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As Fresh As It Gets! The Health Benefits of Growing Your Own Food

May 07, 2019

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In a culture steeped in consumerism and instant gratification, there's something pleasantly rebellious about home gardening. And it's a hobby that's infecting everyone, from stay-at-home moms to apartment-dwelling millennials. 35% of American households take part in personal or communal gardening.

With hundreds of millions of Americans growing their own food, why aren't you?

Growing your own food is a rewarding experience and simpler than you might think. There's also a fantastic reason to get involved: Keeping a fresh garden is better than getting your fruits and vegetables at the market.

How? There are countless benefits of growing your own food. I'll cover just some of the ways that a home garden can improve your overall health and well-being.

The Benefits of Growing Your Own Food

Gardening isn't just for fun. Here are eight reasons you should grow your own food:

1. Homegrown is More Nutritious

Mass producers of fruits and vegetables don't prioritize nutrition. Instead, they select the breeds with the largest yields. These breeds are more plentiful but lack in nutrition. Even with fertilization, the soil in commercial farms loses minerals over time, which ultimately affects the nutrition content of their produce.

Supermarket produce is better than nothing, but yields from home gardens will be more nutritious in comparison.

You can also choose to grow nutritious plants not commonly found in commercial markets, such as the Ashitaba plant. This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know about growing an Ashitaba plant.

2. Fresh Food, Fresh Flavor

Do you wonder why so many professional chefs brag about having their own gardens? It's not a placebo: Fresh produce from a personal garden tastes better than the storebought alternative.

One study found that homegr own tomatoes were not only more nutritious than storebought but were sweeter too.

And it's not just the soil and breed of these plants that make them more flavorful. You can pick a tomato fresh off the vine and use it right away. Supermarket produce is picked before it's ripe, which affects the taste.

3. If You Grow Them, You'll Eat Them

Want to eat more fruits and vegetables? By taking the time to garden, you'll be more apt to appreciate the bounty of your efforts. You'll often incorporate fresh food in your meals since it's convenient, just a few steps from the kitchen.

You'll also want to eat fruits and vegetables since homegrown produce simply tastes better.

4. Chemical-Free Food

Pesticides and other chemicals are an unfortunate part of commercial growing. Commercial farmers have a vested interest in keeping their crops safe from pests and diseases. But many people are uncomfortable with the prospect of pesticide-laden food.

Pesticides are poisons that kill more than just pests. They're thought to be the main culprit behind the plummeting numbers of bees. And in humans, pesticides have been linked to serious health conditions, such as cancer.

Organic or home-grown produce is free of any form of pesticides or other harmful chemicals. Growing your own food is one way to protect your health and the important creatures that reside near your home.

5. A Home Garden is Cheap

And so is the food. It's unlikely you'll have the space to grow an entire garden with all the fruits and vegetables your family needs. However, you'll still save trips to the supermarket by growing some food on your own.

Seeds are dirt-cheap, so your main gardening costs include things like pots and soils. Plus, your plants will continue growing fresh produce all season long. I've harvested a hundred tomatoes or more from a single plant during one growing season. That bounty would have been $50 or more at supermarket prices.

A home garden could even make you money. Sell the extra produce to interested neighbors who appreciate the quality of homegrown foods.

6. Work Up a Sweat

There's no doubt that gardening can sometimes be physically demanding. That's probably why not everyone has their own garden. But if you're looking for a productive form of exercise or a way to burn calories, gardening might be the answer.

Consider everything that a garden requires: Digging and hoeing the earth, pulling weeds, lifting heavy pots, and more. Yes, gardening is a strenuous activity.

But it's more productive than going for a run. Unlike traditional exercise, gardening results in a material reward.

7. It's Environmentally Friendly

The food industry has one of the largest environmental footprints. It's not just pesticides. Farming releases pollutants into the air and is responsible for some deforestation. Once picked, these fruits and vegetables must be transported to stores, which requires the burning of fossil fuels.

Your traditional food source causes more harm to nature than you might think.

By growing your own fruits and vegetables without the use of chemicals, you'll be reducing your environmental impact. You can even take this a step further by using permaculture techniques to further lessen your impact, such as collecting rainwater and composting.

8. Free of Commercial Contamination

Salmonella and E. Coli outbreaks are common. On store shelves, contaminated food items can cause severe food poisoning and sometimes death.

When you grow your own food, you know it's free of contaminants like pesticides. But you also avoid bacterial contaminations that result from unhygienic practices, such as livestock runoff or poor irrigation.

Enjoy the Benefits of Home-Grown Food

The benefits of growing your own food are sweeping, from better nutrition to a lower carbon footprint. No matter who you are or where you live, a home garden can provide something for everyone.

If you enjoyed this article, consider looking at more of our blog content.