Gardening For Health
Tuesday, June 05, 2018
LIZ WARD, Oregon Sports News
Gardening not only produces delicious fruits and veggies and gorgeous flowers, but also a healthy body and mind.
Breathe Fresh Air
We spend so much time indoors these days. Locked away at our 9-5’s for much longer than 8 hours a day. We rush home to get kids to practices. Our dinners are provided through a drive-through window. Getting outside and working in the fresh air does amazing things for our health and our moods. I know that little cheers me up like working in my garden.
Soak up the Sun
Speaking of spending too much time indoors – we all know most of us are vitamin D deficient. What better way to fill that deficiency than getting out in the sun and soaking it up naturally. But don’t neglect the sunscreen.
Get Dirt Under Your Fingernails
Getting dirty has been shown to reduce allergies, asthma, as well as increase your immune system. The majority of our environments are sterile to an excess. Hospitals are incredibly sterile and yet they experience staph outbreaks with great frequency. Our bodies were meant to have healthy bugs in order to combat sickness and disease. Stop destroying all of those healthy bugs and go play in the dirt – gloveless!
Growing Your Own Food
Homegrown food can’t be any healthier for you. Eating seasonally, organically, and locally is all the rage right now. Growing your own food not only burns calories while you tend to your plants, but you will reduce your carbon footprint by not adding miles to what you eat.
You don’t need a large plot of land to grow your own food. Look into container gardening if you live in an apartment. Or square foot gardening in raised beds works well if you have a small yard. I used the SFG technique when I had a small town plot, and it worked great.
Herb Gardens – Culinary or Medicinal
Growing your own herbs for cooking is a great way to make your budget, and your taste buds, happy. Store bought spices are expensive, and most herbs are absurdly easy to grow. You can grow them indoors, on a balcony or deck, or in garden beds outdoors.
Medicinal herbs are beautiful and helpful. Grow chamomile for a calming tea. Peppermint works well for upset tummies. Grow your own catnip for your kitty friend. You can use herbs to make your own household cleaners, soaps, candles, infused alcohol – your creativity is your only limit. One word of caution – make sure you research each herb (or ask your doctor) before consuming. Some herbs can have negative side effects. Pregnant and nursing women should especially take care when using herb products.
Relax and Reap the Benefits
Gardening is also ideal for helping you relax. Puttering around outside, checking on the fruits of your labors, picking out the weeds that creep in – these are all things that help you unplug from a chaotic life for a while. Listen to the birdsong while you tend to your garden. Feel the wind on your face. Watch the honey bees pollinating your plants. Relax and enjoy!