Grow your own, and reap the health benefits
Thinking about cleaning up your diet, and doing something to help the environment at the same time?

Try organic gardening. No, you don’t need a tractor, acres of land, or denim overalls and a straw hat. It’s simple to get started and provides a number of health benefits.

Go organic: Grow your own

If you’ve got a backyard, live on a farm, or call an apartment in the city home, you’ve got options for organic gardening, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Before you get started, you may want to test the pH level of the soil you plan to use (available at most hardware or garden supply stores). Based on the results, adding specific nutrients to the soil can improve your harvest.

Here’s how to plan your organic garden:

  • Backyard or farm: Till up a patch of ground, or create a raised bed to grow organic foods. Plant starters. Use natural fertilizers or mulch. And make sure the plants get plenty of sun and water.
  • Small space or short on time: Don’t have a yard, or you don’t have time to take care of a bigger garden? You can use a planter to grow organic herbs (basil, mint, parsley, oregano, etc.) for cooking, seasoning, and salad.
  • Best organic plants for beginners: If you’re thinking about growing organic produce, good plants to start with include peas, spinach, lettuce, carrots, and radishes during cooler weather. Try growing green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, basil, and sunflowers during warmer weather.

So what are the health benefits of organic gardening?

Maybe you just like gardening. Plant some fruits, vegetables, or herbs. Watch them grow, and enjoy. That’s a start, but there are some other benefits to organic gardening, according to Harvard University, like:

 

  1. Make healthier choices. Growing an organic garden is a great way to help you be more mindful of your food choices. Did you know only 1 in 10 adults eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day? Most adults should eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit per day and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.
  2. Avoid fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. When you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you don’t have to use fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, which have been linked to certain types of cancer and other health problems.
  3. Get more vitamins and nutrients. When produce is harvested to sell in a grocery store, it’s usually in transit for days or weeks. And it loses nutritional value. Organic produce straight from your garden is packed with vitamins and nutrients.
  4. Be more active. Here’s something NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) about organic gardening. It can help you be more active, according to the American Council on Exercise. NEAT activity happens when you’re digging a hole, pulling weeds, planting, or caring for your garden. Your heart rate goes up. You’re burning extra calories. And your heart, lungs, and muscles get a workout without the formality of going to the gym.

Hungry for better health? Give organic

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