When the weather turns warm and the sun is warm and inviting we all want every reason possible to be outside!
One very healthy and productive way to accomplish that is to plant and grow a vegetable or flower garden.
Lots of scientific and medical studies show that growing things outside in the dirt is more beneficial to our heath than we think! Both mental health and physical health are greatly improved when we experience growth of plants in nature.
Our bodies are more like plants than we realize. We are capable of photosynthesis – the process where plants make their own food from natural sunlight. Your skin uses sunlight to make one of the vital nutrients we need, Vitamin D. Researchers estimate that a half hour in the sun can produce 8,000 to 50,000 IUs of Vitamin D in your body, depending on clothing you are wearing and the color of your skin.
Studies have shown that being out in the sun can lessen our risk of many types of cancer.
- Breast Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Multiple sclerosis
If Vitamin D levels are low you have a greater chance of developing Psoriasis flares, metabolic syndrome (pre- diabetes) type II Diabetes and dementia!
We must be careful to balance our time in the sun since we can risk skin cancer from too much sun exposure, but a little goes a long way.
In addition, the physical exercise is very beneficial to maintaining a healthy weight! Light to moderate exercise working in the garden uses every major muscle group in the body.
This will not surprise anyone who wakes up sore all over from a day of working in the yard.
Spending time outdoors doing something productive and good for you is a great mood booster. Many addiction programs have found that involving patients in horticulture helps them to overcome anxiety and feel less depressed.
Digging in the dirt is good for the old and young alike! Teaching children where their food comes from is fun and interesting for the adults and kids, plus we all get to eat the natural goodies or admire the beautiful plants and flowers that we have grown!