Getting your hands dirty in the garden has been linked to longer life, better emotional and social health, and healthier diets. Can these benefits extend to brain health? YES! Growing your own food, whether in the backyard or a community garden, can keep your body and brain functioning at their best.
Inactivity is significantly linked to severe cognitive impairment, and even low-intensity activities like gardening can help prevent cognitive decline. Even better, activity outdoors means increased exposure to sunlight and, therefore, elevated vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D levels increase one’s risk of cognitive decline, and increasing vitamin D can combat inflammation and support the immune system.
2. Better Beets
Growing your own food and bringing it to your table fresh each day is an amazing way to maximize nutrients and control the quality of your food.
The USDA now suggests eating 9-13 servings of vegetables and fruits per day to combat age-related disease, and that’s a lot more convenient and affordable when it’s in your own backyard.
Moreover, commercially grown produce today has half of the vitamins and minerals your grandmother’s vegetables had, which means you have to eat twice as much to get the same nutritional benefits. However, when you control your soil, you can boost the nutrient content and prevent nutrient depletion that happens when produce sits in a warehouse or in a truck for weeks before making it to the supermarket.
3. Reducing toxins
Pesticides don’t just kill the bugs in your garden; they can also kill the beneficial microbes living in your gut.
Growing your own garden means you can implement healthy gardening practices by reducing chemical exposure and using natural ways of managing pests and weeds.
If you don’t know how to get started, spend a little time online looking for beginner tips, or better yet, find a friend that will share his or her expertise and help you get some seeds in the ground. If you’re concerned about your risk for cognitive decline, growing a garden is a great start, but effective prevention means identifying your unique risk factors. Using comprehensive and innovative testing, I will help you determine underlying imbalances that are putting your brain at risk for cognitive decline. Together, we can build a successful treatment plan to keep your body and brain strong.