Image via Deep Roots Project

Growing your own food is very gratifying. Planting seeds, nurturing them to seedlings, watering and feeding them as they grow into crops, then picking them fresh to cook and eat, and sharing them with others can bring much satisfaction and joy.

Food gardening saves you money on grocery bills, connects you with nature and is good for the environment.

And do you know: Gardening also keeps you healthy. Gardening boosts mood and lowers stress levels; enhances your immune system; helps to burn calories; lowers blood pressure; protects your brain, and more.

“Gardening is good for your overall health in many ways,” says Sharon Palmer, RD, a plant-based food and nutrition expert and the author of The Plant-Powered Diet, Plant-Powered for Life.

“First of all, it is a form of physical activity that contributes to your overall physical fitness levels. Secondly, it can boost mood-enhancing hormones. Studies show that gardening can increase the release of serotonin, which has an anti-depressant effect, while decreasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

“Thirdly, it can increase your exposure to health-promoting Vitamin D levels we obtain from the sun. And fourthly, studies show that when you garden, you increase your consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables.” (as cited in Food Network’s Healthy Eats).

Start a food garden and harvest the health benefits!