Eating seasonally makes perfect sense and goes along with other paleo doctrine but I naturally question all things. I've been tentatively eating seasonally too, but not taking it too seriously.
CW says that the human diet in temperate seasonal areas has been vastly improved by year-round availability of fresh fruits and veggies. Maybe they're on to something this time. It's always been this way in tropical regions...
This crossed my mind when I thought "should I water my plants... nah, it's been cold the past couple days." Plants do best when we give them more water when it's hot and less water when it's cold: precisely the opposite of what they'd receive in nature. It's a gross oversimplification and we are definitely not plants, but why shouldn't people eat more fruit when it's cold out and less when it's hot? Or just eat it all year regardless...
As usual, I'll point out here that I'm not concerned with weight loss, only optimal health.
I can think of one non-physiological justification for eating seasonally. It only applies if you're eating locally though. Local fresh fruits and veggies are only available in-season...
Personally, I'll buy the amazing Mexican asparagus over the thin-stocked local stuff I've seen this year. I'll happily buy mangoes from the Philippines over those grown near by... And all these come all year around.
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In a word, fructose. Fructose signals our bodies to pack on stores for the winter. Fructose is available in large amounts only at the end of summer, when ripe fruits are abundant. So we pack on the fat to be able to survive the lean times.
You might find this interesting:
"In my view, Mother Nature always is right, no matter what the modern research says. Most of the research never took this pathway into consideration. The textbooks were written in the 1950′s and the cold adapted pathways of mammals are still not studied even today. Since modern scientists do not know mammals have two major biochemical pathways in which they seasonally operate their data is at best incomplete. Moreover, the research is useless when it is based upon a flawed assumption. (see the cholesterol data as a great example)
What is the major flaw in the modern literature? No one realizes mammals have two metabolic pathways that they live within normally on our planet by evolutionary design. In fact, this is how all mammals evolved 67 million years ago. One pathway dominates spring and summer, and the other dominates fall and winter. It is the mammalian version of Yin and Yang. Moreover, both function in unison on a continuum to make biochemistry work for us over a wide variation of environments we are adapted to. The metabolic pathways governing cold are the bastard child of the modern world, and it has lead to major health care issues for modern man.
If you fight Mother Nature’s rules for mammals, by eating outside normal circadian biology she will bite you in the “ass” every time. There is always a biologic toll to pay for this behavior. You need to be very aware of this biologic fact at all times. My point is clear. Modern man is not aware of this, and in fact, his thoughts, feelings, and beliefs have kept these facts, in his blind spot since the agricultural revolution. I think the American Indians were the last group of modern hominids who really understood these natural laws best. Let us look to the Arctic now for a prime example of how carbs can destroy a cold adapted group by creating a mismatch.
There is no safe starches in winter period because Mother Nature said so."
That article needs some serious spellcheck / proofing, but there are some interesting tidbits. It might matter more on the environment you're in rather than the season and the macros more than the food items.
Eating seasonally is about maximal vitamin and phytochemical content. The later the ingestion, the worse the content. Your garden (picked 10 minutes ago) is already significantly better than the farmer market (picked yesterday). As the vitamin C in a fruit goes down, so goes your mineral absorption.
There are exceptions. A good avocado here in the North is probably as good as an avocado in California, because both have to wait a week from harvest. Same for pears. Then there are vegetables such as squash, apples and sweet potatoes that improve about one month after harvest.
Then there is, if you are of northern ancestry, a seasonal cycle which is baked in your genes. In spring I prefer greens, in Fall I eat a lot of high sugar vegetables and fruits.
Eating seasonally is about supporting your local community - value call.
Helping to get variety in your diet - not needed if you're conciencious.
Getting the former two while saving money - food in-season is cheaper.
All comes down to your values, your wallet and you're ability to formulate a careful diet.
There are lots of articles like the following
But I find slim to none nih-type meta studies on seasonal eating benefits.
So trying to extract the benefits from the above I see two clear ones: freshness and sense of well-being. Personally, I can see the benefits of catching in-season fresh seafood for the activity and sense of accomplishment that result. Even if I don't catch my own, I still control the freshness, cooking and/or preservation. The same goes for picking apples, plums, berries and nuts, something I've enjoyed doing since I was a kid.
None of this makes sense unless you live in close proximity of the food though. When the Saskatoon berry pick ends in Winnipeg you're stuck with bananas. You do what you can locally, as long as you can.