As supermarket prices hit an all-time high this month, shoppers are keen to find the cheapest foods on the shelves.
And, while the price of fresh produce has no doubt increased this year, nutritional expert Stephanie Yates from Bulk.com reveals a handy tip for making the most of your money this month.
She advises buying foods that are in season, as eating seasonal produce not only tastes better, it’s also lower in price than other fresh goods that aren’t easily sourced at this time of year.
The expert said: “Understanding seasonality can be useful when planning meals ahead or budgeting for weekly shops. However, it can be difficult to know exactly what is in season and for how long.
A simple way to keep up with what’s in season is by keeping an eye on the prices of produce in supermarkets. When the prices drop, that’s usually a sign that the food is coming into season, whereas high prices are a good indicator that the food is out of season.”
What foods are in season during Autumn and what health benefits do they have?
As we move into Autumn, if you’re looking for fruits, opt for blackberries, pears, and pomegranates, as not only will they be at their cheapest, they’ll also be much brighter and taste better as they haven’t travelled a long distance before reaching your plate.
When it comes to vegetables, look out for price drops in mushrooms, peppers, rocket, and squash which are all in season during Autumn.
`Not only will you get more for your money, but you’ll also get more nutrients from these foods as eating fresh ripe produce optimises the concentration of nutrients.
- Blackberries – A great source of vitamin C, maganese, and vitamin K, blackberries are also packed with antioxidants that can help to fight the effects of the common cold. Not only that, but they contain fibre, which helps with digestion, reduces cholesterol, and makes you feel fuller for longer.
- Cabbage – Many studies suggest that increasing consumption of foods like cabbage decreases the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and overall mortality. It can also help promote a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight. Eating cabbage is also linked to lowering high blood pressure, as it contains potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that helps your body control blood pressure.
- Mushrooms – As we fall into Autumn, many of us will benefit from a boost of vitamin D, and that’s where mushrooms can help, as they are the only type of produce which contains this vitamin. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium to maintain and build strong bones.
- Pears – Pears are not only delicious and low in calories, but they also offer a wide number of health benefits. They are a rich source of key minerals, including copper and potassium. Copper plays a role in immunity, metabolism, and nerve function, whereas potassium aids muscle contractions and heart function.
- Peppers – Whether you prefer red, yellow, or green, eating peppers could have a surprising impact on your health. Bell peppers are rich in antioxidants and vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene which help to protect against conditions like heart disease.
- Plums – Sweet and juicy, did you know plums are also stuffed with fibre, helping slow down a blood sugar spike after consuming carbohydrates. They can also help to regulate your blood sygar levels, as they boost your body’s production of the hormone adiponectin. Even dried plums may have benefits, as research on animals shows prunes may help reduce and even reverse bone loss.
- Pumpkin – Like carrots, pumpkin is high in beta carotene, not to mention vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and folate, which strengthen your immune system. Adding pumpkin to your diet can help your immune cells work better to fight germs, and even speed healing when you get a wound.
- Rocket – Surprisingly, rocket not only adds a lovely peppery flavour to your salad, but it also contains calcium, which is vital for for bone and tooth health, muscle function, and nerve function. It’s also full of folate, a vitamin which Folate, a B vitamin which supports the production of DNA and other genetic material. Folate is particularly important for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
- Squash – A food staple during autumn, squash can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether you blend it into a soup or have it roasted on your Sunday lunch, you’re body will reap the benefits from this wonder vegetable. Research suggests that phytonutrients, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, found in butternut squash may help to protect eye health. Alongside this, beta-carotene also plays a role in eye health and healthy cell renewal, which you’ll find inside a variety of squash.
- Pomegranate – Pomegranates contain ellagitannins, which are compounds that help to reduce inflammation in the body. Thanks to this, they also help with our brain health, protecting against conditions that cause oxidative stress.These ellagitannins are believed to help the gut produce a compound known as urolithin A, which has been studied for its capabilities to reduce delay the onset of cognitive diseases
What are the benefits of eating seasonally?
Eating fresh, ripe produce optimises the concentration of certain nutrients as many nutrients in fresh produce decline over time.
Seasonal food will also appear much brighter and vibrant in colour, often more plump than non-seasonal produce which can often look a little lacklustre. The variety of eating seasonal produce also provides multiple health benefits due to consuming a wider variety of different nutrients.
Seasonal food is fresher and naturally at its best so tends to have much more flavour. Fresh, seasonal produce which hasn’t travelled as far tastes better because the produce hasn’t been selectively bred for a longer shelf-life and transportability. When produce is grown and picked in season it tastes much fresher, riper, sweeter, and more delicious.
Eating seasonally also reduces the energy and associated CO2 emissions required to grow and transport out-of-season produce.
When you buy seasonal produce, you help to reduce the demand for out-of-season produce, which requires shipping/importing from other countries. This means less transportation, fewer fuels, refrigeration, and less irradiation of produce.
SUPPORTS LOCAL ECONOMY
Buying seasonal produce from a local greengrocer, market, farm shop or veg box scheme is a great way to support local businesses and farming.