are transported short distances and aren't exposed to chemicals, gasses or waxes, which are typically used to preserve food for long-distance transport.
Eat with the seasons—When you eat locally, you eat with the seasons, and the cycle of seasonal produce is perfectly designed to support your health. Eating seasonally is the most natural way to eat. It is incredibly beneficial to our bodies and results in the most delicious and nutrient-dense produce. For example, in the warmer summer months, our bodies crave cooling foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and berries. In colder seasons like the winter, we need rich and high-fat foods, root vegetables, and fermented foods. Eating seasonally means avoiding artificial ripening with gases or eating a bland version of a fruit or vegetable that's been shipped thousands of miles.
Variety is the spice of life— Growers at the Farmers markets often offer heirloom produce (grown from seeds that haven't been cross-pollinated with other plants) and different varieties that you may not be able to find in the grocery store. Eating a wider variety of colorful fruits and vegetables gives you a broader range of antioxidants and phytonutrients (substances in plants that help fight disease). It may even encourage you to expand your families' food horizons! Ask your local grower if they can provide you with a new recipe or two.
Reduced carbon footprint—Because buying local shortens the distribution chain, less waste is produced in the process. Not only does buying local mean less packaging, transportation, and shipping, but it also means less environmental waste from pollution and less food waste in the process. Buying from a local farm or shopping at the weekly farmer's market means next to no food packaging at all, ensures food was moved directly from a local farm to you, and minimizes emissions and food waste in the process.
Support your local economy—When you buy food in the grocery store, most of the cost you incur goes to transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration, marketing, and not necessarily to the farmers themselves. Purchasing locally builds your local economy instead of handing over the earnings to a corporation in another city, state, or country. Also, since the food itself moves through fewer hands, more of the money you spend will end up in the pockets of those raising and growing those foods.
It’s important to take care of yourself, so you can live a happier and healthier life. Grab a copy of my latest bestseller, 30 Summers More, and get on the right track to a long, healthy, and fulfilling life!
Food is More Than Just Eating—It's an Experience
Taking a trip to the farmers market can be a fun family adventure. I encourage you to get out and enjoy the fresh air, notice the rich and brightly colored foods, engage with others in the community; you may even pick up a few arts and crafts along the way. All of this can be a stress-relieving and joyous experience. With a quick internet search, you can easily find your nearest farmers market with locations, dates, and times available.
The Bottom Line
I hope that this shows you that the benefits of eating local foods are notable. One of the most significant benefits is recognizing the connection to your food and the local community. The more you eat locally, the more you can reconnect and realize the importance of real food and how it impacts your body.
Until next time, Wellness Warriors, Live Well, Live Long!