Tag Archives: vegan

Seasonal Eating : What fruits, vegetables and herbs to enjoy this spring.

Any healthy lifestyle  will/should advocate that you incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. Eating foods when nature produces them is what people the world over have done naturally through most of history, before mega-supermarkets dotted the landscape and processed foods became ubiquitous. Seasonal eating is also a cornerstone of several ancient and holistic medical traditions, which view it as integral to good health and emotional balance.

Ayurveda teaches us to differentiate between foods that are suitable for different climates and seasons. Each geographical area has its unique temperature, humidity and of course, the environmental conditions. Foods have to be classified likewise. Local and seasonal produce have robust flavors that are not lost unlike vegetables and fruits that are transported from across the globe.

During spring no need  to turn to  pills to fight the watery eyes and sniffles of a seasonal allergy? Food may do the trick.  Researchers have found that children who ate a Mediterranean diet — centered on produce, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts — were significantly less likely to have nasal allergies than kids who ate a standard American diet. The reason: The Mediterranean eating style cuts down on inflammation in the body, a main player in allergy symptoms.

Remember, spring begins in late March and runs until mid-June so if you can’t find a fruit or vegetable, ask your grocer when it will be in stock.  Availability will vary from region to region. To find a farmer’s market near you, visit www.localharvest.org, and enjoy the bounty of spring!

Vegetables

Fruits

  • Apple
  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Casaba Melon
  • Cherries
  • Currants
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Guavas
  • Jackfruit
  • Kumquat
  • Mango
  • Mandarins
  • Melon
  • Nectarines
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon

Spring  Herbs (Seasonings)

  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Scallions
  • Rosemary
  • Watercress
Our mother nature can take care of us more than any machine or technology invented in this world. More you switch to the fruits and vegetables in season, more healthier you will become. So, just concentrate on the seasonal foods and have a healthy life.

Vitamin B-15 (Pangamic Acid): The vitamin that helps in the formation of amino acids in our bodies and may assist in the oxidation of glucose and cell reproduction.

Apricot Kernels

Vitamin B15 (Pangamic acid) is water-soluble but its essential requirement in the diet has not yet been proven.  Studies have shown that it does increase oxygen to the muscles and organs and may assist in lowering cholesterol. Vitamin B15 helps in the formation of amino acids in our bodies and may assist in the oxidation of glucose and cell reproduction .In addition, it can also act as a stimulant to the endocrine system which ultimately encourages liver function to help with body detoxification. There is also evidence that it is essential to the formation of some hormones as well as keeping the adrenal gland healthy and functioning properly.

English: Pepitas - roasted and salted
Image via Wikipedia

In the United States, the FDA has not approved use of the vitamin and in fact, it has been banned for nearly two decades.  While some countries outside the United States have conducted studies and determined that vitamin B15 may have some health advantages, no such studies have been done in the United States, and there is no available vitamin B15 supplement at this time. However, in the U.S., Dimethyl glycine (DMG) is used as a substitute for B15. Doctors prescribe DMG with vitamin E and A as way to improve energy levels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Russia, for example, scientists have shown that vitamin B15 can reduce the buildup of lactic acid in athletes which reduces muscle fatigue and even increases endurance. Russia has also used vitamin B15 to treat alcohol related problems. It is also used in Russia as a supplement to treat fatigue, asthma and allergies.

In Europe, vitamin B15 has been used to treat premature aging because of both its circulatory stimulus and its antioxidant effects. It helps protect the body from pollutants, especially carbon monoxide.

Sunflower seeds
Image via Wikipedia

Benefits of vitamin B15

  • Increases tolerance to hypoxia (insufficient oxygen to tissues and cells).
  • Vitamin B15 has been used to treat cancer, schizophrenia and heart disease.
  • Vitamin B15 has been found helpful in the treatment of number of diseases such as hypertension, rheumatic arthritis, asthma, heart disease such as angina. Emphysema arteriosclerosis, liver cirrhosis, hepatitis can also be get benefited by this vitamin 15
  • It decreases the severity of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis such as pain and morning stiffness in the patients of this disease.
  • It causes relieve of discomfort and pain in patients of osteoarthritis as well.
  • It causes Improvement in the capacity of the body to use energy from food and therefore provides extra energy for physical as well as mental works and for self healing and repair.
  • It is found to be beneficial in premature aging prevention.
  • Stimulates the carriage of oxygen to the blood from the lungs, and from the blood to the muscles and vital organs of the body
  • Lowers cholesterol levels

Deficiency of Vitamin B15 Pangamic acid

Deficiency of this vitamin can impair its important function of formation of amino acids and antioxidants effects. Level of cholesterol may become high. Cancer causing substances may also increase in the body. Impairment occurs in the oxidation of glucose and in the cellular respiration.


Food Sources of Vitamin B15 (Pangamic Acid)


100% Raw Food Diets May Not Be The Best For You.

A picture taken, of A Green Salad.

 

 

 

Raw Food Diets – The Ayurvedic Perspective

by Claudia Ward, L.Ac

There is much confusion as to what is the healthiest diet for us to consume–a predominantly raw food diet or a cooked-food diet? On the one hand we have raw food enthusiasts recommending a natural diet of 100% raw food. This is based on the fact that raw food is high in nutrients, enzymes, and prana (life energy). Some raw foodists can get quite fanatical about their philosophy that cooked food equals “dead food” which has lost most of its nutrients. Others have their Chinese or Ayurvedic doctor recommend mostly cooked foods and see a lot of their health issues disappear on such a diet. Now who is right and who is wrong? I myself have experienced the benefits of raw foods and especially juicing, which manifest in increased energy, clarity of mind, radiant complexion, and weight loss, just to mention a few. There are certainly many documented cases of individuals overcoming serious health issues, some life threatening, through adherence to a raw food regime. And of course I have to agree, that some types of cooked food are not very good for you when consumed over a long period of time – fried foods, heavily salted food, over-cooked vegetables, microwaved food, etc.

However, everyone is different, and diet must be individualized. There is no one single diet that is “best” for everyone. Some people will do best on raw, others on macrobiotic diets. Also, a 100% raw food diet can be problematic – even though a good healing diet, it can create problems in the long run.

Orange, pear, apple
Orange, pear, apple (Photo credit: Joe Lencioni)

Below are the symptoms and problems associated with a long-term strict raw food or vegan diet:

* a general lack of vitality

* low body temperature (always cold)

* a weak digestive system with a loss of digestive strength

* food cravings

* rapid growth of grey hair

* stalled weight loss due to low metabolism

* emaciation

* amenorrhea (menstrual cycles cease), even in young women

* loss of libido

* hair loss and nail problems

* dental erosion

* insomnia and neurological problems

* constipation

* diarrhea

* infertility

Obviously, the modern Western diet sickens us with its overload of meat, salt, bad fats, white sugar, white flour, and its deficiency of living foods.

There is no question that cooking deactivates some vital nutrients, including enzymes, but cooking also makes digestion less stressful. Many people with poor digestion don’t handle raw foods or beans very well, which is in part why macrobiotic diets may have worked for some people recovering from various maladies. The higher proportion of nutrients in raw food is useless if the food can’t be digested, absorbed and assimilated. Cooking contracts vegetable foods, concentrating more nutrients with less bulk. Bitter greens like spinach and kale are generally more edible when cooked, because cooking also eliminates the oxalic acid, which interferes with calcium absorption.

Cooking significantly improves the digestibility/bioavailability of starchy foods such as potatoes and yams, squashes, grains, and legumes. Legumes need to be soaked and cooked thoroughly, otherwise they contain enzyme blockers, that inhibit protein and carbohydrate metabolism. They also contain lectins, phytic acid and saponins that are deactivated by cooking. Lectins play a role in certain auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory diseases. Green beans always need to be cooked until soft otherwise they are toxic! Raw beans are poisonous because they contain prussic acid, which is de-activated only by cooking. Beta-carotene absorption can be as low as 1-2% from raw vegetables such as carrots. Mild heating, such as steaming, appears to improve the extractability of beta-carotene from vegetables, and also its bioavailability. Mineral losses from cooking are insignificant.

 

diagram of a human digestive system

 

Lycopene in tomatoes has been hypothesized to be responsible for reducing the risk of some cancers and heart disease. The cooking of tomatoes with olive oil is a characteristic combination in the Mediterranean diet. Previous studies have shown that the absorption of lycopene is greater from cooked tomatoes.

The Ayurvedic Perspective:

There is not just one dietary approach that would be ideal for everyone. In order to correctly determine our optimal requirements we need to examine many factors. We have to take into account the individuals constitution (prakruti), the nature of their imbalance and symptoms (vikruti), the seasonal and climatic influences, stage of life, occupation, etc.

In general, those of a pitta, or pitta/kapha constitution, can do very well on some raw food in their diet, especially in the late spring and summer. But if someone has a severe vata imbalance, characterized by insomnia, excessive worry and anxiety, sense of being overwhelmed, spaceyness, dryness, gas, bloating, constipation, or amenorrhea, they may need nourishing, warm, moist, easily digestible cooked food as part of their healing journey.

Someone with a kapha imbalance can easily develop sinus problems, asthma, or allergies on a raw food diet.

My recommendation for those who chose to follow a raw food diet is to apply some of the ancient Ayurvedic wisdom to help avoid potential problems and help you stay well. Ayurveda recognizes our unique individual differences.

Balancing a Raw Food Diet With Ayurveda:

By using these simple Ayurvedic principles, any diet can be made more balancing:

* Daily warm oil massage (using unrefined, organic sesame oil), Ayurvedic-style, can be very helpful.

* Herbs with a calming action, including the commonly available chamomile tea. (Many other herbs are available, see an Ayurvedic health practitioner for recommendations.)

* Some raw-foodies report that running, cycling, swimming, or other aerobic exercise elevates their body temperature and also improves their digestion and the quality of sleep.

* Spices: ginger, cayenne, black pepper, cumin, coriander, fennel, etc. will improve digestion and metabolism. Pungent greens, like mustard, watercress, arugula, are alternatives to pungent spices.

* Tonic herbs: the Ayurvedic herbal blend triphala, strengthens the entire digestive system, and is extremely beneficial for the colon.

* Avoid cold food and liquids. Allow refrigerated items to return to room temperature before consuming.

 

ARS ginger

 

* Sipping hot water with meals, and in between meals, can help provide warmth to the body. The addition of a small piece of fresh ginger root (about 1/2 inch piece) to hot water will help considerably to increase agni (the digestive fire) and improve digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Adding fresh ginger or a little bit of flax seed oil or olive oil to a vegetable juice will increase the nutrient absorption, increase agni and not aggravate vata as much.

* Using a food blender, or consuming vegetable juices will decrease dryness.

* Adding fresh lime or lemon juice to foods also increases agni due to its sour taste.

* Using organic extra-virgin olive oil, walnut oil or flax seed oil on salads and other dry foods will help diminish their vata provoking quality and provide necessary fatty acids to the diet.

* Chewing a thin slice of ginger sprinkled with salt before a meal will get the digestive juices flowing.

*Chewing fennel seeds after a meal will prevent gas or bloating.

* Relaxing for at least 10 minutes after a meal without getting up and rushing immediately will promote digestion and counteract fatigue after eating.

When it comes to deciding what foods to eat use common sense, eat according to your constitution, eat mostly cooked foods when the weather is cold, when it is foggy or in the evenings. Salads are best eaten at lunchtime (when the digestive fire is strongest), in summer, or when the weather is hot. I am always amazed when I go back to Europe, how healthy and grounded my friends are, even though their diet is not really 100% nutritionally correct (lots of wine, bread, pastries). How is that possible? I think the answer is that they sit down with their friends or families and take time in preparing and enjoying their meals. Here in California a lot of people are just sipping some green protein shake and hurry off to their yoga class. Now when you lovingly prepare your food, and really look forward to eating it, and enjoy every bite, guess what happens? All the digestive juices are flowing at the right time and the body will extract all the nutrients it needs. Food that is gulped down quickly, just because one thinks it is healthy, but is not really enjoyed will actually be harmful to your health!! It does not get digested well and wreaks havoc throughout your system.

So take time in preparing fresh meals, enjoy your food in good company and relax after eating! Happiness is the best digestive aid!

Phosphorus : This mineral is also essential for growth and repair of cells in the body.

Phosphorus is another important mineral that is required in the body for the necessary for nourishment of the brain and the growth of the bones, teeth and hair. Phosphorus is also necessary for the growth and repair of cells in the body. It is also believed that phosphorus helps in maintaining proper heart health and prevention of cancer.  Along with calcium, phosphorus is required in order to have strong bones and teeth.

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body and 85% of it is found in the bones. The rest of the body’s phosphorus is found in the blood, the fluid around and in cells, and in various organs like the heart, kidneys, brain, and muscles, where it is involved in many critical functions. It’s main purpose is for building strong bones and teeth, but this mineral is used by practically every cell in the body.


Health Benefits of Phosphorus

  • For strong bones and skeletal structure
  • For strong teeth, formation of tooth enamel, and healthy gums
  • For energy and metabolization of fats and starches
  • For growth and body repair
  • For heart regularity
  • For arthritis
  • For speedier recovery of burn victims
  • For cancer prevention
  • For cell health
  • Human body requires phosphate to produce energy and manage it. It also plays a crucial role in synthesizing proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
  • Phosphate is also required to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
  • With so many uses to its credit phosphate is indeed very important for the body, and lack of the same can result in adverse effects on us.
  • Phosphorus is a vital component of DNA and RNA, and links the structures of both.
  • Phosphorus also plays a crucial role in transmission of nerve impulses within the body

Phosphorus Deficiency Symptoms

  • Almost eighty five percent of phosphorus in our body is found in the bones and the teeth, the remaining is found in the blood, muscles, organs such as brain, kidney, etc and fluids in and around the body cells.
  • Any deficiency of phosphorus in the body can produce a number of symptoms and diseases. Some of the commonly experienced symptoms of phosphorus deficiency are weak bones and teeth, tiredness, reduction in appetite, pain and stiffness in the joints, lack of energy, occurrence of infections and confusion.
  •  Besides these symptoms, there are numerous phosphorus deficiency diseases too which can occur if there is an imbalance in the calcium-phosphorus reserves in the body.
  • Such a phosphorus deficiency in humans can lead to diseases such as arthritis, rickets, pyorrhea and decaying teeth.

List of High Phosphorus Foods

Fruits:

  • Avocado
  • Blackcurrants
  • Breadfruit
  • Dates
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Kiwi
  • Lychee
  • Mulberries
  • Passionfruit
  • Pears
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate

Vegetables:

Nuts:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Buckwheat
  • Cashews
  • Oats
  • Pine Nuts/Pignolias
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Wheat – Durum
  • Wheat – Hard Red
  • Wheat – Hard White

Most legumes are a good source of Phospherous but these are the highest.

  • Adzuki Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Black Eye Peas
  • Fava Beans
  • Edamame
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Pigeon Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Soy Beans
  • White Beans
  • Winged Beans

Fruits and Vegetables: List Of Low Carbohydrates and Calories of your Favorite Fruits and Vegetable.

Fruits and vegetables are always good when included in a diet. Whether you believe in vegetarianism or not, make sure that you include some of these low carb vegetables and fruit in your daily diet. Stay fit and healthy.

Vegetables are part of a healthy diet but not all vegetables are equal. Some

contain significantly more calories and carbs than others do.

Choose your vegetables wisely. If you are able to afford them, please choose organic foods whenever possible

Unless otherwise stated, the vegetable food counts (carbohydrates and calories) are for average size portions of 3½ ounces, which is 100g.

Where the vegetables are listed as boiled or baked, this means plain boiled or baked with nothing yet added such as butter or oil. Unless otherwise stated, the food counts are for fresh (not canned) vegetables.

Low carbohydrate vegetables are non-starchy and low in carbs. A low carb vegetable diet is the perfect way to stay lean and fit, as these vegetables have all the necessary fiber, minerals and vitamins required by the body. Though the exact carb count depends on the serving size, these low carb vegetables should be a daily part of your diet, no matter what the quantity. Let us list a few low carb vegetables and fruits. When looking at some of the carb counts, know that fiber is not counted as carbohydrates.

Low Carb Vegetables

An average vegetable portion of 100g equals 3½ ounces Calories per portion stated Carbohydrates per portion stated
Aubergine (eggplant), raw, 100g 15 2.2
Alfalfa sprouts, raw, 100g 24 0.4
Artichoke-Jerusalem, boiled, 100g 41 10.6
Asparagus, boiled, 100g 22 4
Asparagus, canned, drained, 100g 19 3
Bamboo shoots, canned, 100g 11 0.7
Beansprouts mung, raw, 100g 31 4
Beetroot, raw, 100g 36 4.6
Beetroot, boiled, 100g 46 9.5
Beetroot, pickled, drained, 100g 28 5.6
Broccoli, green, boiled, 100g 24 1.3
Broccoli, green, raw, 100g 33 1.8
Broccoli, purple, boiled, 100g 19 1.3
Broccoli, purple, raw, 100g 35 2.6
BrusselsSprouts, boiled, 100g 35 3.1
Cabbage spring, boiled, 100g 7 0.6
Cabbage Chinese, raw, 100g 12 1.4
Cabbage red, raw, 100g 21 3.7
CabbageSavoy, raw, 100g 27 3.9
Cabbage, white, raw, 100g 27 5
Capsicum Pepper, green, raw 100g 15 2.6
Capsicum Pepper, red, raw 100g 32 6.4
Carrots, old, boiled, 100g 24 4.9
Carrots, young, raw, 100g 30 6
Cassava chips, 100g 354 92
Cassava, steamed, 100g 142 37
Cauliflower, boiled, 100g 28 2.3
Celeriac, raw, 100g 18 2.3
Celery, raw, 100g 7 0.9
Corn, baby sweetcorn, boiled, 100g 24 2.7
Corn kernels, canned, 100g 123 27
Corn kernels, raw 100g 93 17
Corn-on-cob, boiled, plain, 100g 66 11.6
Courgette (Zucchini), raw, 100g 18 1.8
Curly Kale, raw, 100g 35 1.4
Cucumber, unpeeled, raw 100g 10 1.5
Chicory, raw, 100g 14 1
Eggplant (aubergine), raw, 100g 15 2.2
Endive (Escarole), 100g 11 2.8
Fennel, raw, 100g 12 1.8
Garlic, fresh, raw, 100g 98 16
Leeks, raw, 100g 22 2.9
Lettuce leaf, butterhead, raw, 100 12 1.2
Lettuce, cos, romaine, raw, 100g 16 1.7
Lettuce, Iceberg, raw, 100g 13 1.9
Marrow, boiled, 100g 9 1.6
Mushrooms, common, raw, 100g 22 3.4
Potatoes, new, boiled, 100g 75 18
Potatoes, old, raw, 100g 86 20
Okra, raw, 100g 31 3
Onions, raw, 100g 64 7.9
Parsnip, raw, 100g 64 12.5
Peas, frozen, raw, 100g 66 9.3
Peas, fresh, raw, 100g 83 11.3
Pumpkin, raw, 100g 13 2.2
Radish, red, raw, 100g 12 2
Spinach, raw, 100g 25 1.6
Squash, butternut, baked, 100g 32 7.4
Squash spaghetti, baked, 100g 75 18
Zucchini (Courgette), raw, 100g 18 1.8
Sweet potato, baked, 100g 115 28
Tomatoes, canned, & liquid, 100g 16 3
Tomatoes cherry, raw, 100g 18 3
Tomatoes, ordinary, raw, 100g 17 3
Water chestnuts, canned, 100g 28 7
Watercress, raw, 100g 22 0.4
Yam, baked, 100g 153 37.5
Zucchini (Courgette), raw, 100g 18 1.8

Apart from these low carb diet vegetables, the following vegetables are also very fiber and mineral rich, without carrying a lot of carbohydrates.

  • Collards
  • Mustard Greens
  • Herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary and thyme
  • Sea vegetables like nori
  • Okra
  • Avocados
  • Green beans and wax beans
  • Scallions or green onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Artichokes
  • Carrots
  • Turnip
  • Fresh ginger and garlic

Fruits are part of a healthy diet. However, some fruits contain significantly more carbs than others do.   If you are following a low carbohydrate diet and want to include fruits, choose the best low carbs fruits. Additionally, if you want to maximize the health benefits and help our planet, eat organically grown low carb fruits whenever possible.

It’s best to avoid sweetened, canned, or dried fruit. Most dried fruit has sugar added during processing.

Dried fruits are not part of a weight loss diet. Even berries such as blueberries and cranberries have added sugar when bought as dried.

The calories in fruit count are then approximately the same as dried raisins. If you shop around, it is possible to buy sugar-free dried fruit.  This chart gives the number of calories and carbohydrates in fresh fruit.

Fruits, whole grains, oatmeal and vegetables contain complex carbohydrates. If you want to reduce or maintain your weight, a low carb diet can definitely help you. The diet may help solve all weight related problems like heart disease and diabetes. Lots of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables should be included in the diet as they supply the necessary nutrients to your body. Deficiency of nutrients can lead to various health complications and fatigue, which can affect your work and health. Low carb foods having a low glycemic index help protect your heart from damage due to fats. Dietitians usually recommend low carb diet to diabetics.

Low Carb Fruits

Per single fruit or the portion stated Calories per fruit or the portion stated Carbohydrates per fruit or the portion stated
Apple (with the peel) 81 21
Apricot 17 4
Avocado 306 12
Banana 105 27
Blackberries (½ cup) 37 9
Blackcurrants (½ cup) 36 9
Blueberries fresh (½ cup) 41 10
Cherries (½ cup) 52 12
Cranberries fresh raw (½ cup), 23 6
Currants Red fresh (½ cup) 31 8
Dates dried/sugar (½ cup) 280 62
Date 1 fresh/unsweetened 7 2
Fig (medium) 37 10
Gooseberries fresh (½ cup) 34 8
Grapes (10 medium seedless) 36 9
Grapefruit (1 medium half) 46 12
Guava (½ cup) 42 10
Kiwi (medium) 46 11
Lemon (with peel) 22 12
Lime (with peel) 18 10
Lychees 1 oz. 19 5
Mango fresh 135 35
Melon Canteloupe (1 half) 94 22
Melon Honeydew (1 tenth) 46 12
Nectarine (medium) 67 16
Olives green (pitted) 1 oz. 33 0.4
Olives black (pitted) 1 oz. 96 2.5
Orange 65 16
Papaya (½ cup cubed) 27 7
Passion Fruit (medium) 18 4
Paw Paw 34 7
Peach 37 10
Pear (medium) 98 25
Pineapple fresh (½ cup cubed) 39 10
Plum 36 9
Prune (1 dried & pitted) 20 5
Raisins (dried ½ cup) 110 29
Raspberry (½ cup) 31 7
Rhubarb (½ cup cubed) 14 3
Satsuma 37 9
Strawberries (½ cup) 23 5
Tangerine 37 9
Tomato (large) 26 6
Tomato Cherry 3 1

Fruits and Vegetables wallpaper no84910

If you want to have a handy list of low carb fruits and vegetables, which you can always keep with you, here is one for you.

Low Carb Foods List – Vegetables and Fruits

Sprouts like bean, alfalfa, etc.
Greens – lettuces, spinach, chard, etc.
Hearty Greens – collards, mustard greens, kale, etc.
Radicchio and endive count as greens
Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.
Bok Choy
Celery
Radishes
Sea Vegetables
Cabbage/sauerkraut)
Mushrooms
Jicama
Avocado
Cucumbers
Asparagus
Green Beans and Wax Beans
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Peppers like green bell peppers, red bell peppers, jalapeño peppers
Summer Squash
Zucchini
Scallions or green onions
Bamboo Shoots
Leeks
Brussels Sprouts
Snow Peas (pods)
Tomatoes
Eggplant
Tomatillos

Low Carb Foods List – Fruits
Artichokes
Fennel
Onions
Okra
Spaghetti Squash
Celery Root (Celeriac)
Carrots
Turnip
Water Chestnuts
Pumpkin
Lemon or Lime (small amount)
Passion Fruits
Rhubarb
Raspberries
Blackberries
Cranberries
Strawberries
Casaba Melon
Papaya
Watermelon
Peaches
Nectarines
Blueberries
Cantaloupes
Honeydew Melons
Apples
Guavas
Apricots
Grapefruit

I hope you found the above lists of fruits and vegetables helpful. Now that you know about low carb foods, you can design your own low carb diet. These food items will keep you fit and active and you will be able to achieve your goal of weight loss. It is necessary to consult a physician before opting for any diet. Be sure that you don’t have any health problem and see to it that you get all the essential nutrients when on diet.

Fruits And Vegetable : List of Low and High Sugar Fruit and Vegetable.

Mother Nature has the unique ability to create foods that have an entire web of nutritional and healing benefits. In fact, we are still discovering and learning about the compounds found in plant foods that contribute to our wellness and longevity.

A healthy diet begins with fresh vegetables and fruits which play a major role of a balanced diet that includes foods that are low in cholesterol, fat, and needless sugar. Try to add a portion of fruits and vegetables to each meal you eat, if you want to eat healthy.

Talking about fruits and vegetable , they have been natural essential diet of human being since very old times. Besides easily digestible and good source as food, fruits and vegetable are served as medicine, treat ailments, retain and balance the moisture level in the body. They are full with vitamins, minerals, enzymes.

When you are on a diet, especially low carb diet, you should beware of high sugar fruits and vegetable. Sugar is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous substances for the body. You should avoid it at all costs.

Many diets focus on restricting carbohydrates, Hypothyroid help here which may be important if you are in the early stage of a weight loss plan. Nutritionists generally emphasize that eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is still appropriate for most people.

Fruits That Are Low  In Sugar

Apple (sliced)
Apricot (4 oz.)

Avocado :7g
Blackberry
Blueberry
Boysenberry
Cantaloupe : 6.3g

Cranberry : 4g
Cherry (sour, sweet, 10 medium)
Coconut meat (1 oz. or 1 cup shredded/grated, not packed)
Coconut milk
Currant (red, black, white)
Elderberry
Gooseberry : 9g
Grape (10 medium)

Grapefruit, Red : 6.6g
Honeydew melon
Kiwi fruit (1 medium)
Kumquat (1 medium)
Lemon/Lime (2 inch diameter)
Lemon/Lime Juice (1 oz)

Melon, Red Water : 8g
Mulberry

Olive : 3g
Orange (sections, without membrane)

Papaya : 8g

Passion Fruit : 5.8g
Peach (1 med, 4 oz.)

Pear : 11.5g
Persimmon (American, Japanese, 1 medium)
Pineapple (1 oz)
Plum
Raspberry
Strawberry
Tangelo (1 medium)
Tangerine (1 medium)

Tomato : 1.9g
Watermelon

Very High Sugar Fruits

Banana : 20.4g
Fig : 19g
Grapes : 15.5g
Guava : 17g
Kumquat : 16g
Lychee : 18g
Mango : 15g
Persimmon : 18.6g
Pomegranate : 17g

Except where noted, all have less than 10 gm carbs in a half cup serving.

Vegetables That Are Low In Sugar

Alfalfa sprouts
Asparagus
Avocado
Bamboo sprouts
Bean sprouts
Beet greens
Bell pepper (sweet green)
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage — all kinds
Carrot
Cauliflower
Celeriac (celery root, knob celery)
Celery
Collard greens
Cucumber
Dandelion greens
Eggplant
Endive
Escarole
Garlic (1 clove)
Kale
Leek
Lettuce — all kinds
Mung bean sprouts
Mushroom
Mustard greens
Okra
Onion (1 oz.)
Radish
Red-leaf chicory (Arugula)
Romaine (cos)
Shallot
Spaghetti squash
Spinach
Squashes — summer
String bean
Swiss chard
Tomato
Turnip greens
Watercress
Zucchini

 Vegetables That Are High In Sugar
Why are carrots listed in both categories? Carrot juice is high in sugars (about 5 gm), while
cooked carrots are low (about 3 gm).

Beets
Carrots (depends on diet)
Corn
Parsnips
Peas
Plantains
Potatoes in all forms
Winter Squashes (particularly acorn and butternut)

What are phytochemicals?

Phytochemicals are compounds that have been found to protect the body from chronic disease patterns. These conditions are becoming more common, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and neurodegeneration like dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Research is finding that a diet rich in phytochemicals protects the body from physical and environmental stressors that lead to chronic disease. Some of these phytochemicals are called polyphenols and phenolic acids and are abundant in fruits and vegetables. (1) Some examples are:

  • Quercitin: Falls under the class of a flavonoid, and sometimes a distinction is made between it and other polyphenols. It has anti-inflammatory properties, is an antioxidant, and also has been found to reduce blood pressure and lower LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can sometimes indicate the prevalence of poor, unhealthy fats in the diet and too much processed, refined sugar. Quercitin is found in green tea, red onion, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Anthocyanin: Common in berries and responsible for their beautiful colors! These include blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, bing cherries, black current, and acai. Anthocyanin actually acts as a sunscreen for plants by absorbing damaging UV light, so it any surprise that in our own bodies, it has been found to be a potent antioxidant? The sun is one source of free radical damage, and anthocyanins can help mitigate the effects of oxidative stress.

 All sugary food is expansive.

  • Fruit sugars are about 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
  • The body’s cells absolutely need glucose to generate energy for the body, especially the brain and central nervous system.
  • The glycemic index (GI) of a food indicates how much a food will affect insulin secretion.
  • Fructose has no effect on insulin secretion. Glucose does.
  • This is why agave nectar, which is up to 90% fructose, has a low glycemic index. Contrary to its popularity, agave nectar is not a healthy sweetener.

Other things to know:

  • Fructose also does not trigger the release of leptin, which gives the feeling of satiety. Glucose does.
  • Fructose stimulates the release of ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite. (2)

The leptin/ghrelin dialogue in fructose and glucose is one reason why many people overeat. People who overeat are typically binging on bread (processed breads are made with high fructose corn syrup), sugar, dairy, and fruits. Even though fruit sugars are about 50/50 glucose and fructose, it is still wise to pay attention to any amount of fructose in the diet.

Vibrations : Vibrational Frequencies and Food

Everything in the Universe has a vibration (frequencies), including your physical body. Each flower, plant, tree, mineral, rock, crystal, or gemstone has its own specific vibration. Each type of cell, organ, and system in each living organism also has its own specific vibration. Each thought and emotion has its own vibration. Each sound and color has its own vibration.

When an individual is not well their body’s vibration lowers, the immune system weakens, and many invaders enter and stay in a person’s body. This includes parasites, worms, bacterial infections, viruses, and different types of fungus. These invaders not only affect the direct functioning of a body, but they also cause other problems since they daily unload many toxins into the human body. Today we are being exposed to many of these invaders on a regular basis. E.g. A simple visit to a hospital can expose you to many infectious bacteria.

Disharmonious or unbalanced vibrations show themselves in many ways including discomfort, dis-ease, illness, fatigue, and a variety of different symptoms. When a body is healthy is has a relatively high vibration, and this is reflected through the vibrations of individual cells, organs and systems. When a person is not perfectly healthy the vibrations in the body are lowered.

In 1992, Bruce Tainio of Tainio Technology, an independent division of Eastern State University in Cheny, Washington, built the first frequency monitor in the world. Tainio has determined that the average frequency of the human body during the daytime is 62-68 Hz. A healthy body frequency is 62-72 Hz .

A healthy body frequency is 62-72 Hz . When the frequency drops, the immune system is compromised. Check out these very interesting findings:

Human Body:
Genius Brain Frequency 80-82 MHz
Brain Frequency Range 72-90 MHz
Normal Brain Frequency 72 MHz
Human Body 62-78 MHz
Human Body: from Neck up 72-78 MHz
Human Body: from Neck down 60-68 MHz

Thyroid and Parathyroid glands are 62-68 MHz

Thymus Gland is 65-68 MHz
Heart is 67-70 MHz
Lungs are 58-65 MHz
Liver is 55-60 MHz
Pancreas is 60-80 MHz

Dis-ease
Colds and Flu start at: 57-60 MHz
Disease starts at: 58 MHz
Candida overgrowth starts at: 55 MHz
Receptive to Epstein Barr at: 52 MHz
Receptive to Cancer at: 42 MHz
Death begins at: 25 MHz

Foods
(fresh foods and herbs can be higher if grown organically and eaten freshly picked):
Fresh Foods 20-27 Hz
Fresh Herbs 20-27 Hz
Dried Foods 15-22 Hz
Dried Herbs 15-22 Hz
Processed/Canned Food 0 HZ…(the majority of food people eat)
According to Dr. Royal R. Rife, every disease has a frequency. He found that certain frequencies can prevent the development of disease and that others would destroy disease. Substances with higher frequency will destroy diseases of a lower frequency. The study of frequencies raises an important question, concerning the frequencies of substances we eat, breathe and absorb. Many pollutants lower healthy frequency. Processed/canned food has a frequency of zero. Fresh produce has up to 15 Hz, dried herbs from 12 to 22 Hz and fresh herbs from 20 to 27 Hz.

Essential oils start at 52 Hz and go as high as 320 Hz, which is the frequency of rose oil. Clinical research shows that therapeutic grade essential oils have the highest frequency of any natural substance known to man, creating an environment in which disease, bacteria, virus, fungus, etc., cannot live.

Following are general guidelines that will assist your body to eliminate cellular toxins and increase its cellular frequency:

EAT FOODS THAT INCREASE VITALITY AND REDUCE STRESS

  • Whole foods.
  • Organically grown foods. (Check out the “ dirty dozen ”. These are said to have the highest amounts of pesticides in them and it’s suggested that you try to buy these items organic: Apples, Celery, Strawberries, Peaches, Spinach, Nectarines ( imported), Grapes ( imported), Sweet bell peppers, Potatoes, Blueberries (domestic), Lettuce, Kale/collard greens)
  • Locally grown foods.
  • In season.
  • Food prepared slowly, with mindfulness and with love feed the body and the soul

DEVELOP HABITS THAT INCREASE VITALITY AND REDUCE STRESS

  • Eat food in moderation.
  • Eat foods that keep the body slightly more alkaline.
  • Be calm and fully present while eating.
  • Bless the food and all who made it possible for your nourishment and pleasure.
  • Chew each mouthful well.
  •  Drink pure water.
  • Exercise.

CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT ENHANCES DIGESTION

  • Quiet and peaceful (candles, soothing music)
  •  Low incandescent lighting
  • Exercise.

AVOID “FOODS” THAT DECREASE VITALITY AND INCREASE STRESS

  • Genetically modified
  • Irradiated
  • Cooked in a microwave oven.
  • Refined (white flour, white rice, all grains that have the germ and the bran removed). Processed (all junk food; most snack foods).
  •  High glycemic. These sugary, starchy foods affect blood sugar levels and weight management.
  •  Hydrogenated (margarine; vegetable shortening, lard).
  • Containing additives (chemicals and hormones), preservatives or color dyes
  • Artificial sweeteners—all of them
  • Coffee whiteners
  •  Canned.

AVOID EATING HABITS THAT DECREASE VITALITY AND INCREASE STRESS

  •  Eating more than the body can digest at a meal
  • Drinking with meals dilutes digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid in the stomach
  • Bolting food down.
  •  Being distracted.
  • Eating while feeling tense or emotionally upset—very acid forming.
  • Arguing while eating—more acid in the system

AVOID ENVIRONMENTS (INNER & OUTER) THAT WEAKEN DIGESTION

  •  Noisy
  •  Fluorescent or halogen lighting
  • Drugs
  • Worry
  • Negative emotions

Sodium : Essential Organic Sodium Rich Foods

Sodium is consumed by the human body in form of sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is the chemical name for common salt. Sodium is a highly reactive, metallic and alkaline element. It is very essential for life, as it is present in the extra-cellular fluids in the body. This essential mineral is also found in bones and fluids around the cell. It is commonly found in saliva and enzymes. Sodium or ‘Na‘ is the predominant cation in the extra cellular fluid. It works along with potassium, which is another important cation present in the intracellular fluids.

Sodium contains naturally in many foods and is also added in the form of salt or other sodium-containing substances. It is an element that is soft and silvery white in appearance. Usually found inside as well as outside the body, in combination with other elements, it is consumed in the form of sodium chloride.

Sodium is highly reactive, alkaline, metallic and malleable in nature and is essential for regulation of blood and body fluids. Aside from that, transmission of nerve impulses, heart activity, and certain metabolic functions in the human body also require the presence of this particular element. Plants are the only living beings that do not require sodium for their survival.

Benefits of Sodium

  •  Sodium helps in maintenance of water balance of the body. It helps in pumping water in the cells and regulating the excess cellular fluid in the body.
  •  Sunstroke or heat exhaustion can be addressed, by consuming food rich in sodium, as they immediately replace the loss of essential electrolytes such as salt and water.
  • Right intake of sodium enhances brain activity and keeps the mind sharp. Remember, human brain is extremely sensitive to changing sodium levels in the body.
  • Muscle cramps can be avoided by taking foods rich in sodium. Usually in hot season or summer, due to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration, while water keeps the body hydrated, sodium restores the amount of electrolyte loss.
  •  For glossy and healthy skin, sodium will help you keep the skin youthful and glowing, which is why it is an important hydrating product of almost all anti-aging creams.
  • Sodium helps in the absorption of glucose by cells for smooth transportation of nutrients in body cell membranes.
  • Sodium plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy functioning of the heart. Apart from upholding the contraction of the heart, it also maintains the blood pressure levels of the human body.
  • Excess of carbon dioxide in the body is not beneficial for healthy living. Sodium helps in removing excess amount of toxic carbon dioxide accumulated in the body.
  • Another important benefit of sodium is that it balances the osmotic pressure in the human body, by regulating the fluid in body cells.
  • Sodium helps in balancing positively charged and negatively charged ions, as it shares an association with chlorides and bicarbonates, which help in maintaining a sound balance between the two types.
  • Health Concern: Sodium is one substance most people get too much of. While it is possible to be deficient in sodium, such deficiencies are incredibly rare, and for most people the problem is too much sodium.
  • The most serious and well-documented effects of excess sodium in the diet are high blood pressure and heart disease. Anyone who is prone to heart disease or high blood pressure should use caution when eating sodium rich foods.
  • Sodium deficiency is quite rare, due to the high levels of sodium in the modern diet. However, symptoms of a sodium deficient diet can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and muscle weakness.

List of Sodium Rich Foods

Amaranth

Amaranth leaves

Artichoke

Beet Greens

Beets

Broccoli

Black-eyed beans

Bok Choy

Brussels Sprouts

Celeriac

Celery

Chick peas

Coconut

Fennel

Garbanzo beans

Kale

Kelp / Sea vegetables

Legumes

Olives

passion-fruit

Pulses

Pumpkin Seeds

Quinoa

Sauerkraut

Spaghetti squash

Spelt

Spirulina

Sweet Potatoes

Spinach

Swiss Chard

Wakam

Winged Beans

Sodium occurs naturally in almost all fresh, whole fruits,  all fresh, whole vegetables, seeds, nuts , grains and legumes but those about have the highest amount

TV Dinner with turkey and stuffing

Health Concern: Sodium is one substance most people get too much of. While it is possible to be deficient in sodium, such deficiencies are incredibly rare, and for most people the problem is too much sodium.

The most serious and well-documented effects of excess sodium in the diet are high blood pressure and heart disease. Anyone who is prone to heart disease or high blood pressure should use caution when eating sodium rich foods.

Sauce packets on a Chinese menu

Foodstuffs that contain baking soda or baking powder as an active ingredient (sodium containing compounds) also are categorized under foods high in sodium content. Canned and frozen meats such as chicken, ham, tuna or salmon are not a good for those wanting to restrict their sodium intake. Canned meats, are highly processed. As a result, these foods tend to be high in sodium content. A sodium containing solution is often injected into canned foods to enhance taste. Even processed cheese, salty meats, snacks and smoked fish also come in the list of foods high in sodium. Snacks such as peanuts and popcorn are considered to be a rich source of sodium. Dried foods such as pastas and macaroni have high levels of sodium. Grain based foods such as biscuits and crackers also belong to the group of foods high in sodium. Eating of breads, breakfast cereals and pastries can also contribute to a high sodium intake.

Uncooked ramen noodles and flavor packets

Sodium deficiency is quite rare, due to the high levels of sodium in the modern diet. However, symptoms of a sodium deficient diet can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and muscle weakness.

Treatment of Sodium Deficiency
Sodium deficiency treatment includes intravenous saline, water restriction and administration of diuretics. The person suffering from sodium deficiency is monitored, as rapid stabilization may lead to heart failure. Sodium deficiency is commonly seen in marathon runners or distance athletes. As they keep drinking water while running, their body level of fluids increase leading to dilution of sodium. This condition is also called water intoxication. Thus, they are advised to drink sports drinks, sports gels or other electrolyte replacement supplements.

Fruits and Vegetables That Are Low in Sodium

Daily Requirement of Sodium
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the estimated minimum requirement of sodium for healthy persons ranges from 120mg/day for infants to 500 mg/day for adults and children over the age of 10 years. Sodium deficiency is very rare and the minimum intake of sodium chloride or NaCl is 5-10 grams. An average person consumes 8-10 grams of NaCl or even more.

Therefore, sodium deficiency is a rare disease that affects a person in extreme cases or conditions only. One should follow a healthy diet and consume healthy foods and healthy drinks to avoid any form of deficiency related illnesses.

Seasonal Eating : What Foods To Enjoy This Winter.

You adjust your wardrobe with the seasons — your diet should be no different, especially because adjusting your diet in this way can benefit your body’s health. As seasonal shifts affect your body, the foods you eat can help you accommodate — or counteract — the changes.

As the weather turns cold, our activity levels tend to drop off and we burn fewer calories. That can lead to weight gain. Extra weight and other winter-related factors, such as declines in levels of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), have been associated with increases in blood pressure and cholesterol. Researchers have also noticed that in the cold months, our brains produce less serotonin, a “feel-good” chemical. This may be one reason we often feel so  depressed in winter and try to cheer up by eating cookies and other high-carbohydrate snacks. Your body knows what it needs (even if your brain doesn’t always make the best choices): As it happens, carbohydrates trigger serotonin production.

Your winter challenge: Eat healthful carbs, such as sweet potatoes and whole-grain pasta, to help your blood pressure, cholesterol and mood. Just stick with smart portions that won’t break the calorie bank.

Fix it with food: Potatoes, in season in the winter, are loaded with two blood pressure–lowering compounds: the mineral potassium and chemicals called kukoamines. Just remember that one serving of potato shouldn’t resemble a football — it’s around the size of a computer mouse. And stay away from frying or mounds of butter and sour cream. For healthful oven frites, cut a medium potato (try it with a sweet potato for extra health benefits) into thin wedges, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast until golden brown. Another serotonin-boosting choice: winter squash, such as butternut and acorn. It gives you a good carb fix along with a shot of potassium, which boots energy and protects the heart. For a quick meal, poke holes in a medium squash and bake until soft; cut in half and scoop out seeds. Fill with your favorite greens, such as baby spinach (they’ll wilt from the heat), and sprinkle with a handful of walnuts.

WHY eat the seasons?

There are a number of good reasons to eat more local, seasonal food:

  • to reduce the energy (and associated CO2 emissions) needed to grow and transport the food we eat
  • to avoid paying a premium for food that is scarcer or has travelled a long way
  • to support the local economy
  • to reconnect with nature’s cycles and the passing of time

but, most importantly, because

  • seasonal food is fresher and so tends to be tastier and more nutritious

Enjoying the Season’s Freshest Foods

In any other season, this would be as simple as making a trip to your local farmer’s market to stock up on the essentials. But many farmers’ markets close down for the winter. In this season of scarcity, you’ll probably need to call around to find a local farm that sells produce throughout the cold months.  Check out www.FoodRoutes.org for a list of farms near you.

Once you find a source and make over your pantry for winter, all that’s left is stirring and savoring. Availability will vary from region to region, but here’s a general list of foods that make winter their season, along with tips on how to incorporate these ingredients into your meals.

Winter Vegetables

  • Beets.  are in season in temperate climates fall through spring, and available from storage most of the year everywhere else. Fresh beets are often sold with their greens still attached.
  • Cauliflower. May be grown, harvested, and sold year-round, but it is by nature a cool weather crop and at its best in fall and winter and into early spring.
  • Kale. This hearty green is a rich source of minerals (including calcium), and although it is available year-round, it actually tastes the sweetest in the winter. To eat, wash leaves thoroughly and tear them into small pieces—discarding the touch stem. Place in a steamer and steam until tender (five minutes). Sauté in garlic butter or olive oil; sprinkle with soy sauce; or toss right into a hot bowl of soup to boost its nutritional content.
  • Leeks. A mild-flavored member of the onion family—and essential ingredient in potato-leek soup—this winter vegetable adds delicious flavor to many recipes. Try them in your favorite winter stew.
  • Radicchio. A type of bitter lettuce, radicchio can be grilled or used in salads.
  • Radishes. Most commonly used in green salads and vegetable trays, this spicy root vegetable can also be cooked as a side dish. Thinly slice radishes and steam them until tender. Then sauté steamed radishes in butter with a few cloves of garlic, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a sprinkle of dried dill weed.
  • Rutabaga. Another root vegetable, try mashed rutabagas instead of mashed potatoes.
  • Turnips. These spicy root vegetables can be braised, sautéed, pickled, sun-dried, or roasted. As a rule, smaller turnips are usually tastier than large ones

Depending on your region, these citrus fruits may be abundant at this time of the year. If so, enjoy them for the rest of us! While they’re fabulous straight out of the peel, there are some creative alternatives for enjoying these vitamin-rich fruits.

  • Grapefruit. Try an orange-grapefruit-pomegranate compote for a healthy desert.
  • Lemons. Whip up a batch of lemon bars.
  • Oranges. How about some freshly-squeezed orange juice to start your day? Also try adding orange zest to some of your favorite baked goods, like muffins and sweet breads.
  • Tangerines. Toss a peeled tangerine into a blender along with frozen banana chunks and some orange juice for a smoothie
  • Chestnuts. Unless you live near a chestnut grove, you’ll be hard-pressed to find these nuts locally. But December is their season, so here are a few options for preparing these holiday treats. After slicing a slit into their smooth shell, they may be boiled (for 15-30 minutes) or roasted (baked for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally). Eat them plain or incorporated into a recipe. Boil for 15-30 minutes, and then peel.

Here’s our guide to winter’s bounty.

Look for the winter fruits and vegetables below at farmers markets and in produce departments for the best flavor (and greatest value) in season. Specific crops and harvest dates will depend on your region’s climate and most of these are only available locally in temperate regions

Vegetables

Artichokes
Avocado
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Broccoli Rabe
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery Root
Chestnuts
Jerusalem Artichokes
Kale
Lettuce
Parsnips
Radishes
Rhubarb
Rutabaga
Salsify
Snow Peas
Squash (Winter)
Sweet Potatoes
Turnips (White)
Watercress

Fruits
Bananas
Blood Oranges
Clementines
Cranberries
Grapes (Red)
Grapefruits
Kiwi

Kumquat
Oranges
Passion Fruit
Pears
Persimmons
Pomegranates
Pummelo

Rhubarb
Satsuma Oranges
Tangelo
Tangerine
Ugli Fruit


Seasonal Foods: Why It is important to Eat Seasonally..

Eating foods when nature produces them is what people the world over have done naturally through most of history, before mega-supermarkets dotted the landscape and processed foods became ubiquitous. Seasonal eating is also a cornerstone of several ancient and holistic medical traditions, which view it as integral to good health and emotional balance.

For most of us, eating seasonally is a foreign concept. Many people don’t even know that foods have a season, let alone what foods are in season at any given time of year. In the US, we enjoy practically unlimited access to any food at any time of the year, but not without consequences.

Seasonal eating means two things, really: building meals around foods that have just been harvested at their peak and adjusting your diet to meet the particular health challenges of winter, spring, summer and fall. While it may seem like a luxury to have any food we want, anytime we want it, eating foods in season offers many benefits.

For starters, it connects us to the calendar and often to one another, reminding us of simple joys — apple picking on a clear autumn day, slicing a juicy red tomato in the heat of summer, celebrating winter holidays with belly-warming fare. Secondly, produce picked and eaten at its peak generally has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than foods harvested before they’re ripe and then shipped long distances. Flavor suffers, nutrient levels decline, and environmental impact soars with each mile a food must travel to reach its ultimate destination.

Eating seasonally often means eating locally grown foods, so it’s good for the environment too: It supports small and midsize local farmers, cuts down on pollution from shipping and trucking food and reduces your carbon footprint. And if all that’s not enough to get you to make some simple switches in your diet, consider this: In-season foods save you money.

So why settle for “so-so” when you can savor the sensational? Consider the benefits of eating foods at the peak of their season.  Seasonal foods…

  • serve up the most flavor.
  • pack the biggest nutritional punch.
  • boost your budget.
  • are tied to the special days and seasons of our lives: sweet, luscious watermelon paired with the memory of fireflies and fireworks; fragrant hearty soups that temper winter’s chill; sweet young vegetables that accompany spring’s first warm day.

As consumers today, we’re very lucky in some respects. The crisscross networks of our global village provide things our ancestors could only dream about, such as oranges in December. On the other hand, as we shed our rural roots, we tend to lose sight of the seasonal rhythm of life, relying heavily on processed foods and a worldwide distribution system that makes our grocery shelves look pretty much the same year-round. The out-of-season produce we buy has often traversed 1,000 miles or more by the time it reaches our kitchens—with a corresponding loss of flavor and nutrition and an increase in wax coatings, chemical ripening agents, and other preservatives.

But locally-grown seasonal foods often harmonize with our nutritional needs. For example, the beta carotene in the orange pigment of pumpkins and other squash will help bolster your immune system just in time to help ward off winter colds. And the oils of nuts—fats in their purest form—will provide nutrient-rich calories that help keep you warm as the temperature drops.

In fact, recent research shows that eating seasonally may have major health implications. A British study in 1997 found significant differences in the nutritional contents of pasteurized milk in summer as opposed to winter: iodine was higher in the winter, while beta-carotene (an antioxidant and immune system booster that helps the body create vitamin A) was higher in the summer. Similarly, a Japanese study found a three-fold difference in the vitamin C content of spinach harvested in summer versus that harvested in winter.

In practical terms, this means that you’ll get the most nutrition—not to mention the most affordable enjoyment—by eating seasonally. Although the exact season for specific items varies from region to region (you’ll almost certainly get that big beefsteak tomato much earlier in Georgia than in Ohio), follow these basic guidelines for optimal nutrition and taste:

  • In spring, pick the new growth of the season: tender leafy vegetables such as spinach, Romaine or leaf lettuces, Swiss chard, and early peas, as well as fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, and dill.
  • For summer, try lighter produce, with fruits  such as strawberries, pears, apples, and plums, and vegetables such as summer squash, broccoli, corn, and cauliflower. You can also incorporate other summer-type herbs, such as mint or cilantro.
  • During fall, choose hearty harvest foods, including sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic. When cooking, emphasize “warmer” spices and seasonings such as peppercorns, ginger, and mustard seeds.
  • In winter, also pick hearty foods. Keep in mind the principle that foods which take longer to grow are generally more sustaining than foods that grow quickly. In this category are most root vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, onions and garlic, as well as eggs, corn, and nuts.

As you choose the best foods of the season, remember that the healthiest and most enjoyable diet involves diversity. Although you may have to compromise sometimes due to convenience and time constraints, try as much as possible to make food shopping and cooking an adventure, something you can enjoy or share with family members. Try these tips to enhance the journey:

  • Focus on the fresh, minimizing the use of prepared foods as much as possible. When you must use prepared foods, make an effort to embellish them with one or more fresh ingredients.
  • Pick a new produce item to try every week, whether the neglected rutabaga or the tropical mango.
  • Cook at least one new dish each week, and look for recipes that will help you get acquainted with new ingredients. You can subscribe to a food magazine, plug in keywords on the Internet, or even swap new recipes with friends. Since food writers generally base their topics and menus on the foods of the season, take advantage of their offerings to reward yourself with wholesome, tasty meals.
  • Experiment with regional or ethnic dishes. Most regional cuisines, developed in horse-and-buggy times, used local ingredients close by. Exploring new foods will keep mealtime both interesting and healthy.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of the useful food information your grocer provides. Whether you consult those little description cards that hang above specific fruits and veggies, or hold a friendly discussion with the produce manager on how to peel the leaves of an artichoke, you’ll find a wealth of ideas about preparing food.

Let the backdrop of the seasons be your guide to happy and healthy eating—you’ll find that Mother Nature does indeed know best!