There are many reasons the local food movement is a popular one, including reducing the fuel used to ship edibles. But not everyone lives near an orange grove, so it’s logical to wonder if you can support local farmers and your own nutritional needs. Fortunately, there are ways to be a “locavore” and still eat foods rich in Vitamin C and other crucial nutrients.
Beyond Kale: Leafy Greens in Warm Climates
It’s little wonder that the National Institute of Health’s top “Powerhouse Foods” are almost exclusively dark, leafy greens. These vegetables are rich in the nutrients most associated with protection from heart disease and cancer — including folate, fiber, and Vitamin K — along with calcium and iron.
But if you live in a warm-weather area, it’s important to remember that cool-region staples spinach and kale aren’t the only game in town. Collard, mustard, turnip and beet greens, are also among the NIH’s “powerhouse” foods. And if you want to get really local, you can literally turn to your own backyard: Dandelion greens also make NIH’s “powerhouse” list.
Northern Citrus Alternatives
Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant, boosting immunity for everything from seasonal colds to chronic illness. But too many of us think that tropical citrus fruits are the only Vitamin C options.
In fact, you’ll find several C-rich options in your local farmer’s market, even if you live out of the temperate zone. Red bell peppers offer even more Vitamin C per serving than an orange, for example. Other non-tropical foods offering at least one-quarter of your daily Vitamin C requirement? Broccoli, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, cantaloupe, cabbage, cauliflower, white potatoes, and tomatoes. Even the rose hips on your backyard bush are rich in “C.”
You Don’t Have to Go “Loco” in Your Antioxidant Quest!
No matter what nutrients you’re seeking, there’s almost sure to be a food source for tenacious locavores. If you don’t live near a coastal source for fatty fish, for example, you can still pick up your Omega-3s from a local walnut grower, or from yet another backyard “weed,” purslane.
Checking out a national database helps you source local meat, dairy and produce by nutrient. And, of course, don’t forget to ask your friendly local food vendors!
Header photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash