It's official! Growing a vegetable garden is good for you and your mental health. I study

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Elia Tabuenca García
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A new study confirms what was already known: cultivating a vegetable garden and being in contact with nature offers many benefits for mental health

Do you feel a certain degree of well-being when you take care of your vegetable garden or plants? It is not something strange and unusual, orthotherapy is an increasingly appreciated and recognized practice for its benefits. Now a new study confirms the benefits of growing a garden for mental health (and more).

Research, conducted by a team from the University of Sheffield, UK, highlights a number of benefits that horticulture offers to those who practice it consistently. To evaluate the effects of gardening they were recruited 163 volunteers who in England and Wales had obtained lots in shared gardens, in which they not only cultivated plants for food but recorded:

"High levels of social and community activities, including sharing excess food, exchanging knowledge, awareness and interaction with wildlife, the emotional connection to their assignment, appreciation of time spent outside and the aesthetic pleasure in the natural world ".

All the volunteers were invited to draw up a diary where, for a whole year, they reported a series of useful data for research, not only what they actually cultivated but also the exchanges they had with other people who, like them, took care of the earth.

Miriam Clare Dobson, a postdoctoral researcher and author of the study, highlighted how growing a garden offered them a wide range of mental health benefits. People tried positive feelings in sharing food, knowledge and skills but also in talking about events that concerned their community as well as living a greater connection with the seasons and the time.

A way also for chase away loneliness, given that shared gardens offer a precious opportunity to exchange and live actively within one's community.

The benefits also came from watching the plants grow and, of course, from being able to use them in the kitchen. The advantages offered by the spend a good amount of time outdoors, also a way to feel in contact with nature and wildlife.

But it doesn't stop there. Cultivate a vegetable garden it is also good for physical health. As Dr. Dobson points out, people who grow vegetable gardens have:

"more likely to eat fruits and vegetables five times a day compared to people who do not grow their own food "

Dobson believes the findings were even more evident during the pandemic when many people emailed researchers to let them know that their gardens were a refuge during the lockdown and they were giving it a semblance of normality. Then there are those who, for the occasion, have also installed a sandbox and a swing for their children, combining useful and enjoyable, and defining everything as "a godsend".

It is no coincidence that the demand for lots to grow has exploded just this year in the UK and many people have signed up for waiting lists.

The study demonstrates how these spaces are important not only for food production but also for people's health, sociability and environmental commitment. That's why there should be more of them, and not just in the UK.

Fonti: The Guardian / British Food Journal

Read also:

  • Orthotherapy: nature is a real cure (even against stress)
  • Orthotherapy: an organic greenhouse changes the lives of Detroit hospital patients
  • It only takes two hours in contact with nature to be healthier and happier
  • Organic garden: 10 steps to start growing a natural garden
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