Health benefits of locally grown foods

Locally grown tomatoes can be surprisingly delicious.

You know eating fresh fruits and vegetables is good for you, but did you know it’s even better to eat locally grown foods?  The closer foods were grown, the fresher they are, and the fresher the better!

Botsford Hospital registered dietician Gina DeAngelis explains a few of the health benefits of eating locally grown foods:

  1. Locally grown foods may contain fewer chemicals.  Smaller, local farmers tend to use fewer chemicals than the large factory farms use.
  2. Locally grown foods have more taste since they’re fresher and keep longer in your refrigerator because they have not been sitting around as long as other produce.  And since they taste better, you and the picky eaters in your family are more likely to eat them!  Tomatoes are a great example of this – we’ve heard over and over from friends who have grown their own tomatoes that a fresh-picked tomato can not be beat by a mass produced tomato that was shipped across the country. We’ve even heard of people who think they don’t like tomatoes, try a fresh, locally grown tomato and change their attitude completely.  Just think – trying locally grown produce could change the way your family eats!
  3. Locally grown foods have more nutritional value, also because they’re fresher. Local foods have been grown within a 100 to 200 mile radius of where they are delivered.  Other grocery store produce are shipped in trucks or even planes from very long distances and sit in warehouses and grocery store shelves before hitting your plate.  These produce are older and have lost more nutrients than locally grown foods which are picked at their peak freshness, have traveled shorter distances before they’re sold to the consumer.  The less time that passes since produce is harvested, the more nutrients it will have.

“It’s also important to support local farmers so there can be more fresh produce available,” says Gina.

So next time you’re at the grocery store, look for signs indicating “Made in Michigan” or check the labels of the foods themselves for the country or state of origin.

If you’re interested in incorporating more locally grown foods into your family’s meals, come to our “Made in Michigan” cooking demonstration at Busch’s Fresh Food markets.  A Busch’s chef and Botsford dietician will demonstrate recipes, give cooking tips, and explain more about the benefits of locally grown foods as well as how to choose them.  Plus you’ll get a $10 Busch’s coupon!

The demonstration is $10 and there are two upcoming dates:

  • Farmington Hills Busch’s: Thursday, August 9 from 6 to 7:30 pm.  Call (248) 427-7400 to register.  Details… (SOLD OUT!)
  • Livonia Busch’s:  Thursday, September 13 from 6 to 7:30 pm.  Call (734) 779-6100 to register.  Details…

Gina DeAngelis is a registered dietitian with Botsford Hospital who works in several Botsford physician offices educating patients with a variety of health conditions. She also counsels children and their families one day a week at Botsford Pediatrics about healthy nutrition.

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