Everyone knows it’s important to be healthy, but what does that mean exactly? Eating the right food and keeping fit goes a long way in keeping your body healthy, and it definitely helps you deal with stress and fight illness.
Getting enough sleep can and will help your cognitive function. Not everyone understands what eating right means; Or that eating the right kinds of foods will help you make better lifestyle choices. One of the keys to eating right is to eat organic.
What is Organic?
The term organic specifically refers to how a product is grown and processed. The United States currently has an organic certification which requires fruits and vegetables to be grown without conventional pesticides, genetic modification, or petroleum-based or sewage-based fertilizers. It also states that organic meats should be raised on organic feed and without antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic essentially means fewer chemicals and less processed food throughout its life cycle.
The biggest benefit of eating organic produce is a reduced amount of pesticides and heavy metals entering your body. Many pesticides are linked to health concerns such as cancer or even infant developmental delays.
Over the years, consuming conventional produce and meat can cause a build-up of chemicals in our bodies. This build-up can lead to health issues such as a weakened immune system and headaches.
The widespread use of conventional pesticides is resulting in the emergence of super pests which are weeds or bugs that don’t respond to traditional pesticides and require harsher chemicals to control them. One such example of a harsh chemical developed to control these super pests is Agent Orange. Unfortunately, it does more harm than good as this chemical response is hazardous to our health and to the environment.
It’s commonly known that consuming heavy metals, like aluminum, can lead to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but did you know there can be heavy metals in the soil used to grow your vegetables or fruit? The most common heavy metal found at toxic levels in produce is cadmium.
Cadmium is a known carcinogen or cancer-causing agent found naturally in the Earth’s crust. It’s shown to primarily cause kidney problems. Organic gardening does not eliminate the cadmium found in the produce, but it does significantly decrease its levels.
Another benefit of eating organic produce is the enhanced nutrition found in the produce. For example, organic produce can have antioxidant levels up to 69 percent higher than in conventionally grown food. Antioxidants are important for your day to day health because they help protect your cells from damage.
This damage can come as a result of exposure to toxins or carcinogens which can cause cells to mutate. Organic meats, dairy, and eggs contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for bone health and preventing plaque buildup on artery walls.
Organic Gardening at Home
Eating organic can sometimes be a costly endeavor, so many people are choosing to grow their own food at home. Growing your own food allows you to control the growing process completely so you can ensure you’re getting the most pesticide-free and nutritious produce.
If you have a backyard, the most common way to begin a garden is with a large raised bed. If you are tight on space, many people choose to do a container garden, meaning they use smaller pots to plant in and store them on a patio or in a window.
Many people choose to start their garden from seeds so they can control the quality from the start of the plant. If this is you, you should locate a company that produces completely organic, non-GMO seeds.
If you don’t wish to start your garden completely from scratch, seek out a local nursery that deals with organic plants. This is the best way to ensure your plants have not had any pesticides sprayed on them by mistake or come into contact with a conventional plant.
Weeding your garden every other week will ensure your plants aren’t being strangled by weeds or foreign plants. Remember that the weeds removed from your garden can be put into a compost pile if you choose to compost.
Don’t use any conventional weed killers or pest killers on your plants as this will defeat the purpose of an organic garden. For example, diatomaceous earth can be used to prevent certain spiders, silverfish, and ants from eating your crop. A strong vinegar concentrate can also be put on the weeds to dry them out and make their removal process easier. If you’re unsure if something is sensible for organic gardening, research all the ingredients first!
Gardening as Therapy and Treatment
It’s widely known that getting some fresh air can be restorative to a person’s overall well-being, and although gardening hasn’t been put through rigorous scientific study, working in a garden can give a person a more positive outlook on life. A further benefit is the vitamin D you get from being outdoors, which is important for calcium absorption in your body. A vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for depression, and gardening is one of the activities recommended treatments and therapies used to treat depression.
Encouraging an individual to fill their time with a new and interesting hobby like gardening, can help replace a sense of loss from the change in lifestyle or community necessary to prevent relapse. Nurturing living things in a garden can be a great living parallel to the slow and steady process of addiction recovery.
SMC Recovery is an addiction center that prides itself on understanding an individual’s needs; they know that no one person can be treated the same way as another. Gardening is one such unique tool that can help someone in addiction recovery occupy their time in a meaningful way, with the added bonus of gaining a new skill. Plus, a healthy diet is always encouraged in treatment and therapy for addiction, depression, or any other mental disorder.
Growing your own organic food can give a person a sense of purpose; it can help you eat healthier and improve your physical health by spending time outdoors.