During these uncertain times amidst a pandemic, there has never been a more important time to reflect on our physical and mental well-being. Many people are finding solace in an allotment. There are many benefits associated with looking after an allotment, such as:
Gardening burns around 400kcal per hour
Growing your own healthy food options
Biophilia, which describes our connection to nature
And so much more!
This blog focuses on the nutritional benefits associated with running an allotment.
Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which is vital to maintain bone and muscle health. The pandemic has meant that many people are spending long periods indoors. The body creates vitamin D when in natural sunshine. Spending time in the garden or the allotment can be a good way to get your vitamin D in. Other sources of vitamin D include: oily fish, red meat, egg yolks and fortified foods.
Leafy greens, such as lettuce and spinach are low in calories and are good sources of dietary fibre, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K. A diet high in dietary fibre is generally associated with supporting health and lowering the risk of several diseases. Vitamin C is used to prevent and treat scurvy, repair tissue and is important for our immune system. Folate (Folic Acid) is required to form DNA and protects against anaemia. Folic Acid is widely used as a supplement during pregnancy to prevent neural defects in babies. Vitamin K is required for blood coagulation or binding calcium in bones. Those taking anticoagulants, such as Warfarin should take special care and seek medical guidance before consuming leafy greens.
The brightly coloured vegetables, such as pumpkins, tomatoes and carrots are a good source of carotenoids. Carotenoids are beneficial for enhancing our immune system, and are essential for growth and eye health. Carotenoids can also be found in salmon and lobster.
In summary, growing your own vegetables has many nutritional benefits, which are important for our health. In addition, gardening burns around 400kcal per hour and is a means of connecting to nature. This improves our overall physical and mental well-being. So there has never been a better time to get digging! If you don’t have a garden or allotment, you can grow plenty in window boxes.