I am often asked by people what they should eat to improve their immune system and vitality. My first response is always, “eat seasonal, local and organic food in that order.”
Seasonal foods provide the nutrients our bodies need at this time of year.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine view seasonal foods as balancing the temperature and energy changes our bodies experience each season.
Spring foods, for example, are light and bitter and stimulate gastric juices after the winter months of stagnation,’ when starchy root vegetables abound.
Although it sounds absurd, this is quite logical.
Why we should all eat more seasonal food
Take a look at the autumn seasonal food guide for Melbourne, for instance:
Apples are rich in virus-fighting quercetin
Mushrooms are very rich in immune-boosting beta-glucan polysaccharides
Citrus fruits are high in bioflavonoids and cold-repelling vitamin A
Walnuts are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, such as linolenic.
Figs are a great source of prebiotics that boost your immune system.
Local food is better.
Locally-grown produce is fresher than imported food. The distance between the farm it was grown, and your home is drastically reduced. Produce that is picked at the correct time of ripeness will be more appealing to you than produce that has been left unpickled. This allows for cold storage and travel time.
Local farmers will be able to keep their independence. Unfortunately, Australia’s food chain has been largely controlled and controlled by a few food chain giants. Some of my patients grew on farms and have seen firsthand the brutal approach supermarket chains take to farmers.
This will also help reduce the global food miles. This is especially true when you try to shop at your local farmer’s market or organic co-ops.
Why choose organic food?
The media loves to highlight any study showing that organic foods have the same nutritional value as conventional food. However, it is important to remember that non-organic foods contain a lot of chemical residues and pesticides that can build up in your fat cells.
Organic farming is better for the environment because it encourages biodiversity and prevents mineral soil depletion like intensive farming.
Organic produce is more likely to contain salvestrols. Studies have shown that they have anti-cancer properties. Salvestrols naturally occur in plant foods when they have been blemished, apparently to help them repair themselves.
Salvestrols are believed to have the same effect on cells, where they promote DNA repairs. Although the science behind salvestrol is still new, it is clear that we have decreased our intake.