Gardening is one of spring’s greatest gifts to health and wellness. It is well-known that planting and eating your own vegetables can be highly nutritious, but gardening’s physical and mental health benefits extend far beyond what’s on your plate.
According to WebMD, gardening can burn between 200–400 calories per hour and give all major muscle groups a workout. When practiced regularly, it can lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and prevent disease, such as diabetes and osteoporosis.
In addition to providing a connection to nature, gardening can be a creative outlet that stimulates the senses, reduces anxiety and relieves unwanted stress.
Consider planting these easy-to-grow vegetables:
Snap Peas: Consuming one cup provides one third of your daily vitamin C intake and three grams of fiber. Use them as a snack with hummus, or with your stir fry vegetables.
Lettuce Mix: Nutrients differ with each variety, but most provide vitamins A, C, K and folate. Keep ample lettuce on hand to make salads that can fill you up with fiber.
Cucumbers: Although they do not have a lot of nutrients, they can be refreshing and hydrating. Cut up a cucumber, and keep it in the fridge to supplement (or add to) your water intake.
Green Beans: Delicious and filled with healthy nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K, manganese, potassium, folate, iron and fiber, green beans are the perfect summer snack or side dish.
Laurel Famigletti is an area resident and owner of EndorP.H.I.T, where she provides virtual group fitness classes, in-home personal training and virtual nutrition coaching.