Mary Corso, RDN, CDN
National Garden Month - Exploring the benefits of gardening linked towards our health and diet
Gardening can have numerous benefits for our health and diet. Having our own garden can be good for nutrition as it allows us to grow fresh, nutritious produce in our own backyard. When we grow our own fruits and vegetables, we have greater control over what we eat and can ensure that we are consuming fresh, pesticide-free produce. In celebration of April being National Garden Month let's explore the many benefits of gardening!!
Here are some of the ways gardening can be good for us:
Increases physical activity: Gardening is a physical activity that can help us burn calories, improve our strength and flexibility, and reduce the risk of obesity and related health issues.
Increases exposure to vitamin D: Gardening is an outdoor activity that can help us get more vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D is important for bone health and can also boost our mood and immune system.
Promotes community building: Gardening can bring people together and promote a sense of community. Community gardens, for example, can provide a space for people to work together, share resources, and learn from one another.
Teaches valuable skills: Gardening can teach us valuable skills such as planning, problem-solving, and patience. It can also be a great way to educate children about where food comes from and how to care for the environment.
Finally and of special interest to us, growing our own vegetables can provide us with a variety of important nutrients that are essential for good health.
Here are some examples:
Vitamin C: Vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and tomatoes are all high in vitamin C, which is important for the immune system, wound healing, and the absorption of iron.
Vitamin A: Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach are all high in vitamin A, which is important for vision, skin health, and immune function.
Potassium: Vegetables such as potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes are all high in potassium, which is important for blood pressure regulation, muscle function, and heart health.
Fiber: Vegetables such as artichokes, beans, and broccoli are all high in fiber, which is important for digestive health, weight management, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Iron: Vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, and kale are all high in iron, which is important for red blood cell production and oxygen transport in the body.
Calcium: Vegetables such as broccoli, collard greens, and kale are all high in calcium, which is important for bone health, muscle function, and nerve signaling.
Overall, growing our own vegetables can provide us with a variety of important nutrients that are essential for good health. By consuming a diverse range of fresh, homegrown vegetables, we can ensure that we are meeting our daily nutrient requirements and supporting our overall health and wellbeing.
Additionally, gardening can encourage us to try new foods and expand our palate. We can grow a variety of fruits and vegetables that may not be available in stores or that we may not have tried before. This can help us diversify our diet and increase our intake of nutrients that we may not have otherwise consumed.
Furthermore, gardening can be a cost-effective way to obtain fresh produce. Instead of buying expensive organic produce from the grocery store, we can grow our own fruits and vegetables at home for a fraction of the cost.
Gardening can be a fun and rewarding activity that has numerous benefits for our health and wellbeing. So, if you haven't tried gardening before, National Garden Month is a great time to start!
Until next time,
Mary Corso RDN,CDN