HAHRC BEATS: Healthy eating is fun at local farmers’ markets

It is farmers’ market season and the fresh foods our bodies crave are back. The local farmers’ market is the best place to find foods grown, raised and produced here in the Gorge. This includes fresh greens, berries, carrots and tomatoes, as well as wild salmon, lamb, pesto and much more. One of the easiest and best ways to improve our health is to eat more fruits and veggies. By eating more produce this summer, we can lose weight, lower blood pressure, and support healthy digestion.

Locally grown foods are more nutritious, simply because they are fresher. Spinach loses 50 to 90 percent of its vitamin C within 24 hours after it is picked. Fresh peas lose 50 percent of their nutrients after a week from harvest. In fact, most fruits and veggies lose a large amount of their nutritional value when they travel for days. The closer the food source is, the more nutrients are in the food.

When shopping local, we may spend a little bit more. But it’s so much better for us and we’ll eat better and stay healthier. That means we’ll spend less money on cold medicines or prescriptions. In fact, Gorge Grown is partnering with the Gorge Health Community this summer to launch a Produce Prescription Program. Doctors and Nutritionists will be writing “prescriptions” for fruits and veggies that can be redeemed at farmers’ markets. With the support of the hospitals, clinics and health departments, more people will have access to the fresh foods and their health benefits.

Let this summer be a time of change for our families. Let’s focus on eating and snacking on fresh foods. We will see that our health and energy improve. Cooking demos and free recipes at the farmers’ markets will help us find easy ways to prepare the farm fresh produce.

Let’s be creative and have fun trying new foods. Let’s make it a family activity to visit the markets, prepare the food at home and enjoy the healthy foods grown right here in the Gorge.

Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is our community healthy living coalition. We promote wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention, behavioral health, prevention of addictions and policy and environmental change. Join us at our next meeting May 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Providence Hood River Hospital Boardroom.

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