In the 1970s, there were fewer than 100 farmers markets across the country. Today, there are thousands of them. Local farmers gather to sell produce and other healthy goods to their communities. It may seem more convenient to head to a grocery store to buy healthy foods. But consider shopping locally. Produce and other high-quality foods at a local market benefit your heart and your general overall health. Plus, it helps your local economy.
Heading into a local farmers market may feel overwhelming at first. There are scores of vendors standing at tables filled with fresh produce. Some of the produce may look unfamiliar. Feel confident asking questions. Farmers love to discuss how to prepare unusual items. Before you go, check out this quick guide on specific healthy foods you can find at your farmers market.
For your heart
One of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy heart is to eat well. Head to your farmers market and add top-quality food into your diet. Here are four heart-healthy items you might spot at a farmers market:
- Berries: Look for raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Berries pack a punch with antioxidant compounds that protect your body’s cells.
- Kale: This leafy green vegetable has loads of vitamin C. Kale has heart-healthy omega-3 to fight off heart inflammation.
- Tomatoes: Juicy, ripe tomatoes contain lots of lycopene and alpha- and beta-carotene. Both are powerful antioxidants that protect your arteries. They’re also high in potassium to help lower your blood pressure.
- Walnuts: A little goes a long way with walnuts. They’re packed with omega-3 and vitamin E, both of which may help keep your arteries from getting clogged.
For your brain
The food in a farmers market is great for a healthy brain. But just the act of visiting a market is good for your brain. You’ll feel more connected to a healthy community. You’ll be able to meet new people and socialize. Walking through also stimulates your senses. The vibrant colors, fragrant fruits and vegetables and the fresh air surrounding you can boost your mood.
For more brain benefits, look for foods that contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are natural plant chemicals. They may help prevent many brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Fruits that are rich in polyphenols include the following:
- Red grapes
For your skin
The antioxidants found in berries can reduce inflammation. Avoiding inflammation may slow down the aging process in your skin. Other tasty items for skin health that you might find within the farmers market include:
- Spinach: Dark, leafy vegetables, including spinach and collard greens, contain an antioxidant called lutein. It can fight wrinkles.
- Avocados: Your skin will thank you for all the healthy fats, vitamins, fiber and other goodies inside an avocado.
- Bell peppers: Go for the red or yellow peppers. They’re a top source of vitamin C, which can keep your skin strong and supple. Peppers contain beta-carotene, too, which is great for anti-aging.
If you want to learn more about creating a healthier lifestyle, visit Mercy.com to make an appointment with a primary care physician near you.