The Benefits of Seasonal Produce
In today’s supermarket, it’s normal to see the same produce available year-round. However, that doesn’t mean the quality always remains the same. Eating seasonally means you are simply taking advantage of the harvest schedule and enjoying fully mature produce at the peak of its growing season. Seasonal eating can also help encourage you to eat more fruits and vegetables daily.
Most adults don’t get the daily nutrition they need, but fortunately, one of the best parts of summer is the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. This month, consider buying the following in-season products:
- Berries (e.g., blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
While at the grocery store or farmers market this summer, shop for seasonal produce and reap the following benefits:
- Fresher food—Seasonal produce likely is recently picked and hasn’t been sitting on a truck or in a warehouse. It also retains its nutritional value since some antioxidants, such as vitamin C and folate, rapidly decline when stored.
- Better taste—In-season produce tastes fresher, sweeter and perfectly ripe. If it’s tasty, you’ll likely eat more. That’s a healthy win-win.
- Lower costs—When produce is in season, farmers harvest more crops. The increased supply may mean lower prices for you.
- Reduced carbon footprint—Out-of-season produce is typically imported or takes more energy to grow due to the need for greenhouses.
The next time you’re grocery shopping, consider choosing seasonally fresh options to give your body a nutritional boost and impress your palate.
Spending time outside is a great way to be active and reduce stress. However, the sun’s rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes, so it’s essential to protect your body from sun damage and skin cancer. Here are a few tips to protect yourself while enjoying the summer weather:
- Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the rays that cause sunburn are the strongest.
- Wear clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Keep in mind that darker colors may also offer more ultraviolet (UV) protection than lighter colors.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat that shields your face, neck and ears.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Use sunscreen with at least a sun protection factor (SPF) value of 30. Reapply at least every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
Routinely inspect your skin for any spots or changes in color or appearance. If you have any concerns, see your doctor.
U.S. Drug Overdoses Hit Record High in 2021
An estimated 107,622 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. That’s a 15% increase from the previous year. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, was involved in the most deaths. While overdose deaths have been on the rise for years, they surged during the pandemic, especially in its first year. Even as the pandemic slows, it won’t be a quick switch back to normalcy, as these conditions need to be addressed and treated.
Treatment, or the lack thereof, is a crucial reason overdose numbers continue to rise. Drug abuse treatment access and utilization were lacking even before the pandemic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 20 million people age 12 and older reported having a substance abuse disorder in 2019—but only 10% were receiving care.
It’s critical to check in with yourself and others living with mental health conditions and facing substance abuse. If you have concerns, reach out to a doctor or use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline by calling 800-662-HELP (4357).
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