Rehab Insights is a weekly blog written by Burke Rehabilitation professionals to offer practical information for patients, families and the community. It's goal is to educate the reader on relevant topics in rehabilitation, general health and wellness.

The Benefits of Growing a Vegetable Garden

There is no comparison between the taste of a garden fresh tomato and a grocery store bought one that's devoid of flavor. The nature of the American food system is that grocery store produce has often been grown hundreds of miles away, meaning it can be days between harvest and your table. This process results in the quality of the produce often being compromised.

Though growing your own vegetables can seem overwhelming to some, it’s actually much simpler than it sounds. Even if you don’t have a yard, consider starting a patio garden or even an indoor herb garden on a windowsill. You’ll be amazed at how many tomatoes or peppers you can grow out of one pot!

If you still aren’t convinced, consider these benefits of backyard gardening:

  • Improve your health.  Consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. When you pick vegetables right from your garden, the vitamin content will be at its highest. Also, you are reducing the risk of eating vegetables that contain harmful chemicals–you know exactly what you're eating. In addition, getting kids involved in the gardening process will make it more likely for them to try the vegetables.
     
  • Save money on groceries. One of the benefits of enjoying garden vegetables is a reduced monthly food bill. You can grow organic vegetables for a fraction of the cost in the stores.
     
  • Get outdoor exercise. Gardening is a physical activity and pulling weeds, planting, and digging can burn up to 400 calories per hour. Gardening is also a good mental exercise and helps keep your mind sharp.
     
  • Gardening is a natural stress reliever. Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine can improve mood and make you feel rejuvenated and overall happy.  Growing your own produce also gives you a great sense of accomplishment.

Check out the links below for great tips on how to start your own home vegetable garden. Your body, wallet, and taste buds will thank you!

Grow Your Own: A Vegetable Garden How-To Guide 
A Beginner's Guide to Fruit and Vegetable Gardening 

— Laura Quinn RDN, CDN Sodexo Dietitian at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital



photo credit: One is ready via photopin (license)

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Burke's Rehab Insights blog is intended to provide general information about rehabilitation and other health care topics. It should not take the place of medical care. Burke staff cannot comment on individual medical cases or give medical advice.

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