April 2016Health tips

Grow your way to a healthier you!

Now that spring is in the air, foodies are getting excited at the thought of munching on locally grown, top-quality fruits and vegetables. So go ahead and indulge—but why not top up your plate with produce that you’ve grown yourself?

By planting and harvesting the food you love, you’ll reap the benefits in health, taste and freshness. It’s easier than you think, even if all you’ve got is a balcony or rooftop. Not only can you tell the difference with your taste buds, but gardening will help your stress level take a noticeable dip.

To top it all off, your green thumb contributes to a greener environment. But do a dozen pots or a small vegetable garden really matter to the ecology? Yes, says Dr. Jean Zigby, a JGH Palliative Care specialist and President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

“Many cardiovascular and respiratory health problems are proven to be associated with pollution,” Dr. Zigby explains. “Every little gesture counts toward making our environment healthier.”

Growing your own food means you’ll also be less reliant on imported fruits and vegetables, which arrive in our supermarkets after travelling long distances and contributing to global warming and unhealthy air quality.

According to the Food Miles Calculator, a cucumber covers about 8,159 kilometers between Turkey and Quebec. If shipped by air, that cuke is partly responsible for generating roughly 1,825 kilograms of carbon dioxide. Once the flight ends, additional environmental side-effects are created by local transportation, storage and packaging.

So line up those pots or set aside a corner of your yard for veggies and other plants that work well for home gardeners—e.g., herbs, edible flowers, radishes, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, beans and peas.

For useful gardening tips, visit Canadian Gardening. Your tongue and tummy will thank you.

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