(ORDO NEWS) — American scientists have found that planting seedlings in the garden and caring for them not only improve mental health, but also likely help reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and social isolation are risk factors for non-communicable and other chronic diseases.
Scientists from the universities of Colorado, South Carolina and other US scientific organizations decided to find out how this could be related to physical activity in nature, combined with proper nutrition.
The components of healthy food, in particular, include fiber.
Its use has an impact on the prevention of inflammatory and immune responses of the body, the intestinal microbiome and the development of diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
While doctors recommend eating 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day, the average adult eats less than 16 grams of this dietary fiber daily.
There are very few studies on horticulture and they cover small samples. But even such studies show that gardeners tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and have a better body mass index than non-gardeners.
American experts involved in their new study 291 people who in everyday life had not previously been involved in gardening.
The average age of the subjects was 41 years old, the experiment took place from January 1, 2017 to June 15, 2019.
The participants were randomly divided into two groups, the first of which began to systematically work on personal plots, and the second – the control – lived the same life.
Both groups were periodically surveyed on nutrition, and their body weight was also measured. In addition, the subjects wore sensors showing their physical activity.
By the fall of 2017, it turned out that those who were engaged in gardening consumed 1.4 grams more fiber daily than the representatives of the control group.
It seems like it’s a little. But the authors of the study emphasize that increasing fiber intake by even one gram per day can positively affect health.
In addition, the scientists noticed that the group of gardeners increased their physical activity levels by about 42 minutes per week. Participants also noted a reduction in stress and anxiety levels.
These subjects also communicated with each other more often, that is, they had more social contacts than members of the control group.
Therefore, researchers believe that gardening is good for mental health and can reduce the risk of developing cancer and other non-communicable diseases.
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