Consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables is vital to maintain good health. Seasonal foods provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients that support your health, depending on the various challenges a particular season offers. For instance, summer foods like watermelon and green leafy vegetables help our body cool down. Meanwhile, winter foods such as root veggies, ginger, citrus fruit, and cauliflower are essential to get us through the cold weather without getting sick.
In short, each season has its own distinct foods that are best suited for those months. While these days we can eat almost any fresh fruit or vegetable at any time of the year, that doesn’t mean it’s ideal. Many of the “fresh” summer food products you will see in your local grocery store this winter season are likely to have traveled from faraway countries and ideally shouldn’t be consumed regularly.
Now that winter is here, it's the perfect time to take a look at some of the foods that you should avoid eating during the season for your overall health.
1. Dairy products
Some dairy items like curd, yogurt, and milk should be consumed with care during the winter season. Health experts say that curd cheese may increase mucus secretion. Thus, people who already have respiratory issues, or are suffering from asthma, should try and avoid dairy products in the winter as the excess mucus buildup can lead to swelling. Furthermore, milk, too, can thicken phlegm. You needn’t eliminate dairy products from your diet in winter completely. Just try and have them in moderation.
Asparagus is one of those wonderful vegetables that are available all year round. While this vegetable is very healthy, it’s typically consumed in spring and avoided in the winter. The asparagus grown in the spring season is firm and delicious. Winter asparagus, on the other hand, is generally shipped from Peru and China and can be quite limp and woody.
Moreover, it loses a lot of its vital elements during shipment and its taste doesn’t remain the same as well. While you can buy frozen asparagus from the supermarket, it would be better if you opted for fresh green veggies that are available in the winter like kale, broccoli, leeks, or Brussels sprouts.
Peaches are just so juicy and deliciously sweet, aren’t they? They are the perfect summer fruit, but they tend to vanish around August. However, many countries import peaches from places like South America even during the winter months to ensure that people can still enjoy them. Unfortunately, peach trees don’t do so well in cold weather and you are unlikely to get them fresh during the winter. You can, of course, freeze these fruits in the summer and have them during the colder months, but they won’t be ripe.
Consider choosing persimmons instead as they have a similar sweet taste to peaches, are loaded with vitamins A and C, and can be easily found in the winter.
4. Corn on the cob
As much as you might love munching on corn on the cob, it is something you should avoid during the winter. Spring and summer are the best seasons for growing corn and it doesn’t do well in cold temperatures. The corn on the cob you find in the supermarket during the winter is likely to have been frozen for a long time or are leftover from the previous summer. They won’t be fresh, will have fewer nutrients, and are best avoided.
5. Strawberries and blueberries
The best time to grow berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, is the summer. Both of these fruits offer a variety of benefits. For instance, strawberries are rich in vitamin C while blueberries are known to be the king of antioxidant-rich foods. However, their nutrient content is mostly lost during shipping and storage. Hence, when these summer fruits are getting shipped from many kilometers away to arrive at your local supermarket during the cold season, they won’t really feel the same or be as beneficial as they are supposed to be.
You can still enjoy the frozen varieties of these berries, though, as they tend to remain just as healthy in that condition.
Tomatoes are juicy, sweet, and tasty in the summer. However, while you may find them in the supermarket during the colder months as well, they won’t have the same taste. Winter tomatoes generally have a mushy and mealy texture. Moreover, winter tomatoes also do not contain the vitamins and minerals they are known for. It would therefore be better to limit your tomato intake during the cold season.
Having too much sugar in your diet is always an unhealthy choice. But research has shown that sugar is worse for you in the winter. Health experts have previously observed that the more sugar we eat, the more risks we have of falling into a depression. A recent study has now shown that the risk gets accentuated in winter. This is because eating sugar triggers an inflammatory response in the body and brain while also reducing the dopamine activity in the brain's reward centers.
During the cold months, we tend to be more vulnerable to depressive symptoms due to the season’s short days and lack of sunlight. This makes us crave sugar more as eating something sweet generally makes us feel relaxed and comfortable for a short while. Alas, not only will that be harmful to our immune system, but it will make us more prone to depression as well. So, as much as the winter holiday season makes you want to munch on sugary products, you would be better off limiting your added sugar intake in the winter.
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