Eating Seasonally for Your Immune System

With spring finally bursting forth after a long, hard New England winter, it’s unlikely that many of us are thinking much about the autumn and winter to come. We’re reveling in the bounty that is beginning to show up from farmers’ greenhouse crops and looking forward to the start of farmers’ markets in the coming weeks. Yet even as we anticipate warmer weather, our bodies are already preparing themselves for seasons ahead. As I spoke about in my last article, at this time of year we are provided with foods, which support our bodies’ natural inclination to detox during spring and early summer. Bright, spicy, bitter flavors found in dark leafy greens, radishes, and spring onions help us to decongest our bodies after the cold seasons of accumulation.

Yet the benefits of eating seasonally extend far beyond just feeling better now. Through eating a seasonal diet now, we work to correct any physical and mental imbalances present and to scrub our digestive systems of accumulated congestion, leaving us cleaner and lighter and increasing our immunity when cold and flue season rolls around again. Since it has been shown that 80 percent of our immunity lies within our digestive system, keeping the gut clean and healthy is imperative for good health. And one of the best ways to do so is, of course, to eat in accordance with the seasons!

Spring is a wonderful time to experience the immediate benefits of eating local, in-season produce as well as to prepare our bodies for the challenges of colder weather. It’s also a great opportunity to give your digestive system a rest in order to insure a strong immune system come winter. As such, try loading up on fresh vegetables, especially those with predominantly bitter or slightly spicy flavors (think kale, arugula, radish, onion, sprouts). Reduce your consumption of heavier foods, which are harder to digest, such as dairy, wheat, animal products, and nuts. Lighter grains and seeds—quinoa, millet, sesame and sunflower seeds—are wonderful choices this time of year. If reducing dairy or wheat seems difficult, just remember that everything has a season, and come fall and winter you’ll be able to enjoy the nourishing qualities of those foods in a way which will serve your body’s health.

The more you can focus on eating seasonally, the more you will build your body’s health, both long-term and immediate. If you’re uncertain about what produce is in season, check out what’s available at your local farmers’ market. You can also always check out our meal kits, since we source fresh, ethically-produced veggies from a network of local farmers. The veggies that are ready for harvest in a particular week are the veggies we put in our kits! Eating seasonally is one of the best (and tastiest!) ways of supporting your own health and the health of the earth, two of the things about which we are most passionate.

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