Risk of Cancer and Mental Illness Can Be Reduced by Gardening


eMediNexus    16 January 2023

According to a study published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, gardening can have a significant influence on the mental and physical well-being of an individual. This study, funded by the American Cancer Society, was the first-ever randomized, controlled study of community gardening.


The study revealed that participants who started gardening ate more fibre and engaged in more physical activity, which are two recognized methods to lower the risk of cancer and chronic illnesses. Additionally, they saw a marked reduction in their stress and anxiety levels. The lead author of the study stated that multiple studies have shown that people who do gardening often consume more fruits and vegetables. Also, they have better control over their weight. However, there is uncertainty about the impact of gardening on health or whether healthier individuals just tend to garden.


The researchers recruited 291 nongardening individuals for their study. Among the participants, more than a third were Hispanic, and more than half came from low-income households. In the study, half were assigned to the community gardening group, and the other half were assigned to the control group, which was asked to wait one year to start gardening.


The findings of the study showed that by the autumn season, participants in the gardening group were eating 1.4 grams more fibre per day, or an increase of 7% in comparison to the control group. They also saw that gardening activities increased the physical activity of the participants by 42 minutes per week. 


(Source: https://theprint.in/health/study-gardening-can-help-lower-cancer-risk-improve-mental-health/1316461/)

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