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Spring is finally upon us; flowers blooming, birds chirping, and warmer weather. The change of seasons signals a change in our bodies as well. The shift to longer days and more sunlight has powerful effects on the circadian rhythms of our bodies. If our bodies are not in tune with this change of rhythm, it is easy to fall victim to the seasonal cold and flu that often gets the best of us during this transition time. So how can we help our bodies adapt? Eating these locally grown, in-season foods is a great start!
Eating dates provides many health benefits. Full of vitamins and minerals, they are a good source of energy, sugar, and fiber. Dates contain minerals integral to bone health and strength, but more importantly the alleviate symptoms for those suffering from allergies. The body is increasingly susceptible to illness and allergies during the changing of the seasons, and dates contain organic sulfur that directly reduces allergy symptoms. Best of all, in Israel most dates available are grown not far from Jerusalem in the nearby Dead Sea region.
Parsley and chives are cheap and simple herbs that can be added to any dish. Both are a good source of vitamin A and C, boosting immune system functions and reducing inflammation. What does this mean for spring and flu season? When sickness strikes, the body becomes inflamed and ridden with cellular damage, and anti-inflammatory foods like parsley and chives help reduce this inflammation and bolster overall immunity and health.
Although comprised mostly of water (92% to be exact), watermelon is full of beneficial nutrients including vitamins A, B6 and C, lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. It also contains high levels of lycopene, a phytonutrient linked with heart and bone health, cancer prevention, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Oranges are an Israeli staple. Crucial to your overall health, oranges can provide a huge nutrients boost to your diet. Just one orange contains 130 percent of your vitamin C needs, over 170 different phytochemicals, and more than 60 flavanoids. Oranges have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and powerful anti-oxidant effects.
So why bother sourcing these foods locally? Today’s global economy means having any fruit or vegetable readily available all year long regardless of the growing season. This convenience is something past generations didn’t have and comes at a huge cost to our health and the health of our communities.
Out of season fruits and veggies have often traveled over thousands of miles before reaching the local grocer- they often contain wax coatings, chemical ripening agents, and other preservatives used to sustain the long journey. The result is less flavorful, nutrient-depleted foods that are slowly destroying the local economy. It is putting local growers out of business by supporting big corporations whose interests do not lie with the countries and people they are supplying. If that isn’t reason enough, eating local is good for the planet as well as it reduces the carbon footprint left from the transport vessels needed to transport the food across the globe.
So start spring off on the right foot – include foods that are in season and grown locally into your diet and reap the benefits all season long. For a complete list of fruits and vegetables and their global growing seasons click here.