The four seasons form a natural guideline for eating. Ignoring these guidelines means we miss out on many of the benefits Mother Nature offers us such as nutritional value and flavour. Opting for seasonal foods helps stimulate our natural healing processes by encouraging bodily cleansing, promoting a range of health benefits.

Depending on where you live the foods available to you throughout the seasons may differ, but here are the general guidelines for eating seasonally. Remember, choose organic foods to avoid unhealthy additives, hormones and chemicals!

Spring

Keep spring green and light, enjoy leafy vegetables which exemplify the fresh new growth of the season. After a winter of heavy comforting foods, springtime should consist of foods such as spinach, lettuce, fresh basil, celery and parsley, as well as foods which will cleanse the body and prepare it for summer; i.e. citrus fruits, artichokes, leeks, broccoli and asparagus. Sprouted foods from grains to nuts and beans are also great for springtime.

Summer

Summer is all about eating light, cooling and hydrating foods. Enjoy all fresh fruits that are now available. Fruits such as local wild berries, pineapple, strawberries, peaches, mango and watermelon are all great for summer, as are vegetables such as tomato, bell peppers, cucumber and watercress. Eating more raw foods during summer will help keep your body from overheating. You'll want to steer clear of overeating heavy foods like meats and fat, and keep away from the hard to digest, dense foods such as sweets and chocolate. Also avoid stimulants such as coffee and black tea which will dehydrate your body and raise your internal temperature.

Autumn

At this time of transition your body will intuitively want to store extra nourishment in preparation for the sparse days of winter. This is the time for the comforting, autumn harvest foods such as sweet potato, carrot, onion, wild mushrooms, garlic and dark leafy greens. Immune-boosting foods rich in beta carotene such as pumpkin, squash and kale are great in preparing your body for flu and colds which are prominent in winter. Fruits such as apples, figs and plums as well as warming spices and seasonings such as cinnamon, peppercorns and ginger are also great for autumn.

Winter

Heavy, hearty warming foods are what winter is all about. A top tip is that foods which take longer to grow are often more warming than foods which grow faster as they take more time to digest. Animal protein such as chicken, fish, beef, lamb and organ meats are great for winter, as are root vegetables including parsnips, garlic, potato, onions and carrot. The good news is that winter is the perfect time to spoil yourself with a little dark chocolate, as cocoa is a warming spice. Leave the fruit alone in the wintertime.

For generations our ancestors have eaten seasonally, why should we be any different? Synchronising your diet with the seasonal cycle not only cleanses the body but helps promote good health and well-being all year round.

About the author: About Luke Rose: Luke is a personal trainer. You can follow him in many ways. He writes a blog which you can read here. You can also follow him on Twitter or on Facebook. If you prefer email, you can contact him at lukerose.personaltrainer (AT) gmail.com.

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