Gardening might assist scale back most cancers danger, increase psychological well being

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Gardening may help reduce cancer risk, boost mental health

Share on PinterestNew research suggests that gardening offers several health benefits, including a reduced risk of chronic diseases like cancer. Manu Prats/Stocksy

  • A new study shows people who work in community gardens receive several health benefits that may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and improve mental health.
  • The randomized controlled trial involved 145 people who had never gardened before and tracked their physical and mental health during and after a growing season.
  • Participants consumed more fibergot more exercise and felt more connected and less anxious as a result of their community gardening experience.

According to a recent study, participating in community gardening reduces the risk of developing serious illnesses like cancer and mental disorders.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) have shown that people receive several health-promoting benefits from community gardening.

Gardeners increased their fiber intake by eating more fresh produce, getting more exercise tending a garden, and feeling more socially connected, all of which are protective factors against cancer, mental health problems, and various chronic diseases.

Previous observational studies have shown that gardening in general can provide some of these benefits, but the CU Boulder study is the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) to examine the benefits of gardening and community gardening in particular.

The study is published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

The researchers recruited 291 adults who had never gardened before. The subjects had an average age of 41.5 years and 34% were Hispanic. 18% of the participants were male (52 participants) and half came from low-income households.

Researchers conducted three garden waves, each spanning a year, beginning in May, just after the last frost in Denver and Aurora, CO, where the gardens were located. Half of the participants in each wave gardened, half did not, and served as a control group.

Each participant received an introductory gardening course from Denver Urban Gardens and was allocated a 10 square meter community garden plot, seeds and seedlings.

The same was offered to subjects in the control group as compensation for delaying their gardening work during the course of the study.

The study’s lead author, Jill S. Litt, Ph.D., professor of environmental studies at CU Boulder, told Medical News Today that each participant spent an average of about 90 minutes a week gardening and visited their yard at least twice during the week have.

“We found that newcomers to horticulture are not a barrier to success in horticulture because our study included only new gardeners.” dr suffered said.

The researchers assessed the health of the participants prior to the study and the group task, at harvest time, and the following winter. Subjects completed surveys on stress, anxiety and diet and wore thigh-mounted accelerometers for 7 days at each assessment.

In the study, the researchers found that gardeners consumed slightly more fiber than the control group, although they were still below the recommended amount of 25-38 grams per day. They also exercised about 5 minutes more at harvest time than the control group.

“I think it’s a great study if you just look at the logistics of how they did it,” Rebecca Crane-Okada, Ph.D., RN, an advanced oncology nurse and professor of oncology at St. John’s Cancer Institutes in Santa Barbara, CA, not involved in the study, MNT said. “Conducting this study was very complicated.”

dr Litt said the study addresses an existing research gap, as smaller observational studies suggesting a link to better health have failed to determine whether gardening leads to a healthier lifestyle, or if it’s the other way around.

She noted that the study showed “that a holistic intervention such as community gardening can impact multiple outcomes – dietary fiber, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity – and psychosocial health – stress and anxiety – in an acceptable and affordable way for people with diverse social, economic, and social backgrounds.” and demographic backgrounds.”

dr Litt found that gardening addresses several factors important to reducing the risk of chronic disease and promoting overall health.

according to dr Crane-Okada offers community gardening the opportunity to address known “modifiable risk factors” for diseases such as:

Denise Dillon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at James Cook University in Singapore, was not involved in the study but has published previous research on the mental health benefits of community gardens.

“In our study, participants who engaged in community gardening achieved higher levels of personal subjective well-being and resilience than participants who gardened alone at home or those who engaged in outdoor group activities outside of the garden, although to a similar extent reported perceived stress.”

– Denise Dillon, Ph.D., psychology professor

dr Dillon added that there is “sufficient evidence from a range of research paradigms to show the benefits of direct exposure to natural environments for recovery purposes, be it physiological or psychological.”

There are thousands of urban community gardens in the United States.

Portland, OR, for example, has 4.45 community gardens per 1,000 people, and such gardens are not limited to temperate regions — St. Paul, MN, has the second highest density of community gardens in the US at 3.84 gardens per 1,000 people.

dr Crane-Okada attributed the benefits of the community garden to being outdoors in nature and fostering a connection to the earth. She found that preparing, tending, and harvesting a garden requires physical activity, and that belonging to a community benefits mental well-being.

People who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness like cancer can also benefit psychologically from the time they spend working in a community garden, said Dr. Crane Okada.

“The nature of gardening, usually outdoors, involves physical activity, a focus on something outside of oneself – can therefore also be a mindful activity – can be done in community, as in this study, which can serve as additional social support” , they completed.