Unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and social disconnection are the main risk factors that can be mitigated by: nature-based community interventions, How to work in a community garden.
The scientific study carried out by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder (United States) in collaboration with the Center for the Global Health Institute (ISGlobal) in Barcelona has shown that people who start gardening eat more fiber and do more physical activity, two ways to reduce the risk of cancer and chronic disease. They also experience less stress and anxiety. The results of the research were published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health.
Gardening reduces the risk of cancer and chronic diseases
The findings provide tangible evidence of community gardening and gardening. can play an important role in the prevention of cancer, Lead author Jill Litt, an ISGlobal researcher and professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, explains chronic diseases and mental health disorders.
So far we’ve had testimonials from people who have taken care of their gardens and said they’re feeling better, but there were no studies to prove it. Some articles have linked gardening to a healthier diet, but it wasn’t clear whether people who ate a healthier diet liked gardens better or if they were the ones who improved their caregivers’ diet.
To answer this question, the researchers recruited 291 non-horticultural adults with an average age of 41 from the Denver, Colorado area. In addition, more than half of them had low incomes. Half assigned to a group community gardening, the other half was the control group, who had to wait a year to start gardening. Both groups took regular surveys of their nutritional intake and mental health, took body measurements, and wore activity monitors.
More Fiber, Less Inflammation and Better Mental Health
People working in orchards increased fiber intake by an average of 1.4 grams (the recommended minimum intake is 35 g per day) compared to the control group. Fiber has a profound effect on inflammatory and immune responses and influences processes on which health depends, such as food metabolism, the health of the gut microbiota, and susceptibility to diabetes and certain types of cancer. In addition, this group increased their physical activity by an average of 42 minutes per week.
Participants in the study also reduced stress and anxiety levels. Social connectivity and time spent outside also improved. “It’s not just about fruits and vegetables. It’s also about being in a natural outdoors with other people,” explains Litt.
As a result, the study says, “community gardening can provide a nature-based solution, It is accessible to a diverse population, including new gardeners, to improve well-being and important behavioral risk factors for noncommunicable and chronic diseases.”
The research was funded by the American Cancer Society, the University of Colorado Cancer Center, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Michigan AgBioResearch National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
What are public gardens?
community gardens where people farm collectively. Many are promoted by city halls and are geared towards seniors. They are also created by neighborhood associations and schools.
According to research, benefits include proximity to nature, access to tools to grow, consume and share food, opportunities for outdoor physical activity, contact with a network of neighbors with a common interest in gardening and activity that promotes cognitive stimulation and promotes meaningful experiences.
Therefore, community garden networks can reduce risk factors for cancer and other chronic diseases and promoting health.
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