7 Ways Farmers Markets Can Lead to a Healthier Life
At NYC Health + Hospitals, we are dedicated to ensuring that our patients and staff and all New Yorkers lead a healthy lifestyle, focusing on a well-balanced, nutrient-rich eating pattern.
To help, our health system operates 12 farmers markets throughout the summer and fall seasons that are conveniently located at patient care locations all through the city.
According to Lily Correa, Registered Dietitian for the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, people who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to live longer and are at a lower risk for chronic illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
For those already living with these illnesses, a healthy eating pattern can help manage their conditions and prevent any further complications.
Shopping at our Farmers Market is a great way to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, while enjoying the outdoors. One of the most powerful ways to upgrade your health is to enjoy a diversity of plant foods. So, we encourage all New Yorkers to try colorful varieties of fruits and vegetables at a market in their neighborhood.
Lilian Correa, RD, MPH, DipACLMRegistered Dietitian, Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue
Here are 7 Ways Farmers Markets Can Lead to a Healthier Life:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can decrease blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease/stroke and lower your blood sugar. BONUS: Shopping at Farmers Markets means shopping locally and in season, which ensures the best-tasting fruits and vegetables around!
- Find the Fiber: The wonder nutrient, exclusively found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, is the preferred food for your helpful gut bacteria. Since 70% of our immune system lives in our gut, feeding our helpful gut bacteria their favorite food may mean a stronger immune system for us in return.
- Variety is Key: No single fruit or vegetable provides all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. The wide variety of fruits and vegetables found at farmers markets will ensure you get a diversity of essential nutrients.Some examples include:
- Apples are rich in fiber, which can help manage your blood sugar levels and promote good digestion.
- Avocados are high in fiber as well as monounsaturated fat, a healthy fat which is linked to lower risk of heart disease.
- Blueberries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent cell damage.
- Carrots contain vitamin A. Vitamin A is vital for healthy eyesight, and getting enough of this nutrient may help prevent vision loss.
- Butternut squash is a good (and delicious) option for people with diabetes. This is because they are low on the glycemic index, so they may help regulate blood sugar.
- Kale is a great source of calcium, potassium, vitamins K and C, and various antioxidants. These are all good for maintaining bone health.
- Easy Ways to Pay at the Markets: Various payment options are available to help New Yorkers take advantage of farmers markets, and Fresh Food Box sites, including EBT/SNAP, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons, and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) coupons. Grow NYC sites also accept Healthfirst OTC cards for LIP and CC members.
- Meeting your neighbors/socializing: Making new friends as well as meeting up with old friends can help boost happiness and reduce stress. After all, fostering social connections is one of the key ways to stay healthy.
- Farmers Markets Taking COVID-19 Precautions: Each farmers market continues to take appropriate COVID-19 precautions by enforcing face coverings and social distancing, as well as facilitating contact-less shopping wherever possible
- Fresh Air: As you take in fresh air, you increase the oxygen levels in your brain, which in turn helps you feel more energized and better able to concentrate.