There is good news for gardeners and those who love to grow plants.
Dan Buettner coined the term “Blue Zones” in 2010 when he wrote about places in the world where people lived the longest. Living to be 100 years old was not unusual in the Blue Zones.
Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; and the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California are just a few of the places and people he wrote about. He noted that the world’s oldest people had at least one hobby in common, and that was gardening. They enjoyed a plant-based diet and also possessed a strong sense of community and purpose in life. But he emphasized gardening as a shared hobby for these older folks.
Think about it: Gardening involves squatting, bending, digging, pulling, weeding and of course watering. These are forms of physical activity that don’t require you to go to a gym, plus you are outside in the sunlight and fresh air.
A recent study from the University of Arkansas reported that the low impact movements of gardening helped to improve bone mineral density in women over the age of 50.
Through gardening, you will be able to eat what you grow. Most fruits and vegetables may lose as much as 30% of their nutrients three days after harvest. Therefore the fresher, the better.
Since we evolved in nature, some authors feel nature is restorative and that just being outside helps to reduce stress. Others say that gardening is meaningful exercise that teaches patience, mindfulness and the futility of perfection.
Our first 10 U.S. presidents were serious about gardening, but Thomas Jefferson was the most dedicated. You can still find a copy of his journal known as Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book. He started making notes and documenting his planting beginning in 1766 around the age of 23 and ended it in 1824, about 700 pages later.
A plant-based diet is favorable, but growing your own fruits and vegetables also has health benefits. And speaking of a strong sense of community, thanks to the Mustard Seed Gardeners at First Presbyterian Church for donating their produce to ACTS and the Salvation Army here in Aiken.