We know the economic benefits of eating local by supporting local farmers and resulting in a more sustainable economy. We also understand the environmental benefits of eating local and reducing the carbon footprint of the foods we consume.
What about the health benefits of eating local?
When Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” I am sure he did not intend for the additional processing of this food–genetic, chemical, or otherwise to preserve and ship it elsewhere. I am sure he meant foods that were local and organic — in other words, natural.
When we eat local foods we support good eating. Foods that have ripened before being picked have a higher flavor, nutritional and digestive value. Most store-bought foods are picked for shipping and not for flavor or eating. This means local foods can break down more easily and release their nutrients readily. Local foods have no need for chemical preservatives thus removing further, unnecessary additives or processing from the foods we eat.
The other health benefit of eating local is that we eat seasonal foods. Seasonal foods are the ideal supply of the nutrients we need most to fend best in that particular season. The benefits can be similar to those of eating local honey versus honey from imported sources.
The other source of good health is the relationship we develop with our favorite grower enhancing our connection and relatedness to our community.
So, go ahead and feel better about eating local because it’s good for you.