Did you know that starting a garden could help you look and feel better? It’s true!
Individuals who garden tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and thus, consume more beautifying nutrients than those that do not. Just imagine how easy it would be to simply walk outside and get fresh spinach and kale or newly harvested Brussels sprouts, beets or corn.
The ease of having a bounty of produce right out your back door goes well beyond simply being a matter of convenience and affordability. There is a world of heath and beauty benefits that will await you as well. Here are four reasons why you should consider starting a garden—however large or small—this summer.
1. Gardening promotes beautiful muscles and bones.
A 2008 study found that gardening helped senior citizens keep up with their daily recommended amount of physical activity. Gardening influenced enhanced muscle tone and bone density mass thanks to the high amount of weight-bearing exercises involved, such as digging holes, mowing, carrying soil and pulling weeds. It makes sense—gardening involves constant motion of all muscle groups, making it a great way to get beautifully toned arms and legs.
2. It may keep ugly cortisol levels down.
Stress—we all have it—but chronic stress can affect our health and beauty in a big way by increasing the hormone cortisol. Constantly elevated cortisol levels may decrease our immune system and increase our blood sugar. It puts us at risk for a whole host of health conditions from heart disease to obesity.
One way to counter chronic stress? Gardening. A 2010 study found a correlation between gardening and lower cortisol levels in gardeners in Amsterdam. Other studies have found that gardening boosts mood and helps with overall stress management.
3. Gardening ensures the highest nutrient content for your fruits and vegetables.
Michael Pollan, author of "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," once said that there were no seasons in the typical grocery store. You could get any fruit or vegetable, any time of the year. How could this be, you ask? Well, it can be done in several ways. For example: Farmers can ship fruits and vegetables to any place on the globe due to high demand. If you’re interested in grapes in the middle of the winter and you live on, say, the east coast, you can easily buy them at your grocery store.
What you may not consider, however, is that the grapes you buy traveled all the way from Chili, where they were most likely picked off the vine days ago and then had to endure the long journey to your local store. The cost to you is a grape that has lost more and more nutrients with each day off the vine. When all is said and done, your grape from Chili may not even resemble the grape that you could pick off your own vine in your yard and eat that day.
4. Gardening will help you soak up some vitamin D.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that aids in the absorption of calcium and has been linked to increased immunity. Many Americans are lacking the vitamin D they need and although you can get some vitamin D in certain foods, it’s not as easily absorbed as the D we get from the sun. While you never want to spend all day in the sun without sunscreen, spending a few hours to garden may help boost those vitamin D levels naturally.
If you’re a novice at gardening, it’s easy to be intimidated at the thought of starting one. Luckily, many books and websites are devoted to helping gardeners with starting their plots. Perhaps you start small by planting some herbs in pots on your windowsill or deck. Oregano and basil are chock-full of antioxidants and can be added to a variety of foods. Venturing out into a plot can also be easily done by doing a little bit of homework. Try some online sites, such as Get Into Gardening, or buy a book dedicated to gardening in your area of the country. You can even see what fruits and vegetables are in season by checking online, such as through Sustainable Table, and start planning your dream garden.
Your garden awaits you—so what are you waiting for?
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