Fruit is an essential food in a healthier and balanced diet. It is rich in vitamins, fiber and minerals and there are several benefits associated with its consumption, such as strengthening the immune system, increasing the feeling of satiety, reducing cardiovascular diseases, stomach and colorectal cancer, obesity, diabetes.
Nowadays we find any fruit at any time of the year available in the supermarket and for many of us it is not easy to understand which fruit is in season or what the benefits are for our health, our wallet and the environment of this choice. .
Did you know that the nutrients in a piece of fruit can vary depending on the time of year we consume it, how long ago it was harvested and whether it was picked green or not?
Fruits begin to lose their nutrients from the moment they are picked. Additionally, to last on the shelf for several months, the fruits have to be harvested greener and end up ripening during the transport process and not in the sun, a practice that in itself also reduces their micronutrient content.
Nutrients that we need most in the right season
Seasonal fruit provides us with the vitamins and nutrients we need in that season. For example, in summer we have melon and watermelon, fruits with a higher water content to help with hydration. In winter we have, for example, kiwi and orange, rich in vitamin C, essential for our immune system to survive the period of respiratory infections.
Ripening the fruit in the sun under natural conditions not only gives it more nutrients, but also more flavor
Most economical and sustainable option
Fruit consumed in season requires less chemicals and costs less energy when refrigerating. When we buy a product when it is in season, we are supporting national and local farmers and reducing the cost associated with transport and imports.
Harvesting the fruit when it is still green and refrigerating it for several months to enable it to be sold fresh, thus leads to losses in its nutritional properties. However, there are some food preservation methods, such as dehydration and freeze-drying, that do not interfere with their properties (vitamins, fiber) and allow us to enjoy any fruit, such as blueberries and apples, throughout the year.
Associação Portuguesa de Nutrição. Colher saber. E-book nº 45. Porto: Associação Portuguesa de Nutrição; 2017.