Proponents say eating foods that are in season provides nutrients to match the conditions of a particular time of year.
When the mercury starts climbing and you find yourself itching for a juicy slice of tomato, that may be more than your taste buds talking.
It might be your body’s way of telling you the nutrients it needs.
That’s according to Susan Rappaport, nutrition counselor and founder of NuYu Revolution, an exercise studio in New York City.
Rappaport is describing a theory known as seasonal eating.
The idea goes beyond eating simply the fruits and vegetables that are in season because they are less expensive or taste better.
Indeed, Rappaport says we should eat what’s in season because it’s designed to supply our bodies with exactly what we need when we need it most.
“We get certain vitamins and warmth from the sun, so when there is less daylight, it is important for us to eat foods that supplement this deficiency, as well as those that keep us warm,” she told Healthline.
“And equally, when there is an abundance of sunlight, it is important that we supplement our bodies with foods that protect us from the sun as well as keep us cool.”Rappaport says during warm months we spend a great deal more time outdoors.
We’re more active and we have more daylight hours. We also sweat more.
In turn, nature gives us some of the most hydrating foods of the year —watermelon, berries, cucumbers, among them.
It also gives us foods with rich sources of carbohydrates, such as peaches, melon, and corn.
In the fall and winter, when things begin to cool off and days become shorter, we crave fewer juicy melons and crisp salads.
Instead, our bodies gravitate toward warming foods such as vegetable soup, stews, grains, nuts, and avocado.
Fall also brings us the biggest harvest of apples, a fruit that’s filled with fiber and pectin to help us digest those bulkier foods we’re eating for warmth.
There’s also the citrus crop of winter that brings with it large doses of vitamin C, one of nature’s best protectors against the many bacteria and viruses that lurk in the coldest months.
Rappaport says when we eat seasonally, consuming fruits and vegetables at the time nature gives them to us, our bodies benefit by becoming stronger, healthier, and happier.
All of these factors can improve balance and possibly lead to weight loss.
“[Seasonal eating] gives us a daily dose of vitamins in its most pure form,” Rappaport says.
“It makes us more aware of our body’s needs, and it brings our physical and nutritional well-being front and center.
When we get what we need, we feel better and more energized.”