National Garden Month is here, and while the word “gardening” might bring up wholesome images of elderly-grandparent types puttering around in their backyards, it can also be an enjoyable activity for all ages and abilities.
As a dietitian who works with a mostly elderly and homebound population, I hear a lot of stories about growing up with fresh produce and how the taste and the work put into growing their own food made life seem better. It seems as though they were on to something, as research has shown that those who garden seem to have lower levels of stress and lower levels of chronic inflammation, which can lower risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions.
They also have a diet that is higher in fruits and vegetables, which can also lower your risk for chronic diseases.
Solutions to limitations
If gardening is so wonderful, why aren’t more people doing it? There are many reasons, but in the Veteran population I work with, people are dealing with physical limitations.
These include how much energy they have, space limitations or they may feel intimidated by gardening in general.
Here are how some Veterans that I work with have overcome these barriers to bring a little more gardening into their lives: