Season’s specials: why one should include fresh fruits and vegetables this summer
This summer, nourish yourself with the season’s specials. Doctors and nutritionists explain why it is important to make the best of seasonal fruits and vegetables
Tis the season of mangoes, watermelons, ice apples and everything nice. While every season comes with its specials, summer is the time we look towards all things juicy and refreshing. But, with today’s lifestyle anchored upon convenience, most of us have ended up replacing naturally available fresh fruits and vegetables with canned and preserved forms of the same — these only feel fresh to taste, but aren’t really.
Doctors, nutritionists and fitness experts cannot emphasise enough on the need to go back to our ancestral ways of nourishing ourselves, especially when it comes to making the best of the season’s specials. Sujatha Stephen RD, chief nutritionist at Yashoda Hospitals-Malakpet, explains why one should include fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables this summer.
“Today, with advanced technology and farming methods, you can get season fruits and vegetables all year round. But, the question is: how fresh are they? Instead, it is advised to eat them when they are in season as they are the freshest. They are packed with all the necessary nutrients required for you to survive the particular climatic condition,” she says.
Also, the longer you store or try to preserve seasonal fruits and vegetables, it loses its nutritional value and freshness. Another factor to bear in mind is that, these are available for much cheaper during the season. For example, imagine buying mangoes in winter! Firstly, might only find them in gourmet stores and will end up spending a bomb on them.
This summer, Sujatha says, include a lot of fruits and vegetables that are high in water content. “We should prefer seasonal fruits and vegetables as they are grown during that particular time and are meant to help you brave the heat or cold. For example, jackfruit and papaya are now in season — they are thermogenetic, which helps you maintain body temperature,” she says.
On the other hand, Dr Jagadeesh Kumar V, consultant physician at KIMS Hospitals, believes that it is important to eat everything in small portions. “In summer, the most important thing is to have plenty of fruits and vegetables that are hydrating as these are rich in electrolytes. Summer is when we lose a lot of water and minerals from the body. Just drinking water will not replenish these essential minerals. But at the end of the day, I would say, eat healthy -- which means anything that has less oil, less spice and non-processed food,” he says.
Tharun Sholarajan, head nutritionist at Myo Movement, warns against having anything off season. “Every food has its natural cycle of growing and ripening. Anything sold off season is a clear indication of ripening agents being used, which may have harmful health effects,” he says.
Why go seasonal
Less transportation, refrigeration, exposure to multiple environments, shelf time, rich in nutrients and taste
Easy to access and far cheaper
Environmentally friendlier as there is no need for packaging and artificial preservatives