Guest Post: Why Eating Local will Make you Healthier

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Besides all the good you’d be doing for your local farmers, the nation’s food industry, and good old Planet Earth, shopping at your local farmers’ markets is a great way to revamp your struggling diet.  Eating seasonal produce keeps your focus on vegetables instead of meats and carbs—not to say that you can’t get both from the market or that your body doesn’t need them.

Grocery shopping at your local farmers’ market has the following perks for your body:

  1. Eating locally raised and harvested food means cooking your own food, which gives you greater control over what goes into your body.  Plus, cooking ends up saving you lots of cash.
  2. Most of the stuff you’ll find at farmers’ market is produce.  Planning your meals around what’s seasonal at the market allows you to make veggie-focused dishes, meaning lower calories and more nutrition in most cases.
  3. If you’re into the organic revolution, you get to talk to farmers personally and inquire about their farming methods.  Shopping organic at Whole Foods could mean getting your supposedly organic blueberries from Peru, where workers are underprivileged, underpaid, and it probably isn’t organic at all.  If you want fewer pesticides in your body, shop local.

To get you started, here’s a short list of what you can find at most farmers’ markets this time of year as well as recipes that call for that specific vegetable (courtesy of The Daily Green).  Remember that these are only the year-round produce; just wait until spring when the farmers come out like weeds with their truckloads of goods.

Carrots

Everyone knows that carrots are good for your eyes, but their Vitamin A is also great for your bones and teeth.  They’re rich in beta carotene, which may reduce heart disease and certain types of cancer.  Check out The Daily Green’s curry carrot soup with wasabi cream. http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/1735

Sweet potatoes

Here’s another veggie that’s high in vitamin A—1,096 mg in one medium potato (your daily intake recommendation is between 700 and 900, so you’re good to go!).  Try cooking up some spiced sweet potatoes next time you get back from the market.  http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/cookbook/spiced-sweet-potatoes-44021908

Spinach

Popeye wasn’t kidding—spinach packs a punch.  It’s high in vitamin C, K, and A; magnesium; folate; manganese; iron; calcium; potassium; and vitamin B2 and B6.  It’s not a bad source of protein for you weight lifters, or zinc, dietary fiber, and copper.  You’ll even find some omega-3 fatty acids in there.  That’s a mouthful.  Try the creamy rigatoni with spinach.  http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/339?click=main_sr

Cabbage

Whether raw or cooked, cabbage is another superfood high in fiber. It has lots of vitamins (A, various Bs, C, and K), omega-3s, and calcium.  Eating cabbage semi-regularly could mean a healthy digestive tract, prevention of certain cancers including prostate and colon while minimizing cardiovascular complications.  Try this Asian coleslaw dish for the added benefits of uncooked cabbage:
http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/2271?click=main_sr

Broccoli

This green machine contains lots of phytochemical antioxidants in the carotenoid family, which help out your eyes, and plenty of beta-carotene to fortify your immune system so you don’t catch the flu this year.  Broccoli has also proven to contain more calcium than dairy products to help out your bones.  Try the polenta with broccoli and pecorino here: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/polenta-broccoli-pecorino?click=main_sr

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, where she’s been looking into gender wage gap statistics to see if it can be explained through women choosing lower paying degrees and men choosing higher paying degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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Comments

  1. Great article! I’m printing the recipes now :)

  2. Nice article… we use local produce from our farmers market to eat healthy all the time.
    My wife is going to us the recipe for sweet potato this week.
    http://www.leanmuscleforwomen.com

  3. Srdjan,

    Great guest post! I’m sure that people who shop at local farmers markets tend to be much healthier than people who shop at grocery stores. The point Maria makes about “supposedly organic” foods is also very insightful.

    Alykhan

    • I think part of living a healthy lifestyle is about making the right decisions when it comes to our food choices. Going local is an excellent choice. As outlined by Maria, you have more control over what you’re putting inside your body so you can maximize your vegetable intake and minimize your pesticide consumption.

      There are a lot of people trying to take advantage of the “organic revolution” so be aware. Going local allows you to talk with the people that are growing the food that you will be eating. It’s a pleasant feeling to know where your ingredients are coming from:)

  4. Enjoyed the post. I try and get to my local market as often as I can, it feels so wholesome actually buying food from people who produce it. They care and it shows.

    The recipes are probably a step too far till I learn to cook though!

    Michael

    • Michael, it’s a completely different experience buying food from people who produce it. It makes the food that much more enjoyable. The cooking part I’m not great at either, but at least my ingredients are on point:)

  5. I agree, eating local foods is much healthier than commercialized foods. There are lots of health benefits in eating local foods, and it is completely stated in your blog. I enjoy reading your post. It was too informative. You gave not only information but also a recipe that we can try.

  6. Great article! I did not know these veggies could have so much in them. And the recipes are easy to make. Ill try one of them over the weekend. I am sure my husband will love them since he is a fan of veggies ever since.

    Warmly,
    Erma H. Morales

  7. Mmm, I can’t wait to try the creamy rigatoni with spinach recipe, my family will love that one and so healthy! We recently moved to a community with several farmers markets and I love shopping for fresh local produce. It tastes much better and cooking definitely is a healthier, more affordable choice. We also have a Whole Foods near us and I appreciate the heads up about the “organic” produce there.

  8. Nothing beats natural. Indeed, Srdjan, aside from the nutritional benefits that we can derive from eating organic farm products, it’s a good way of supporting the local farmers. Treasure your body, it is after all, the temple of God. Thanks for the share.

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