Some of the major benefits of growing your own food include:
Higher nutritional content
Lower risk of bacterial contamination
Support mental and physical health
Help the environment
Plus, it can even help save money and give you greater food security during troubled times.
Let’s take a close look at the many benefits of growing your own food.
Benefits of Growing Your Own Food: Home-Grown Food Is More Nutritious
Food that’s mass-produced and shipped long distances tends to be low on nutrients.
This is because farmers have to pick it before it’s ripe.
Unfortunately, this means the vitamins and minerals don’t have a chance to mature.
As a result, your food isn’t as good for you as it could be.
Growing your own garden allows you to harvest food when it has the highest nutritional content.
Your body will thank you for it and so will you taste buds…
Benefits of Growing Your Own Food: Home-grown Fruits and Vegetables Taste Better
Not only is home-grown produce better for you, but it also tastes better.
Fully-ripe vegetables are crispier and more flavorful than mass-produced foods that are harvested too early.
When you bite into your first home-grown tomato, there’ll be no mistake about it.
Commercial strains of tomatoes, for example, are genetically designed to maximize profits.
They might look more colorful and be bigger, but the taste and texture suffer.
And commercially-grown organic vegetables aren’t bred for flavor.
When it comes down to it, nothing is more delicious than your own home-grown produce.
Say “Goodbye” to Pesticides, Toxins, and Contamination
When you grow your own food, you get to control more than just taste—you also determine the environment.
That means you get to say “sayonara” to pesticides and other toxins.
If pests are eating your plants, you can use organic remedies to solve the problem.
Unfortunately, some of the healthiest foods also have the highest rates of pesticide use.
For example, commercially-grown celery, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach have major issues with toxins and contamination.
Remember the great E.coli outbreak of 2006?
The spinach recall affected 26 states and stretched from Wyoming to Maine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that 48 million people get sick from food-borne illnesses each year. (1)
Salmonella, E. coli, and listeria are the most common types of outbreaks.
However, there’s no need to worry about these problems with your home garden.
It’s another one of the many benefits of growing your own food.
Health Benefits of Growing Your Own Food
Growing your own food gives you more than just highly-nutritious produce.
The very act of gardening is a health boost in itself!
From physical activity to extra sunshine, home gardening has a lot to offer.
1. Get More Outdoor Exercise
During the planting and growing season, gardening keeps you active.
It requires squatting, bending, stretching, digging, gripping, grabbing, and all sorts of low-impact exercise.
In fact, 45 minutes of gardening burns the same amount of calories as running 1.5 miles. (2)
Gardening improves heart health and strengthens the immune system.
At the same time, it boosts energy and supports mental health.
2. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Gardening can help reduce stress and anxiety.
For starters, physical activity alone is a major stress reliever with a ton of brain benefits.
But that’s just the beginning…
Getting dirt under your nails exposes you to healthy bacteria that can increase serotonin and fight anxiety. (3)
3. Vitamin D from the Sun
Vitamin D from sunlight is incredibly important for mental health.
It’s critical for treating depression and anxiety as well as balancing hormones and reducing stress.
At the same time, vitamin D strengthens the bones and protects against serious diseases.
Environmental Benefits of Growing Your Own Food
When you grow your own food, you’ll be helping more than just you and your family…
You’ll also be saving the environment.
Getting your produce from the field to your grocery store isn’t an easy task.
More often than not, fruits and vegetables travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles.
Ultimately, this relies heavily on fossil fuels.
Plus, by growing your own food you are reducing the use of chemicals and pesticides.
These chemicals aren’t just bad for your body, they’re also bad for the entire ecosystem.
Shockingly, 35 million tons of food waste ends up in landfills each year. (4)
But when you grow your own food, all of it ends up in your belly, fed to animals or recycled as compost.
Financial Benefits of Having a Home Garden
Organic produce is expensive, and that’s where home gardening comes in to save the day.
One of the biggest benefits of growing your own food is that you can save a lot of money.
With just a few dollars for seeds, plants, and supplies, you can grow all the vegetables you need in the summer.
Of course, you also have to consider your time and labor.
Aside from that, however, it can be quite cost-effective.
As long as you stick to the basic necessities, your home garden can be a huge money saver.
Food Security in Troubled Times
The distribution chain that grocery stores depend on is fragile at best.
During times of crisis, it doesn’t take much to break it down.
Unfortunately, this can leave grocery stores cleaned-out and shelves empty.
A major benefit of growing your own food is that you and your family won’t be so vulnerable.
With a pantry of preserved foods from your garden, you’ll be all set to weather the storm.
15 of the Healthiest Vegetables for Your Garden
Spinach: Spinach is high in essential minerals like magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, and iron. It’s also packed with valuable nutrients like thiamin, folate, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.
Kale: Kale is another nutrient-dense leafy green. It contains high levels of antioxidants, folate, iron, and vitamins A, K, and C.
Chard: Swiss chard has beautiful orange, red and yellow stalks that will make your garden pop. Plus, they have plenty of magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamins K, C and A and are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Lettuce: You can’t have a garden without good ‘ol lettuce. It’s essential for salads and contains lots of vitamins and minerals.
Other Leafy Greens: Greens like mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens are hardy veggies and are easy to grow. Even better, they’re full of fiber, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Cabbage: Cabbage is a welcome addition to soups, slaws, salads, and stir-fries. More importantly, it’s packed with phosphorus, selenium, protein, niacin, iron, choline, copper, manganese, folate, and vitamins K, B2, B6, and C.
Radishes: Radishes are a little on the bitter side and can be an acquired taste. However, plenty of people love them and they’re a great addition to the garden. This tiny root vegetable is packed with calcium, magnesium, copper, and vitamin B6.
Carrots: Carrots are one of the sweetest vegetables around, making them great for stir-fries, salads, and all sorts of dishes. They’re also amazing for eye health thanks to all the beta-carotene, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, K, and B6. (5)
Beets: Beets are one of the best plant-based sources of iron. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, it’s especially important to eat plenty of beets. They’re also loaded with vitamin B6 and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Garlic: Garlic is great for immune support and digestive health. In particular, it contains a compound called allicin that normalizes gut bacteria. Garlic is also high in potassium, sodium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B6, and folate.
Zucchini: Zucchini is ideal for stews, soups, and sautees. Heck, you can even use it to bake gluten-free zucchini bread. Zucchini is high in magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, calcium, and vitamins A, B1, B6 and B2.
Pumpkins: Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween—they’re also delicious for baking, boiling, and mashing. Plus, they’re high in important nutrients like potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C.
Broccoli: Broccoli is a staple veggie that’s great for snacking, stir-fries, salads, and side dishes. It’s high in almost all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, including potassium, calcium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, choline and vitamins E, B1, B6, and A.
Cauliflower: This close relative of broccoli shares many of the same health benefits. It’s also great for gut health because it acts as fuel for healthy gut bacteria. Broccoli is high in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, potassium, and vitamins K, C, and B6.
Okra: Okra is popular in the southern United States, where it’s used for gumbo, stews, and soups. It’s high in potassium, folic acid, calcium, and vitamins C and B.
How to Start Your First Home Garden
Never gardened a day in your life?
Gardening is actually a lot easier than you think.
For starters, grow a few herbs like basil and oregano in your windowsill.
Once you’ve proven to yourself that you can keep them alive, try a simple container of salad greens on your porch.
The fact is, your garden doesn’t have to be huge in order to be beneficial.
When you’re ready to start planting radishes, carrots, and other more time-intensive foods, choose a small area that gets at least six hours of sun a day.
Build a couple of raised beds and experiment with delicious home-grown food!
If you have any more questions about the benefits of growing your own food, feel free to contact us at Complete Care Health Centers.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.