Gardening can be a great lifestyle choice for you and your family. From eating healthier, to getting outside more, gardening is a great addition to your daily routine. Check out these seven reasons why you should get gardenfit!
Eating in season is not only good for you, but it’s also good for the planet. Eating local, in-season produce reduces your impact on the environment by reducing need for shipping and storage. Most people know that fresh picked (and consumed) produce contain more nutrients than those stored and shipped, but growing your own food is a good guide to eat seasonally ensuring you are eating freshly harvested food. Many fruits and vegetables begin to lose nutrients moments after they are picked! An easy way to find out what is in season is to visit your local farmer’s market, but you can also gauge seasonality by looking at prices in the grocery store (prices often increase as produce goes out of season, i.e. berries are most expensive in the winter when they are out of season, while often on sale during their growing season of summer).
Backyard gardening means the easiest access to healthier food options. Okay, your pantry with processed, packaged foods may be a few steps closer, but grabbing a snack from your garden is a better choice. Skip the potato chips in favor of kale chips. Throw together a quick salad to quell in-between meal cravings. Instead of pita chips with hummus, harvest a few carrots, radishes, and peas for a quick and easy crudite!
Growing your own produce lets you choose which variety you grow, including options you can’t find at the grocery store. For most produce, the darker the color varietal, the more nutrition. Darker colored fruits and veggies often contain higher levels of anthocyanins (which display a wide range of biological activities including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-carcinogenic and improvement of vision and neuroprotective effects). For example, purple skin carrots contain much higher levels of anthocyanins than orange carrots, and you’re still getting the beta-carotene from the inner orange flesh. Try growing Bull’s Blood beets this year instead of gold or red; the leaves of Bull’s Blood beets are dark red containing very high levels of betalains in the beetroot and leaves which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Get inspired to grow new-to-you herbs and vegetables. Not only will you have the enjoyment of seeing how these plants grow, you can buff up your cooking skills by switching out your “go-to” recipes with new adventurous ones. You may find a new favorite!
Gardens get you outside! Gardening is a great way to opt outside and enjoy the fresh air and vitamin D with friends and family. Get your kids involved with some kid-friendly garden favorites. We recommend radishes and snap peas, they are easy to sow, quick to grow, and fun to harvest for young and old alike!
Having your kids involved in the growing process of gardening can also help garner their interest in eating vegetables and an overall healthy diet. Children’s taste buds are inherently geared to like sugars and fats, so it’s important for caretakers to continuously introduce and serve new and different vegetables. By making positive associations for children with vegetables and other healthful food choices, you are setting them up for success. Studies have shown that an infant diet consisting of high levels of fruits, vegetables, and home-prepared foods is associated with less food allergies by the age of 2. Get your kids involved in the garden and kitchen, helping you prepare fresh, delicious meals. These simple acts can help shape your child’s diet and relationship with food, teaching them to make healthy diet choices later in life.
Research shows that bacterial exposure can stimulate the immune system resulting in a stronger immune system. Our modern sterilized, indoor abodes reduce a child’s interaction with bacteria and microbes which can lead to increased allergies and health complications in the long run. As more studies suggest that the intestinal microbiome plays an important role in modulating risk of several chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, the American diet has come into question. Western diets are typically lacking in fermented foods, and often high in inflammatory foods (and foods that feed inflammation causing microbes). Boost your, and your children’s, gut biome by eating raw and fresh harvested produce. Early life exposure to environmental microbes increases gut microbiota diversity. Don’t stress about a little bit of lingering soil on your fresh harvested produce, a little dirt won’t hurt.
Reasons to grow your own food, at a glance:
Fresh, in-season produce is more nutritious
Easy access to healthier food and snack options
Grow nutrient dense varieties, and veggies you can’t buy in store
Cook new and nutritious veggie focused meals
Opt outside for family time in the garden
Grow your kid’s palate
Boost your microbiome and immune system
Gardening can be beneficial to your health in a variety of ways including fresher, healthier food choices, spending more time outdoors, and it provides you with moments of mindfulness. Make it a family affair and get the kids involved in the garden and in the kitchen!
Ready to grow, but not ready to do it on your own? We can help! Learn more about Avalow raised garden beds and Avalow Coaching.