Couple of senior gardeners
Couple of senior gardeners

Practicing social distancing means more time spent at home. And many people use this time to start a garden in their backyard. There’s a saying that you reap what you sow. And in the case of a vegetable garden, a rich harvest may bring more than dinner. Gardening is good for your body and mind, said dietitian Anya Guy.

So go ahead and dig in. You may go from an empty plot to a bounty. Guy said tending a garden offers an abundance of health benefits. “You will increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, ultimately because you have them right in your backyard,” she said.

Gardening also can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, and offer light physical activity. Wondering what to grow? Guys suggests a rainbow of variety because “different vegetables have a variety of different health benefits unique to each of them.”

Chili peppers and banana peppers contain capsaicin, which has been shown to have a number of health benefits. And then there’s eggplant,  which, according to Guy, “grows surprisingly well in a home garden. It’s easy to grow and it can feed a lot of people in the family.”

Another good garden go-to: tomatoes. Rich in antioxidants, tomatoes contain potassium, vitamin C and are a source of fiber.

Can’t grow a garden at home? “keep in mind that community gardens are another option,” Guy said.

Embrace your green thumb, and you may be able to unpack your vegetable basket instead of a grocery bag.

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