5 Benefits of Growing Your Own Food – the Secret Key for Weight Loss

5 Benefits of Growing Your Own Food – the Secret Key for Weight Loss

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Do you grow your own food?

Did you know growing your own food is the secret key for healthy weight loss?


The thing is, you don’t need to have a farm or backyard to grow something. It can be as small as one pot in your kitchen for fresh herbs.


Do you want to start growing your own food and change your life?


YES, PLEASE!!!

GREAT! Let’s go through the 5 benefits of growing your own food for weight loss together!

1. Improved mood

Have you heard of the positive effect gardening can have on mental health?


It’s been three months since I started growing food on my patio, and I started to feel more enlightenment, excitement, and joy in my daily life. So, I started wondering about what kind of power my plants were giving me.

A group from Princeton University conducted interesting research between 2016 to 2017 to find out the relationship between growing your own food and happiness level.

370 people participated in the study in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in Minnesota.
In this study, they picked 4 urban areas and 2 suburban areas with various income groups.


The research group asked the participants to use an app to record their two positive emotions (happiness and meaningfulness) and 4 negative feelings (pain, sadness, fatigue, and stress) during their activity.


As a result, they found out people felt high happiness from gardening, which was pretty similar to leisure (watching movies or socializing with friends), biking, and eating out.

Interestingly, the study says amongst people who garden, people who grow their own food scored much higher overall in well-being compared to people who grew inedible plants. This paper tells you that both ornament gardening and vegetable gardening are good for your mental health, but growing your own food is even better.

You may be wondering, “But I don’t have a farm or backyard!”


Don’t worry. This study shows you can benefit from the same effect just growing your own food on your patio!

You may think you can receive great benefits from your food while you are taking care of them, but you can actually benefit from them by just looking at them!

What does this mean?

One Japanese study shows you can expect less stress, fear, anger, sadness, and even lower your blood pressure by viewing plants.


I wanted to show you why growing your own food can give a good impact on your mental health because your stress level greatly impacts your weight loss. So let’s take a look at the next section.

How stress can affect weight loss

You may rely on “comfort food” when you are stressed from work.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, if you are exposed to stress a lot, your adrenal glands (located above your kidneys) release a hormone called cortisol.

If your cortisol level goes up, your appetite will increase, and once the stressful thing passes, your cortisol level will be normalized. However, if your stress level doesn’t change, you may continue to have a problem.

Have you noticed you crave certain food when you are stressed? Like you feel like you have to have them to feel good?

In fact, you are more likely to crave food high in fat, sugar, or both when stressed. This happens because fatty and sugary foods have a feedback effect that dampens stress and emotion.

I explained the danger of stress in my previous post, and I suggest you to incorporate self-care daily to fight back against your stress.

2. You may start eating more veggies

Since I started growing vegetables, I started to see a tremendous change in my habits.

I started craving vegetables. I started choosing carrots with dip over chips at the supermarket, and I wondered if this had only happened to me or if it was some benefit everyone can receive from growing vegetables.

Dr. Helen Delichatsios at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital says


“When you grow your own food, you savor it more because of the effort it took to get to the table.”


HA!

I found the perfect explanation for my behavior. If you are having difficulty eating more veggies, growing your own food can be an answer. Growing your own food sounds time-consuming and complicated, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.

It’s also ok to fail. Growing your own food is an experiment in seeing what works and what doesn’t. Take a look at vegetables that are easy to grow. Herbs are easy to grow too, and you save money too!

Why eating more veggies is good for your weight loss

You may have heard a million times “Eat more veggies and fruit!” and you may be aware that you need to eat more of them.

Nurses and health professionals participated in one study, and researchers found that males and females who ate more vegetables and fruit over 24 years were more likely to lose weight compared to those who ate the same amount or decreased their intake.

However, you need to keep in mind that eating more veggies and fruits might not directly link to weight loss unless you are substituting veggies and fruits for the usual processed food.

Here are two main benefits of craving more vegetables:

1. Suffer less from unhealthy cravings

If you start craving more vegetables and fruits over chips, cakes, and cookies, you’re less likely to suffer from unhealthy food cravings and your weight loss journey will go more smoothly.

Researchers from the Department of Nutrition explained weight gain is connected with processed foods high in starches, refined grains, fats, and sugars such as chips, sodas, potatoes, both unprocessed and processed red meat consumption.

2. Gut microbe diversity

If you eat more veggies, you are likely consume more fiber. What does this mean?

A research group from King’s College London examined how gut microbiomes and high-fiber intake can impact on long-term weight loss.

As a result, they found gut microbe diversity negatively impacts long-term weight gain, especially if your fiber intake is low in your diet. They also found specific types of microbes have a big influence on weight gain, but this researcher group concluded that the complexity of gut microbes is the key to long-term weight loss.

3. You may start choosing your food more carefully

Another benefit of growing your own food is you will start to be more curious about the food you choose.

Dr. Helen Delichatsios at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital says

“Backyard gardening can inspire you to take an interest in the origins of your food and make better choices about what you put on your plate,”

The benefits of growing your own food include

  • You get to decide whether you want to grow your vegetables with pesticide or not
  • You get to eat fresh and nutritious vegetables

You will feel joy and satisfaction when you get to harvest your own vegetables, and start to appreciate the taste of vegetables more.

As a result, you will find yourself spending more time at the fresh vegetable section at the supermarket or farmer’s market!

4. May increase healthy habits

Have you ever experienced eating that one piece of chocolate that led to ten more? Like “I broke my rule, so it doesn’t matter now!” I’ve been there too.


Have you experienced choosing healthy food over some snacks after you finished a workout?

Charles Duhigg, who wrote a book called The Power of Habit, talks about keystone habits in his book, which he explains small habits have a ripple effect and influence other aspects of people’s lives.

If you are struggling to change your habits for weight loss, you don’t need to change them all at once. You can start one thing at first, and you will find yourself building healthy habits, and growing your own food seems to have a great ripple effect for your stress, eating habits, and food choice.

5. Bonus effect: Amazing things for the earth

Did you know that your food travels 1500 miles on average?

According to The Eco Guide Organization, agricultural goods are one of the top two products carried by semi-truck in the US. Semi-trucks usually run on 5.6 miles per gallon of diesel with 34,000 pounds of cargo, and each gallon of diesel burned releases 23.38 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

This means each pound of food is releasing 0.18 pounds of CO2 in transit!

You may not be able to grow all the vegetables you need from your patio, but if many people start doing this, what kind of impact can we have on the earth? If you grow your own food and start buying more food locally, we can start making a big change together.

In fact, the Worldwatch Institute says buying locally produced food generates 5 to 17 times less carbon dioxide compared to long distance transported food.

What’s more is we can clean the air by growing our own food. What does that mean?

You may have learned about photosynthesis in elementary school. Plants can produce oxygen and take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Again, if all of us start growing a little bit of food on our patio or backyard, we can do a huge favor for mother nature!


Let’s start growing food for ourselves and for the earth!

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