Research shows that gardening is good for you, so we suggest getting outside and planting a garden this year. In fact, the health benefits of gardening go beyond what you might expect. May is approaching fast, so now is the time to start thinking about putting in your garden. The sun is starting to come out, so get outside and put your hands in the soil!
Mental Health Benefits of Gardening:
Have you ever noticed that being outside lifts your mood? According to CNN, a study done in Norway found that people who spend time outside gardening had improvement in their depression symptoms. In fact, they showed signs of improved mental health for months after the gardening group ended. Turn off your TV and get outside this Spring– you may enjoy the mental health benefits of gardening for months!
A new study shows that gardening not only improves your mood but can also reduce the inflammation in your body. Now that’s a great health benefit! The National Academy of Sciences found that digging in the dirt can help introduce a bacterium called mycobacterium vaccae that has been shown to reduce inflammation and help balance the immune system. Since we know that most disease is caused by chronic inflammation, it is a relief to know that one of our favorite hobbies actually helps our bodies reduce it.
Of course, gardening is a way to stay active and can be considered a form of exercise. Instead of being inside on the couch, you’re bending, stooping, digging, watering and walking around. Exercise is important but can be difficult to work into a busy schedule. You can maintain a garden and also get your daily exercise at the same time.
Where to Start:
As the summer (highest yielding) months are quickly approaching, we suggest that you start thinking about planting your garden now. The healthiest part of gardening is getting to eat all of those amazing fruits and vegetables that you grew yourself! Start simply by planting a day-neutral strawberry (a variety that will produce year-round) either in a hanging pot or in a gardening bed. You will start seeing this kind of strawberry produce as early as May!
Strawberries are low in carbs and high in antioxidants and are an easy plant to grow. Once they start coming on, there are lots of things you can do with them. Simply cook in a sauce pan with water and stevia for a great syrup for pancakes, bake them into a cobbler or you can even put them in a slushy for a refreshing drink!
Whatever you decide to do with your produce, get out there and start gardening! Gardening is a great way to stay active this spring, and it will even help you reduce inflammation and might improve your mood. Stay tuned for more gardening tips as the season continues.