Seasonal Food: Perfect your seasonal diet
Author: ANCP Date Posted:26 May 2016
What you eat and how you cook your food each season could be affecting your health. In this blog we will take a look at some seasonal food and how best to prepare it to support your health and wellbeing.
Autumn starts off warm and gradually becomes cooler and drier as the season progresses. You may notice colds coming on or your skin becomes a little drier. This is a good time to use small amounts of pungent foods in your diet, including onions, garlic, chillies, bay leaves, dill, cinnamon, chives, fennel, leek, oregano, nutmeg, rosemary, turmeric, thyme, ginger, cabbage and turnip.
Start eating light soups, broths and less salads. Try steam and slow cook food rather than stir-fry when possible and add small amounts of salt to your cooking. Other foods to eat in autumn include pork, plums, apples, pears, navy beans, dark green and orange vegetables, figs, adzuki beans, cheese, olives, sourdough bread, millet, rice and carrots.
Try to avoid consuming a lot of cold food and drinks as this weakens digestion and makes us feel colder. As the season heads towards winter, try using cooked root vegetables as an addition to soups.
Winter is perfect for warming meals such as soups and stews; cook in a slow-cooker for an easy-to-digest meal. Cook up a warming winter feast and invite over your favourite friends or family to enjoy a nourishing meal together. It’s even an appropriate time for a nip of spirits to warm you on a cold day.
If you suffer from poor circulation in winter include warming herbs such as ginger, cloves, fennel, rosemary and anise in your cooking. Eat hearty animal products such as oysters, sardines, eggs, pork, duck, chicken and lamb. Root vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots plus kidney beans are ideal additions for soups and stews. For breakfast cook up a hearty slow-cooked porridge of oats or rice, top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and stewed apple.
Winter can be a time of overeating and sitting around, so grab your winter woollies and go for a stroll in the fresh air to aid digestion and your waistline.
Spring is time to start eating lighter foods and increase our activity levels. Most people are aware that spring is the season to support the health of your liver, and the work done now will benefit you immediately and for the seasons to come. Eat small amounts of sour foods such as lemon, lime, pickles and vinegar. If you feel tired and sluggish add watercress, oregano, dill, cardamom and rosemary to your diet.
Avoid overeating, which makes it difficult for our digestive system to absorb the nutrients. Say no to rich fatty food as it’s hard for the liver to digest. If you’re struggling to lose excess weight, add turnips, mung beans, rye, oats and basmati rice to your diet.
Foods to eat in early spring include cabbage, sweet potato, beetroot, carrot, fennel, spring onions, legumes and seeds, then as the weather warms drink peppermint tea, eat peas, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, shiitake mushrooms and cherries.
In summer time it can be hard to escape the heat; it’s everywhere even inside our bodies. That’s why at this time of the year we generally crave cold food and drinks. Summer is the best time for eating cooling foods such as banana, pineapple, strawberry, melons, crab, millet, tofu, tomato, watercress, and to drink peppermint tea. Eat lots of leafy green salads with a mix of rocket, endives, cucumber, sprouts, lettuce, avocado and asparagus.
Summer heat makes it harder to digest food, so include light and easy-to-digest foods, such as fruit, vegetables and grains. Salads and raw foods take more energy to digest so chew well and serve at room temperature. If are quite active and sweat a lot add some salty foods on occasion or add a pinch of Celtic sea salt to your cooking. You may be surprised to learn that this is a good time to include spices in your meals because this will encourage sweating which cools the body.
During summer use lighter cooking methods such as steaming or stir-frying and avoid deep frying. If you love to barbeque, try marinated fish or chicken, rather than red meat. Try eating for the seasons to boost your energy and overall wellbeing.