The unknown benefits of growing your own foods
From better nutrition to improved mental and physical health, the benefits of growing your own food are plentiful.
Whether you are growing a small pot of kitchen herbs or an allotment full of fresh fruits and vegetables, you’re doing good for both your own health, and the environment.
Here are our top five reasons to grown your own food:
Better nutritional benefits
Growing your own food is an excellent way to ensure that your diet is nutritious, healthy and full of variety. Growing a diversity of fresh foods gives you access to plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Raw foods are not just arguably one of the tastiest, but studies have also shown that they contain the most nutrients.1 That’s not to say that cooking is bad though, as there are still plenty of health benefits to come from your food once you cook it—especially as it will be fresher as the time taken to get it from the ground to your plate will have been less than if you had bought it from a store.
Better for the environment
As well as having less time for its nutritional value to start decreasing, foods that are home grown and haven’t had to undergo transportation are better for the environment and will not be impacting your carbon footprint.2 Not only will you be reducing the reliance on fossil fuels for long distance transportation (it’s been estimated that an average of 1,500 miles is travelled before food is consumed)3 but you won’t be using chemicals or pesticides that can be bad for the environment.
Good for your physical health
You might not consider it to be the same as going for a long run, but growing your own food is actually a great way to stay fit and active! From digging to pulling up roots, to planting, weeding, watering and caring for your growing foods—gardening offers you a great physical workout that can help improve your cardiac strength, decrease stress and improve your strength and flexibility. Being outside will also expose you to Vitamin D, which has been proven to be crucial for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as well as increasing your immunity against certain diseases.4
Great for mental wellbeing too
It’s not just your physical body that will thank you for growing your own food and gardening, but your mental health can benefit too. The simple act of getting exercise has been shown to relieve stress, depression and anxiety, as well as boost your energy.5
You can save money
The outlay might seem a bit more expensive than simply picking some salad up from the supermarket shelves, but once you are in an established routine, all you really need to grow your own food is time, patience and water. When you consider the higher costs of organic food, you can see that by growing your own, you will soon make back any money you spend on pots, soil etc. at the outset.
When growing your own foods, remember that variety is key. Don’t be afraid to try things you’ve not had before – particularly as you won’t be contributing to any increased pesticide usage or transportation costs to do so. Try to expose yourself to as many new and interesting fresh foods as you can, to contribute to a healthier you, and a healthier planet.
- https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/jf60202a021 [↩]
- https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0921344914002626 [↩]
- https://cuesa.org/learn/how-far-does-your-food-travel-get-your-plate [↩]
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/ [↩]
- https://journals.lww.com/acsm-essr/Citation/1990/01000/Effect_of_Exercise_on_Depression.16.aspx [↩]