01 Jan The Health Benefits of “Eating Local”
In the health food business, we are always encouraged to see more and more people curious about improving their health through diet and lifestyle changes. There are many dietary theories out there but one thing that most of the good ones have in common is the belief that eating more (aka mostly) fruits and vegetables is a sure way to improve our health. We believe this whole heartedly and take it a step further to ensure that our food is 99% organic and 100% gmo free. We also believe deeply in the benefits of locally grown food and have partnered with Back 40 Farm which grows local organic produce for us all summer long. That local produce ends up in our salads, smoothies and juices giving them even more action packed nutrient goodness.
The local food movement has gained major traction with the advent of farmer’s markets in towns and cities around the country. But aside from being a fun weekend activity, the growth of local foods is a huge plus for human health and global sustainability.
SOME OF THE MAJOR BENEFITS OF ‘EATING LOCAL’:
✔ The most compelling reason to buy local has to do with vitamins, minerals and something called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients (like lycopene, beta-carotene and resveratrol) are the natural chemicals found in plants that keep our bodies working properly and help prevent serious diseases. Over centuries of modern agriculture we have unwittingly bred the majority of phytonutrients and antioxidants out of our food. On top of this, the food on our grocer’s shelves has often traveled many days and many miles to reach us. The most nutritious plants like asparagus, broccoli, kale and lettuce lose their nutrients rapidly in the days after they are harvested. By the time our produce makes its way to our mouths, much of the nutrient value is lost. Studies have shown that that phytonutrient rich food can make a significant difference in our health and ability to protect against disease so buying local is a huge nutrient bang for your buck.
✔ When you eat local, you’re automatically eating with the seasons. Nature, in its awe-inspiring intelligence has designed our food to have a symbiotic relationship with our bodies. As we adapt to the seasons, we are supported by the fruits and vegetables that help our bodies function in specific ways. In spring we have liver detoxing foods like artichokes, dandelion greens and asparagus, in the summer we have light cooling foods like watermelon and peppers and in the fall and winter we see heavier, more warming foods like sweet potato, squashes, and ginger.
✔ Buying local supports the economy and improves quality of life for hard working farmers. Famers who sell directly to local customers earn the full retail value of their produce as opposed to the average 20 cents on the dollar that most commercial farmers receive.
✔ Small local farmers tend to grow a wider variety of plants, protecting biodiversity and preventing our food supply from becoming completely hybridized and compromised by large agribusiness.
✔ As the effects of environmental damage become more concerning, we need to examine the sustainability of the way we currently eat. Shipping food across the world is a huge, unnecessary strain on the environment when we can largely survive on what is grown locally.
*STAY REALISTIC: Most of us will not be able to even come close to making 100% of our diets local. But it’s about progress not perfection! Start by searching for nearby farmer’s markets, purchase local foods whenever possible and slowly make a huge difference!