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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

5 Reasons to Have a Garden

By Dr. Jillian Finker

Summer is in full swing and nothing says summer like planting a garden. Not only is a garden aesthetically pleasing to your landscape, studies show that gardening boosts self-esteem, reduces stress, and is nourishing for the flora and fauna in the environment.  While there are countless reasons to have a garden, here are five excellent reasons to get started on planting one today. 

  1. Physical exercise: Digging, planting, weeding and even harvesting vegetables involves movement. These activities help you stretch, burn calories, and improve your overall fitness. 

  2. Relaxation: Studies show that breathing in dirt literally decreases anxiety. Also, being outdoors and moving around helps put our bodies in a calm state. Make sure to use good-quality organic soil. 

  3. Nutrient-dense foods: Picking vegetables and fruits that have been in the sun have higher levels of vitamin D and other nutrients than the aging produce we get in the store.  The flavor of fresh vegetables and fruits far surpasses anything we get from the supermarket. This causes us to use less dressing or salt which also benefits our health.  

  4. Social interaction: Gardening can bring communities together. Neighbors get a chance to become closer when sharing their extra produce with one other. Also, gardening can bring families together as working on plot as a team effort strengthens family bonds.  

  5. Brain health: Creating a garden involves planning, researching and creative activities. It promotes constant learning and helps stimulate our cognitive abilities, thus helping to keep our brains young. 

Even with all the nutrient-dense vitamins we get from fresh produce, the soils are still depleted in micronutrients, so we always need to supplement with nutraceuticals. Always test your levels and work with a provider who understands nutrition to determine what your specific needs are.  

Dr. Jillian Finker, ND, CNS and author of It's About Wellness, Naturally, is the founder of Finker Wellness, located at 2308 Bellmore Ave. in Bellmore, NY. For more information, call 516-765-3272 or visit
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