Updated: Aug 20, 2020
Raise your hand if you have gardened, seen a garden, heard of a garden, or want to start your own garden!
This year I decided to pick up a hobby. GARDENING! I grew up helping my parents in our family garden, but helping and then starting your own from seeds is a little bit different. I will say it is totally worth the time and effort!
There are so many underrated benefits to growing your own food!
Even though there are so many benefits to growing your own, I think I only need to mention five of them to convince you 😉.
Just putting your bare-feet on the grass, dirt, sand, rocks or any other non-manmade surfaces helps improve a variety of health factors. I don't know about you, but improved sleep would be enough to convince me to take my shoes off. But I'll just give you a few others to let you pick your motivator. Grounding helps put your nervous system into the parasympathetic state (rest & digest), which helps us decrease stress, and I think we can all agree we could use a little less of that in our lives. This has also been shown to reduce pain, regulate daily cortisol levels and one that I find very interesting is that it expedites wound healing (1). So, to sum up...TAKE OFF THOSE SHOES!
2. Sun Exposure
If you do your gardening in the daylight like I do, you can gain some benefits of increased vitamin D, which has been shown to be protective in viral situations by increasing your immune system (2). There was another 20 year study (which in research does not happen so this is especially convincing) that consistent sun exposure leads to a significantly decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and all other causes of death, when compared to those who avoid the sun (3). And although there are many others, we can wrap up that higher vitamin D levels reduce someones risk of 15-20 endothelia cancers (4). So, let the SUN see your skin!☀️
3. Microbiome Diversification
This is a beast of a topic but just know that being outside and breathing the air and digging in the dirt, can do so much for your life. Expert in the microbiome, Dr. Zach Bush has been quoted saying, “I really have a profoundly strong conviction that the more you can breathe in new environments, the longer you’re going to live.” Zach B (5). By now you should be seeing a pattern that "Outside = Good!", breathe that air!
4. Mental Health
Now lets talk about the benefits gardening has on mental health, since we could all use a little improvement on. Participants who took up gardening reported positive effects in the areas of emotional, social, physical and spiritual well being (6). They also had decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety (6). Therefore, gardening can be such a great way to unplug and appreciate Creation, while gaining a variety of mental health benefits.
5. Organic Fruits & Veggies
Finally, the "Fruits of your labor", the real obvious benefits of gardening. THE PRODUCE!! Did you know that an organic diet is associated with significantly reduced urinary levels of glyphosate and AMPA. If you don't eat organic, you most likely have the cancer causing toxin glyphosate in your body.
Don't freak out, there is hope! With just three days of ditching the crappy food and eating all organic, the reduction in glyphosate and AMPA levels were rapid, dropping to baseline within three days. This brand new article just adds to the growing pile of research trying to scream at us that it is so important to EAT ORGANIC, and do everything we can to keep those carcinogens out of our body. YOUR BODY YOUR CHOICE! MAKE THAT CHOICE...MAKE IT FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN (7).
---If you're thinking, that sounds good but gardening is totally not for me, then buy organic produce at a local farmer's market and take it outside, sit on the grass and eat it!
Bonus: A sense of accomplishment!
There you have it folks, some crazy health benefits to be harvested through incorporating gardening into your life!
Grounding: Chevalier, G., Mori, K., & Oschman, J. L. (2006). The effect of earthing (grounding) on human physiology. European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics, 2(1), 600-621.
Urashima, M., Segawa, T., Okazaki, M., Kurihara, M., Wada, Y., & Ida, H. (2010). Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 91(5), 1255-1260.
Lindqvist, P. G., Epstein, E., Nielsen, K., Landin‐Olsson, M., Ingvar, C., & Olsson, H. (2016). Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort. Journal of internal medicine, 280(4), 375-387.
Moukayed, M., & Grant, W. B. (2013). Molecular link between vitamin D and cancer prevention. Nutrients, 5(10), 3993-4021.
Asprey, D., & Bush, Z. (n.d.) Eat Dirt: The Secret To a Healthy Microbiome-Zach Bush- #458 retrieved from https://blog.daveasprey.com/eat-dirt-the-secret-to-a-healthy-microbiome-zach-bush-458/
Clatworthy, J., Hinds, J., & Camic, P. M. (2013). Gardening as a mental health intervention: A review. Mental Health Review Journal.
Fagan, J., Bohlen, L., Patton, S., & Klein, K. (2020). Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary glyphosate levels in US children and adults. Environmental Research, 109898.