The debate regarding the better option to choose between local produce and imported one is based solely on their health benefits. The health benefits are mainly governed by many factors like soil type, climatic conditions, and the cultivation techniques used at a certain place. While imported foods often seem appealing, the local produce offers lots of health benefits and increased support for local markets. Let us dive deeper into the comparison of health benefits of some of the food products.
- Local Fruits: Indian fruits like banana, apple, peach, pear, plum, ber, amla, jamun, karonda, etc are rich sources of both soluble as well as insoluble fiber. The amount of many vitamins and minerals is also very high in local produce, e.g. one amla has six times more vitamin C as compared to the same quantity of kiwi. Moreover, amla’s vitamin C is safe for those suffering from acidity, heartburn, etc.
- Imported Fruits: Imported fruits may have a longer shelf life as per the time taken in their transportation. But local produce is as per season and nutrients needed by our body during that season. Our body always absorbs completely the seasonal and local produce.
- Local Grains: Locally produced grains like bajra is mainly grown in Rajasthan, jowar is grown mainly in Maharashtra, ragi/nachni is grown mainly in Karnataka, etc. are always affordable by the residents of that area and hence are consumed widely by them. This leads to adequate intake of the essential nutrients in bulk and regularly.
- Imported Grains: imported grains like quinoa, oats, etc have to be transported via long distances and hence are much costlier to be afforded by everyone and every day., despite being rich in certain nutrients, these don’t fulfill the daily recommended intake of many essential nutrients of the people.
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- Local Vegetable Produce: Locally grown vegetables are loaded with nutrients because they have been grown at the peak of the season and are in easy reach. This makes them cheap and hence affordable for everyone. Local vegetables have a low carbon footprint, which makes them sustainable for the environment.
- Imported Vegetable Produce: Many imported vegetables are sold at supermarkets like broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, red cabbage, etc. These can provide you with many essential nutrients and a unique taste but the cost of their transportation makes them costlier due to which, many people avoid buying them. Hence their availability is limited to very few people of a particular strata of the society. Also, imported veggies have a high carbon footprint as compared to the same veggies grown locally.
The choice of any food item is governed mainly based upon the health benefits that it delivers and its ease of availability, then whether it is local or imported. You can eat imported as well, if it is easily available in your area, is safe in terms of fertilizers and pesticides used, and if its nutritional value is intact.
Local produce, whether it is regional or exotic, is often the first choice because it is cheap, easily available, available at the peak of the season, and is generally low on insecticides and pesticides.