Garden Your Way to Better Health

Garden Your Way to Better Health

Gardening is in our blood; after all, each of us has ancestors who were avid horticulturists. Plus, we’re created in the image of God, who was the very first gardener on the planet: “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden” (Genesis 2:8). And He immediately had humanity follow suit: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (v. 15). 

So it’s no wonder that whenever springtime rolls around, many of us feel a deep, primeval urge to dig and plant. But even if that desire doesn’t come naturally, or you feel you lack a green thumb, you might want to take a closer look at the advantages of gardening. 

Planting and caring for a garden can help to: 

• Rev up your immune system1 

• Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression 

• Significantly lower your risk of dementia2 

• Improve your cardiovascular health 

• Raise your vitamin D level 

• Tone your muscles and strengthen your bones. 

And that’s just a sampling of the fringe benefits! Digging in the soil improves mood, and researchers have identified a link to a soil microbe called Mycobacterium vaccae, which helps to increase the serotonin in our brains, making us feel happier.3 

Whether you choose to plant flowers, an edible garden, or both, you can reap better health. If you include fruits and veggies, you’ll have the added bounty of fresh produce. If you lack space at home, consider working in a community garden, where you will discover the extra bonus of social connection, which is particularly health-boosting for those who struggle with loneliness or isolation. 

Caring for plants out in the pure air and sunshine is highly beneficial, but even gardening in a bright window or on a patio can enhance your health—which might work well for city dwellers or those with limited mobility. 

Growing food can be a challenge for the inexperienced, so plan ahead. Invest in a good instructional book or Google some articles on basic vegetable gardening for beginners. Choose your garden spot carefully, noting the amount of sunshine that area receives each day. 

Round up the right tools for the job, such as a shovel, rake, and hoe. You may want to hire someone to till the soil for you; you can also opt for raised beds. Either way, it’s a good idea to start slow and simple. Don’t wear yourself out! 

During hot weather, work during the cooler morning and evening hours. Wear gloves to protect your hands, and always shield your skin from excessive sun. 

In the future, by God’s grace, we’ll all learn to be great gardeners. Isaiah prophesied about this: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth … They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit” (Isaiah 65:17, 21). 

But for now, don’t expect perfect results every time. Even the best gardeners have crop failures sometimes. Just consider that if your whole garden flops (and that’s unlikely), if you’ve been outside working on it a couple times a week or more, you’ll have improved your health— and that’s something to be grateful for! 

1 https://www.mindfood.com/article/benefits-of-gardening/ 

2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16411871/ 

3 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/66840#1

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