30 years ago we ate almost entirely locally grown food. But, over time, our diet has changed and we no longer eat the variety of locally grown foods we used to. At the same time, our rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity have increased massively. When it comes to healthy food choices, maybe we need to pay more attention to where our food is coming from?
Why Eating Local Food Is A Healthier Food Choice
1. Local foods are simpler foods
Processed foods generally require large amounts and variety of imported ingredients combined in one product. The only way to be sure of where your food is coming from is to ditch the processed foods and opt for single-ingredient, natural whole foods with clearly disclosed origins. Moving from processed foods to natural whole foods is automatically a healthier foods choice for your family.
2. Local foods are more likely to be safer
The more steps, handling, and transport in the food system the more risks there are for contamination or damage. If there are more risks, more chemical additives are required to maintain the quality. Eating local whole foods results in fewer steps, less handling, less risk, fewer additives.
3. Local whole food is more nutritious
With a shorter period from farm to table and less distance to travel, the more local the food is the more the nutrient value is retained.
4. Local food has more flavour
When comparing the same fresh foods grown in similar conditions, foods that have to travel over long periods have to be picked in advance and left to ripen in transit or storage. The more local your food, the shorter the period from farm to table. With less time in transit and storage, fresh foods can be left to ripen in the field, delivered more full of flavour and nutrition.
5. Eating local means eating with the seasons
When you are conscious of the benefits of eating local, you learn to eat more with the seasons. Eating seasonally means you are always eating the freshest, most nutritious food.
6. Local food has less chance of food fraud
In order to detect food fraud, you have to understand how a product is grown and produced. With just a few phone calls, or a trip to a local farm, you can find out everything you need to know about locally grown food. Even if you aren't able to investigate yourself, you would certainly be able to find someone who has. Anyone who sells natural whole foods should be able to tell you about the food production process. When you eat imported foods all this information isn't as accessible or widely known. With imported foods, we are at the mercy of the trader to pick up things that shouldn't be there.
The downside of this is that food fraud in the local food production process get exposed quicker than imported foods. Knowledge is power. We should be more worried about the foods that aren't in the local news than the foods that are.
7. Local food benefits the environment
Local food means less transport, less processing, less packaging, fewer additives, less waste, fewer resources. You are also more likely to get local food with less or even without packaging. Protecting the environment requires minimising our waste and resources. It's a myth to think recycling is a solution to environmental conservation. Eating local is an overall better choice for the environment.
Eating Local Food Could Be The Ultimate Healthy Food Choice
Being sure of where our food is grown means ditching the processed foods and opting for single ingredient whole foods with clearly marked origins. Switching from processed foods to whole foods automatically makes our diet healthier. By opting for local foods now we secure our food economy and take more control over our food costs in the future. Read more about why ensuring a positive impact on the economy is also part of healthy living and why our diet is hurting our economy.
With an agriculture sector that produces all major grains except rice, all major veg oils except palm oil, all our fruits and vegetables as well as a huge range of nuts, wines and other products it is not only possible to eat entirely locally grown food, but it is becoming necessary - for our own health and the sake of our economy. It's time we paid more attention to where our food is grown.