What’s good Autumn? Seasonal eating.

Why do we choose local/seasonal food?

With the recent popularity of nutrition going back to our roots, it has become increasingly trendy to source locally grown produce (viva farmers’ markets). A lot of this has been driven by the perceived environmental effects of our current global agricultural system i.e. the ‘carbon footprint’ (I mean, should a tomato really need planes, trains and automobiles to make it to dinner?) - not to mention what this does to the cost of food. However we should also take time to address the moderate but very real nutritional benefits of eating local (and thus seasonal) food.
The Oranjezicht City Farm Market
The Oranjezicht City Farmer's Market
  • Ripeness:
When fruit & veg are ripe, they are at their nutritional peak - picked too early (like when you have to transport across great distance) and they have fewer antioxidants (and some vitamins). Example: when picked ripe vs unripe, cherry tomatoes have higher levels of carotenoids (a key antioxidant). Modern preservation techniques (e.g. ethylene gas) offset some of the effects of early picking, but choosing stuff grown nearby usually means things will be picked at the right time i.e. healthier (and tastier).
  • Freshness:
After picking, nutrients degrade quite quickly - this means you should eat them as soon as you can. Example: 2 days after picking, spinach has up to 80% less vitamin C (leafy vegetables lose nutrients faster than more solid veg e.g. green beans). So, again - modern refrigeration/etc keep things as fresh as they can, but produce is still usually fresher i.e. healthier when it doesn’t have far to travel. [Sidenote: frozen vegetables are often superior to foods that have far to travel - the freezing usually keeps the nutrients stable.]
  • Variety:
When selecting seasonal foods, I find that local growers tend to be less ‘Big Agra pushing a few select products’, more about variety and trying new things. Our ancestors ate more than 100 different foods - many people in today’s world eat fewer than 12. This can cause ‘gaps’ in our nutrition (missing certain nutrients). It may also play a role in food allergies - eating the same thing can be like overplaying a pop song: eventually your immune system gets irritated. So a trip to the farmers’ market means hearing first-hand what’s good at the moment, but also means getting to try something new.
Now, there are a number of other reasons we could explore about why smaller, local farms yield superior produce - less intensive fertilizer, less mechanized handling (resulting in less ‘bruising’), less use of radiation… But at this point it really just remains for you to decide: are you ready to take a trip to the farmer’s market?
As we get into the autumn season and things start cooling down, a whole host of new, fresh produce becomes available to us! And as previously discussed, you definitely want local and seasonal where possible.
So without further ado, get stuck into these:
Stone fruits - mangoes, peaches, plums
Melons - pawpaws, spanspek, winter melons
Other deciduous - apples & pears, figs, grapes
Berries - gooseberries
Fruit that look like weapons - pineapples
Other weirdos - guava, avocados, tomatoes
Yellows? - bananas, lemons.
Me in the produce aisle.
Me in the produce aisle.
Leafy greens - cabbage, lettuceses, spinach, kale, leeks
Other greens - celery, cucumber, green beans, artichokes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower (sort of), courgettes, peas
Roots - turnips, carrots, onions, potatoes, radishes, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips
Sunrise colours - bell peppers, corn
Herbs & fun guys - basil, bay, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, oreganum, rosemary, thyme, sage, chives, endives, mushrooms
Make your pee weird - beetroot
Useful in a fight - pumpkin, squash
There you have it - throw a couple of these in your basket next time you’re at the grocery store or better yet, the farmers market. And stay tuned for future posts: we’ll give you some useful tips on how to make these seasonal gems taste phenomenal.
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Follow the link to check out South Africa's seasonal foods list here for winter, spring and summer 🙂
If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to consult your chiropractor.




Thank you for reading. For more lifestyle advice on how to achieve optimal health, visit The Chiropractic Health Centre for a check up. Chat to one of our friendly receptionists to make a booking or follow the link to learn more about our services:

Phone: 021 683 2996 (Claremont) or 021 439 8898 (Sea Point)

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