Spring brings birds singing, flowers blooming, and preparations for vegetable gardens. Many people may be hesitant about starting their own garden because they don’t know where to start, but you can rake in the benefits, both physically and mentally, from even the smallest garden.
There’s something about being outside, breathing the fresh air and feeling the warm sun, that puts you in a good mood. All these factors come into play when you are gardening. In fact, a recent study shows that gardening boosts mood as much as other physical activities like biking and walking. And those who grow their own vegetables show an even greater sense of joy and pride in their work.
Working in a garden has been shown to decrease your levels of cortisol, a chemical your body produces when it is stressed. Watering, weeding, and tending to your plants allows you to stay in the moment, forgetting about other outside worries. Digging in the soil can boost your immune system by exposing you to friendly microbes.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that your body needs for good health. It plays an important role in bone health and helps your immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. Tending to your garden gives you the opportunity to get the sunlight you need in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. But remember, sunscreen should be applied if you plan on being outside in the sun for more than a few minutes.
A well-balanced diet including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is key to staying healthy. It is recommended that adults should eat one and a half to two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables per day. Having your own garden and access to fresh produce can increase your chances of getting the allotted amount in your diet. Consider selecting some of the healthiest vegetables to grow in your garden. Spinach is a great source of iron, antioxidants, vitamins, and calcium (which will help you absorb your vitamin D). One thing more – include your children in gardening. Have them be part of the process and encourage them to eat the vegetables they grow.
It’s clear that gardening can have many positive impacts on your life. What are you waiting for? Start gardening today!