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The Health Benefits of Seasonal Eating, Italian-Style

Our Health & Wellness expert explains the benefits of eating seasonally with an emphasis on the Italian lifestyle.

Seasonal vegetables.

Seasonal vegetables.

Living in New York City, I can order any kind of food at any time of the day. This convenience and versatility is a modern-day marvel, but are there health and wellness benefits to seasonal eating? And what does that even mean? 

We stand to learn from the Italian lifestyle to understand the practice and benefits of eating with the seasons. What we eat is so important for our overall well-being and can unlock vitality, longevity, and joy.

In Italian culture, eating locally and seasonally is customary. Italian cuisine emphasizes fresh, high-quality produce that is readily available within each region during specific seasons. For example, dishes like pizza from Campania with San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and Ligurian pesto with fresh basil highlight the distinct offerings from different regions. 

Asparagus at a Farmer's Market.
Asparagus at a Farmers' Market.

Farmers' markets are a central aspect of Italian communities, offering seasonal fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, and other artisanal products. Italians often grocery shop for what they need that day or week and frequent their local market.

Meals are prepared at home, often from scratch, using these seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Recipes are often passed down generationally and meals are shared as a cherished occasion.

This idea of eating seasonally is also backed by science. Research shows that eating seasonally has many benefits for our health and our environment.

Strawberries in season.
Strawberries in season.

Seasonal produce is usually harvested at peak ripeness, so fruits or vegetables have higher nutrient content compared to out-of-season produce. Eating seasonally also supports environmental sustainability, requiring less energy for transportation and storage while also supporting local agriculture by maintaining local agricultural economies and preserving farmland. 

Seasonal eating also inspires variety for meals as different fruits and vegetables are highlighted throughout the year promoting a balanced diet and inspiring culinary creativity.

Look out for these fruits and vegetables seasonal to Spring:

  • Leafy Greens: Arugula, kale, spinach, lettuce, and Swiss chard
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spring Onions
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb

Seasonal eating, backed by science and the Italian lifestyle, shows us how to prioritize our health and well-being through fresh, flavorful ingredients.

Editor's Note: Appetito magazine is proud to announce that our Health & Wellness Expert, Marianna Cuomo Maier, will conduct a Virtual Master Class Series with Dr. Simon Poole and Chef Amy Riolo to champion a holistic approach to optimal health & well-being. More information on each event, listed by respective date, can be found below:

Master Class 2 April 13th

Master Class 3 May 4th

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