Integrative Nutrition Blog

The Mega Benefits of Homegrown Produce

March 25, 2016

Image via Shutterstock

Spring is here, and that means the ground is thawing, flowers are blooming and garden enthusiasts are eager to plant their produce. If you’re interested in growing your own fruits and veggies but don’t think you have enough room at your house or apartment, take some inspiration from Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Lebby Salinas.

Salinas was recently featured in a local news story for her impressive front yard garden filled with pots of herbs, fruits and vegetables. “I put things in pots so people can see you don’t need to have a big space to plant; you can even do it on your patio,” she told The Monitor. In her Texas yard garden, Salinas grows everything from parsley to broccoli to strawberries. At Integrative Nutrition, we encourage eating local produce—and it doesn’t get more local than your own backyard! As Integrative Nutrition founder Joshua Rosenthal says, “fruits and vegetables may not arrive at your grocery store until weeks after they’re harvested” so gardening is a great way to eat fresh, seasonal produce.

Here are some other benefits of gardening:

You’ll feel relaxed.
It’s easy to de-stress amid the smells of fresh parsley and tomato vines. This study found that even 30 minutes of outdoor gardening reduced stress levels—it even trumped reading as a relaxing activity!

You’ll burn calories.
Gardening burns about 200 to 400 calories per hour, so you won’t feel guilty about skipping the gym. You can also make it a family affair: Researchers in South Korea found that children can benefit from gardening tasks, too. Digging and raking are considered “high-intensity” physical activities for children while weeding, sowing seeds and watering plants are moderate. 

You won’t waste food.
Have you ever bought an entire bunch of cilantro for a recipe, only to need a few sprigs? If you have a garden, you can pick only as much as you need and avoid waste. To save money, you can also plant produce that’s expensive to buy in stores (tomatoes, for example). And grow produce that offers a large return on your investment including broccoli, carrots and onions, according to this Iowa State University horticulturist.

You’ll build stronger bones.
Regular gardening and other yard work have been linked to a reduced risk of osteoporosis. Researchers at the University of Arkansas found that women ages 50 and older who gardened at least once a week had higher bone density than those who swam, jogged, walked or performed other aerobic activities. The researchers attributed the improved bone health to weight-bearing motions in the garden including digging holes and pulling weeds. 

So go ahead and invest in homegrown produce this spring!

Let us know what you love about gardening by sharing in the comments below! 

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