The health benefits of eating local

‘Look For Local’ in Norton Healthcare cafeterias

Healthy eating means more than watching fat or calories. It also means knowing where your food comes from and how it was grown.

Consumers are increasingly looking for local food options. A survey from Statista found that around 82 million people purchase locally grown food, and over one-fifth of U.S. consumers claim to eat local food twice a week.

What is local food? It’s food grown (or raised) and harvested close to consumers’ homes. When it is ready for eating, it gets distributed over a much shorter distance than foods coming from the industrial food system, which can travel up to 3,000 miles to reach your plate.

“Fruits and vegetables lose important nutrients during their journey to your plate,” said Erin Wiedmar, clinical nutritionist, Norton Healthcare. “You may think you are choosing healthy when you snack on a piece of broccoli, but you could be getting about half of the vitamin C content as it had when it was picked.”

Eating local also means choosing grass-fed meat from area farms. Grass-fed means the animal is raised on pasture where it is able to graze and eat what its body was made to eat, which is better for both the animal and humans.

In addition to being more humanely raised, grass-fed beef, for example, has more nutritional benefits than ”factory farmed” beef. It is:

  • Antibiotic free
  • Hormone free
  • Higher in Omega 3s
  • Ounce for ounce, lower in calories and saturated fat
  • High in vitamin A and E
  • Rich in taste and protein

“Grain, which is fed to cows living in ‘feedlots’ rather than on pasture, has been shown to reduce the levels of certain health-benefiting nutrients in beef,” said Wiedmar.

As an added benefit, when you eat or shop local, you are putting money back into our local economy. The small family farmers you are supporting return their profits to the community as they spend it on farm-related needs and other goods.

‘Look For Local’ at Norton Healthcare

Look for local beef and produce in Norton Healthcare cafeterias! The organization has made buying local a priority with the support of Morrison Healthcare — Norton Healthcare’s food service vendor — and N Good Health — its employee wellness program.

“Look For Local” offers patrons of Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Norton Hospital, Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital and Norton Healthcare Pavilion the chance to try a variety of local produce every month as well as grass-fed beef burgers every Friday. Stop by a Norton Healthcare cafeteria today to eat local.

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