Healthy Garden, Healthy You | Five Gardening Benefits
Growing a home garden is an incredible adventure. The journey gives you hope for the future and connects your life to natural, living things. There are boundless reasons to till your soil and plant seeds, but some of the most important reasons involve your wellness and nutrition.
It’s no surprise that gardening comes with a bushel of health and body benefits. Every spring you have another chance to try something new, and no matter what you plant, your body will thank you for it.
Here are the top five reasons to throw on your gardening gloves and sink your fingers in the dirt.
1. Easy Access to Fresh and Nutritious Food
Most of us buy veggies at the grocery store and hope they don’t go bad in the crisper before we have the chance to use them. But with a home garden, you can pick a tomato or cucumber fresh off the vine in your own backyard. And fresh-grown vegetables often taste far better than anything you’d find in the store, so you may be inclined to eat more of them.
Seriously, we would all eat more fresh fruits and veggies if we had a supermarket produce section in our own kitchens. But as fantastical as that sounds, growing a garden in your backyard or on your porch is not far from it—at least for a season. People who garden eat more vegetables simply because they have better (and cheaper) access to them. And this produce provides crucial vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for a variety of important body functions.
2. Bask in Vitamin D
Plants need the sun’s warm rays to grow and stay healthy, and so do you. UV light helps plants produce sugars through photosynthesis. And for you, the same light produces vitamin D within your body—a crucial nutrient for healthy bones and teeth and supporting immune, cardiovascular, and brain function.
Gardening is a fantastic excuse to step out into the sun more often, so you and your seedlings can bask in the healthy rays together. Just be sure to wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from those extra sunny, hot days.
3. Exercise in the Dirt
Lifting and carrying bags of soil, bending and twisting to uproot hard-to-reach weeds, and using a shovel or hoe to loosen the ground—a lot of work goes into gardening. And yet, you might become so focused on caring for your plants, you don’t even realize you’ve broken a sweat.
It might not be the same as hitting the gym, but a simple, consistent gardening routine will help your strength, stamina, and flexibility over time.
4. Garden Work Helps Your Brain Work
Staying busy and active in a backyard or porch garden keeps your brain active, too. Recent studies have even revealed gardening can lower the risk or symptoms of some neurological illnesses. When you garden, you have to pay close attention and remember patterns and changes to your plants. Simply planting seeds requires you to make good use of hand-eye coordination as well as depth and space perception.
Working in a garden also helps you focus on the present. Feel a gentle breeze, hear buzzing insects, smell wet soil, and touch nature’s many different textures—it’s a full spectrum of sensory experiences.
5. A Sunny Outlook
Planting seedlings, watering them, and eating the harvest—all of this provides a variety of health benefits for your body. But it can also help you maintain a healthy state of mind. Many studies show that people who garden have increased feelings of relaxation, accomplishment, and self-worth. When you care for a garden, you care for yourself.
For this very reason, our partner—The USANA Foundation—has launched an ambitious initiative to plant Garden Towers around the world. For families in need, these donated garden systems allow easy access to nutritious food and a path to independence, self-care, and overall wellness.
Whether it benefits the body or the brain, tending to a home garden is well worth the effort. Check out our beginner’s guide to start gardening today.