6 Ways Gardening Boosts Your Immune System
1. Vitamin D "The Sunshine Vitamin"
The arrival of spring after a long bout of hibernation is truly one of the greatest joys in life. Signs of life return and you can feel your mood lighten the instant you step out of your home and into nature. There is science to back the health benefits of being outdoors; Vitamin D is necessary in supporting healthy immune function and is arguably the most important vitamin in your homeopathic arsenal. Also known as “The Sunshine Vitamin”, Vitamin D absorbs Calcium and Phosphorus which promotes healthy cell growth and resistance to illness. Vitamin D reduces your risk of catching viruses such as influenza but also helps ward off depression.
2. Gardening Reduces Stress
Gardening is a relaxing hobby that reduces stress and helps you get a full night's rest. All major illness can be traced back to one common source - stress. By gardening, you are participating in a form of meditation and becoming more mindful and present. Mindfulness is a practice that can boost your ability to deal with stress by giving you more mental clarity so you can confront life’s challenges in stride. The hours fly by while you are tending to your garden and chances are, you will fall asleep the moment your head hits the pillow. Your immune system will thank you by lightening its stress load and getting a full, uninterrupted night of sleep. To go one step further in your self-care routine, take a nice, hot salt bath to loosen your muscles and relax after a long and productive day in the garden.
3. Improves Daily Exercise Routine
Planting a garden promotes mobility, strength, and flexibility. If you garden regularly, not only will your mental health improve, you will also notice improvements to your physical well-being. The American Heart Association classifies gardening as moderate exercise and those who garden for 2.5 hours a day have a better chance of maintaining good health. Gardening works all the muscle groups - digging holes, pulling weeds, raking leaves, and pushing a mower help you burn calories and bring your heart rate up for a full body work-out. Native shrubs are a good place for beginners to start because they take very little care and will thrive with ease.
4. Cultivating a Vegetable Garden Will Improve Your Health
It is a good idea for everyone to cultivate their own vegetable garden as an inexpensive and sustainable food source. It all starts with the soil: Creating a raised bed with organic and fertile soil is the first step to ensuring you have a productive yield of vegetables. Growing your own food allows you to control harvest time, pesticide use, and causes you to eat more fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers are recommended for beginners because they are really forgiving and anyone can learn how to grow them in a short amount of time. Fresh vegetables provide many nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folate, Fiber, and Potassium. Planting dark green, cruciferous vegetables in your garden will ensure you have easy access to vitamin rich foods to help you maintain a balanced diet. Variety is the key to proper nutrition and eating a variety of fresh vegetables will help you fend off the flu and other illnesses.
5. Gardening is Good For Your Brain
Growing a garden allows you to cultivate a growth mindset. Tending to a garden can help you learn to accept uncertainty and imperfection as normal and valuable parts of life. Becoming open to learning from your mistakes is one of the best things you can do for your overall well-being. By allowing yourself and your garden to be imperfect, you give nature permission to confront you with challenges that may appear daunting at first glance. Your humble garden is a microcosm for the world at large and beneath every challenge is an even more rewarding lesson. Being in nature promotes mental longevity and has even been proven to reduce the risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s, making it one of the best activities you can do for your health. For an additional mood booster, plant bushes that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
6. House Plants Clean The Air While You Sleep
Never underestimate the positive impact that a house full of plants has on your health. Whether or not you have access to an outdoor garden space, it is a good idea to always maintain and care for indoor plants. In 1989, NASA did a clean air study in an effort to purify the air in space stations. Their published results revealed a long list of plants that were scientifically proven to clean the air of chemicals found in every-day house products (toxins such as Trichloroethylene, Benzene, and Formaldehyde). Peace Lily, Snake Plant, and Aloe Vera are among the long list of house plants that were proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to improve indoor air quality. Your immune system will rejoice for providing it healthy air to breathe and giving it the opportunity to nurture life.