10 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening

Gardening Health Benefits

Gardening has been proven to boost health in various ways. It does not need to be on a big scale either. You could have a windowsill, deck, urban or huge rural garden. The benefits of digging in the dirt and tending for the plants are undeniable. These benefits are the Cole’s notes version from the June/July article in https://shop.maryjanesfarm.org/Magazine For tips on how to start your own urban garden, please refer to my blog: https://motivatedbynature.com/how-to-plant-an-urban-garden/

1. Gardening Builds a Healthier Brain

Daily gardening decreased dementia risk by a whopping 36% as per study by Medical Journal of Australia. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.5694/j.1326-5377.2006.tb00120.x

Gardening helps with healthy sleep patterns and stabilizes mood. This is due to boosted levels of neurotransmitters called tryptophan and serotonin as per study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph

2. Gardening Boosts Mental Health

Numerous studies have found that just having access to green space decreases depression and anxiety rates and dramatically reduces stress. A study done called the MIND study, found that walking through a green area significantly increased mental health compared to walking through a shopping mall which had the exact opposite effect. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/how-nature-benefits-mental-health/

When you add on actually digging in the dirt, studies found that your mental health improves even more. A Preventive Medicine Report found that gardening significantly reduced anxiety, anger, depression, tension and stress levels and boosted mood. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5153451/

3. Lowers Blood Pressure

It is interesting to note, that as the results of having plants in a room, productivity boosts and blood pressure decreases. This is a low cost option for managers to have a healthier and more productive work force. https://meridian.allenpress.com/jeh/article/14/2/97/79431/Interior-Plants-May-Improve-Worker-Productivity

4. Helps you Recover Faster

Just seeing a plant can have a significant impact on our recovery time after surgery. A study published in 1984 in Science found that patients who had a view of plants outside their window had better moods, needed less pain medication, had fewer post-op complications and decreased their length of time needed to stay in the hospital. As a result of this study, more health care facilities need to keep this in mind when designing their spaces. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6143402/

5. Decreases Inflammation

The practice known as “grounding” involves touching the earth with your hands, feet or entire body. It has been proven to decrease inflammation. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2009.0399

6. Reduces Toxic Burden

Much of our store-bought food has been treated with pesticides which results in us ingesting approximately 1 lb of chemicals each year. By eating organic, or growing our own food, one study found that we can reverse the toxic burden on our systems in just six days. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935119300246

7. Increases Your Nutritional Intake

Store bought food (even organic) loses its nutritional value the longer it takes to get to your table. By growing your own food, you can eat fresh from the garden. A study done found that most produce losses 30% of its nutritional content 3 days after picking it. http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/datastore/234-779.pdf

8. Produces Better Sleep

The earth has a natural frequency called Schuman’s Resonance. A study done by Life Sciences in Space Research found that this frequency helps to regulate our natural sleep patterns (circadian rhythm). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11826883/

9. Boosts Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is important in numerous aspects of our health. Gardening was proven to boost our vitamin D levels in a 2014 study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3983246/

10. Increases Longevity

A study done back in 2016, found that those who stayed indoors and avoided the sun, actually had lower life expectancy than those who got outdoors. https://www.grassrootshealth.net/sun-is-good-for-you-you-may-live-longer-study-finds/ Gardening helps to increase sunshine exposure, fresh air and activity levels. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26853954/

So what are you planting in your garden this year? We are growing potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, peas, beets, broccoli, lettuce, kale, swiss chard, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. We also have rhubarb and strawberries. I am looking forward to harvesting them straight out of the garden and bringing them to our table. May you enjoy all the sweetness that growing your own garden provides to you. Here is to your health!