Gardening is good for one’s lifeBy Vieta Bland, M.D. / March 9, 2023
It is starting to warm up and spring is in the air. Many people have waited all year for this to happen. They are excited. It is time for them to start to garden. It’s a passion for many in different forms.
Some people are excited about their lawns and the beauty they intend to share with those around them as they share their different plants flowering throughout the growing season. The rivalry that ensues for some is wonderful to view.
Some people see their gardening as a way to reap the wonderful bounty of fruits and vegetables they grow and proudly share with friends and family. These gardeners look forward to growing food with which they are familiar. They know where their food comes from and how it grows. They know if pesticides were used on the produce. They have the advantage of getting to enjoy their crop when its vitamins and minerals are at peak perfection.
When I ask people about their exercise. The exercise of choice for many is gardening. Researchers from the University of South Carolina’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program and the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder have studied the health benefits gardening brings to people.
These researchers looked at people who are gardeners versus people who are non-gardeners. For the non-gardeners, researchers gave them an introductory course in gardening along with seeds and seedlings. If needed, the researchers also provided a community garden for those research participants who needed a small plot to grow a garden. The study participants’ nutritional intake and mental health were monitored for one year.
The study helped verify the fact that people who garden tend to have a healthier weight and exercise more. Gardeners also tended to eat more fibrous fruits and vegetables. These good health habits help reduce their risk for cancer and improve heart health.
Researchers also found that within six months of beginning a garden, the new gardeners averaged two to three visits to their garden plots a week. They also ate on average 1.4 grams more of fiber per day. Their activity increased by 42 additional minutes per week. In addition, stress and anxiety levels decreased.
The individuals that participated in the community gardening research project also built social connections within their communities. All of these factors help combat one of our society’s major health problems, loneliness.
In conclusion, for those who love to garden, know you are beautifying the world, improving your health and lowering your stress level. For me, there is nothing like eating fresh vegetables picked right off the vine just steps away from my kitchen. Let’s savor these moments.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.