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7 Benefits of Seasonal Eating

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fresh picked strawberries

Have you ever experienced the sweetness of an apple picked right off the tree? Perhaps you’ve enjoyed a garden salad with freshly harvested tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, or cucumbers? If so, you’ve tasted the benefits of seasonal eating. 

While seasonal eating may seem like a trendy fad, it’s actually a tradition as old as human life. Our ancient ancestors ate seasonally out of necessity. Without the modern conveniences of refrigeration, food processing, and grocery stores, our ancestors consumed what they could get their hands on at the moment. 

Today, most of us can choose to eat whatever we want – whenever we want it. Any food we desire, from tropical fruits to root vegetables, is available at our fingertips. But is this healthy? 

Seasonal eating is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Moreover, consuming a local and seasonal diet is good for your wallet, the environment, your community – and beyond. 

What is seasonal eating? 

Before the industrialization of food, which only happened in the last century or so, seasonal eating was the norm. Summer would be the time to enjoy the bounty of fresh food that came with the abundant growing season. From berries to vegetables, food was easily accessible.  

During autumn, energy would be spent gathering the last remnants of the fall harvest. Fall fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries would be collected. This would also be the time for hunting animals. Food would be stored, as best as possible, to last during the long winter months. Spring would then bring about the growing season once again. 

Today, food is easily accessible. So instead of eating more in the summer months and leaning out in the winter, most individuals eat whatever they want throughout the year. 

Seasonal eating aligns us with the way that our ancestors ate. Often referred to as eating “in-season,” a seasonal lifestyle encourages individuals to eat vegetables and fruits recently harvested by farmers in the geographical area where they live. 

Eating seasonally can mean different things for different regions. For example, those living in New England might enjoy apples in the fall, root vegetables in the winter, asparagus in the spring, and tomatoes in the summertime. 

Essentially, seasonal eating is a return to a simpler way of living. Instead of ascribing to a particular diet, seasonal eaters rely on whatever is naturally available from their local farms. 

7 benefits of seasonal eating

The benefits of eating seasonally are significantly undervalued. While there are many benefits to eating locally, here are our top seven reasons for eating close to home. 

Seasonal food tastes better  

If you’ve ever eaten a strawberry off the vine, you know firsthand how delicious fresh food is. Unfortunately, the moment that food is removed from its source, the natural sugars begin to convert to starches, impacting taste. 

Most grocery store produce is grown and harvested with shelf life in mind. As a result, it’s often picked before it can fully ripen. Produce connected to its source as long as possible is unarguably juicier and tastier than produce picked early and forced to ripen through artificial means. 

Moreover, conventional produce must be treated to avoid spoilage during the long trek from the farm to the grocery store. As a result, most growers use unhealthy ripening agents to manipulate the ripening process. Additionally, conventionally grown food is typically coated with wax or sprayed with chemicals to help retain freshness, which further depletes taste.

Seasonal food has a higher nutritional content

Seasonal food is not only tastier than mass-produced food, but it’s also significantly more nutritious. Vitamin and mineral content is at its highest when produce reaches peak ripeness. Unfortunately, by the time food is harvested, processed, and shipped to the grocery store, it has lost significant nutrients. 

As the seasons change, so do the nutritional needs of our bodies. Therefore, eating in season may help supply our bodies with the vitamins and minerals needed for optimal wellness. For example, this study found that broccoli grown in the spring has half the vitamin C content as broccoli grown in the fall. So, could it be that our bodies need additional vitamin C as we head into the cold winter months? 

Eating seasonally means supporting our local farms, which often have more nutrient-rich topsoil than large-scale producers. Studies show that farms following soil-friendly practices, such as regenerative farms, grow healthier foods.

Eating seasonally boosts gut health

Over the last few decades, research has highlighted the importance of a healthy gut microbiome. The microbiome is the community of organisms that live in our intestinal tracts and play a role in digestion, immune function, mental health, and beyond. 

Recent studies suggest that eating a seasonal diet affects our microbiome. Eating seasonally helps to promote and maintain diversity in the gut microbiome, which is a key factor in maintaining health. Moreover, eating in season provides the right foods for the microbes in a seasonal manner.  

Eating seasonally is good for the environment

While enjoying an occasional pineapple or kiwi fruit is not inherently wrong, eating these long-distance foods takes a toll on the environment. 

Food production and transport have a significant impact on our carbon footprint. In fact, a recent study found that transporting food accounts for 20 percent of all carbon emissions in the food system. This release of carbon dioxide contributes to air pollution, acid rain, and global warming. 

Eating seasonally typically means using fewer plastics and less packaging as well.

Eating seasonally is better for your wallet 

When a vegetable or fruit is in season, it’s typically abundant, which drives down costs. For example, purchasing strawberries in the dead of winter is usually much more expensive than buying them during the summer months. 

Seasonal eating supports your local community 

Small, local farms are in crisis right now in America. Thanks to big agricultural companies, many local farmers can’t compete. In fact, 75 percent of all agricultural sales come from five percent of operations. As if farmers weren’t already stretched, they now face growing inflation. 

Eating seasonally usually means supporting your local farms. It also means building community. Knowing where your food comes from is incredibly valuable. 

Seasonal eating is fun

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, making the same meals over and over again. However, variety is the spice of life – and food is no exception. 

Eating with the seasons means using ingredients you might not normally gravitate towards at the grocery store. Foods like celeriac, rutabaga, and chard suddenly make their way into your diet, supporting your microbiome and overall health. 

When we take advantage of each season’s bounty, we connect more organically with food and the planet. It allows us to flow with life as mother nature intended.

Tips for eating seasonally

Figuring out what’s in season can take time and effort at a chain supermarket. Knowing what’s naturally growing in your area at any given time requires a bit of research. Thankfully, many excellent books and online resources can guide you to seasonal food in your local area. 

One of the best ways to eat seasonally is to visit your local farms or farmer’s markets. Small local farms grow with the seasons, allowing you to get the freshest food available. Investing in a CSA (community-sponsored agriculture) share is another excellent way to invest in your local farming community while gaining access to local produce. 

If you don’t live close to a farm, consider shopping at a local food co-op or health food store. Often, these smaller family or member-owned businesses offer local or regional food. 

Next steps

Eating 100 percent seasonally at all times may be challenging, but finding ways to incorporate seasonal and local food into your diet will reap long-term rewards. 

If you are interested in learning more about nutrition, consider enrolling in our Foundational Nutrition Program. This self-paced four-week course starts at the very foundational level of health and builds from there. This course is filled with practical tips, recipes, and bonus videos. Understanding nutrition has never been so easy. Before you know it, you, too, will be cooking with the seasons.

Eat well, Think well, Live well

Medical Review: Dr. Lauren Lattanza 2022

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

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We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.