Adding local produce to your diet has many benefits

By Ruth Kraper, Western Baptist chief clinical dietitian

Where can we find the fruits and vegetables that should make up half our plate, as discussed in our previous blog about MyPlate?

We have several options no matter where we live, and we can get fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness, nutrition and taste! Picture a locally-grown tomato, squash, pepper or corn, just freshly picked and full of flavor, from a garden in your back yard, your neighbor’s garden or the farm down the road from where you live.

We also have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of fruits, beginning with strawberries in May, and followed by blueberries, peaches, nectarines and a variety of apples. Think of all the colors we have mentioned because eating a variety of colors helps ensure you get the nutrients you need for the best health benefits.

Farmer’s markets, produce stands and orchards provide us with the opportunity to “eat local,” and offer a variety of advantages for the consumer, for the environment and for our economy. Locally-grown fruits and vegetables can be picked close to the peak of maturity to ensure the freshness, nutrition and taste we all desire.

In addition, buying local is good for the environment by decreasing the need for fuel to transport, as well as reducing the emissions which contribute to global warming. Fresh produce grown for mass distribution may travel 1,500 miles before it reaches a store near you, with a travel time of a few days to a week. When you support your local vendors, this helps your community stay economically-sound and the money is more likely to stay in your local area.

For a couple of years, Western Baptist has enjoyed the benefit and convenience of our very own mini-farmer’s market. Local food vendors set up in our hospital cafeteria twice a month during the growing season, providing employees and visitors with the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other locally-produced goods.

We are in the midst of the growing season in our area, so now is the time to follow the natural cycle of fruits and vegetables and enjoy the wonderful taste of these seasonal treats.

Send us your health and nutrition questions, and our team of dietitians will answer them in an upcoming blog. Check here next week for more tips and answers to your questions.

About Baptist Health Paducah

Baptist Health Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,800 employees and 200 physicians, it offers a full range of services, including cardiac and cancer care, diagnostic imaging, women’s and children’s services, surgery, emergency treatment, rehabilitation and more. Since its humble beginning in 1953, Baptist Health Paducah has grown from 117 beds to 349 beds on a campus covering eight square blocks.
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One Response to Adding local produce to your diet has many benefits

  1. Pingback: Will you gain dreaded holiday weight? | Western Baptist Hospital

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