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Gardening to Boost Your Immune System During Stress

Gardening to Boost Your Immune System During Stress

Having a garden can be a work of art. You can plant beautiful flowers that can blossom with color all year round. Or you can have lush, delicious foods that you grow yourself. Your garden will be a haven for you, but more than that, it can give your immune system a boost.


You’d be surprised at all of the benefits your immune system can gain from spending time in a garden. It’s a great form of exercise, which helps gives your body a surge of energy and hormone release.


Avoid the Hygiene Hypothesis Through Gardening


There are all sorts of warnings out on staying healthy. These warnings contain a laundry list of what you should avoid so that you don't get sick, you protect your immune system and you don’t become burdened with stress.


The Hygiene Hypothesis is based in the belief that you can live a life so free of bacteria and illnesses that it actually worsens your immune system. You end up catching whatever it is that’s going around because your immune system isn’t strong enough.


When you add stress to the picture, your immune system undergoes even more depletion and it gets harder and harder to bounce back each time you get sick - each time you get stressed out.


The reason that all of this is coming to a head in today’s society is that we’re living in a world that’s worked hard to eradicate anything that can make us sick. Because of that, our immune systems don’t have a chance to flex their muscles, so to speak.


Any muscle, any part of your body that’s not activated on a regular basis, will automatically become weaker. When your immune system isn’t put to the test, when it isn’t pushed into activation mode, it doesn’t work as well.


It becomes puny. The eroding of the immune system is caused by the cleanliness in which we live our lives. There is hand soap containing anti-bacterial agents. Shampoos that fight bacteria can be purchased.


Antibiotics are given before surgery “just in case” and they’re prescribed by dentists and doctors to “ward off” anything that might make you sick. With the Hygiene Hypothesis, you’ll see that studies show that the problem of not letting the immune system have a regular work out contributes to many illnesses and common ailments.


When you work hard to prevent bacteria and germs from touching your life, you’re more at risk for things like allergies, asthma and skin conditions. Many studies suggest that the reason for the growing number of allergy diagnosis in kids is because the immune system doesn’t get a chance to fight off things when it’s over-protected.


When your system is over-protected, you can also end up having to fight the same illnesses repeatedly. When you add stress to the mix, your poor immune system just can’t handle what’s going on.


That’s why you need to forget about avoiding every kind of bacteria - because not all of them are bad for you. In fact, some of the bacteria helps you and without it in your life, you simply won’t be as strong and you won’t be able to fight off illnesses or stress the way that it was intended for you to.


The Friendly Bacteria Living in Your Garden


If you played in the dirt as a kid, you might have heard your mom tell you to get out of the dirt. There was a negative connotation that not only did playing in the dirt mess up your clothes but that it could make you sick.


The reason that soil has gotten a bad rap over the years as being something to avoid is because it contains bacteria. There’s a mindset that since bacteria is bad and lives in the dirt, then all bacteria living in the dirt should be left alone.


It’s true that the dirt does contain bacteria, but it’s not true that it’s something to be avoided. There is friendly bacteria in the soil that actually boosts your immune system and can help protect you from illnesses as well as help you be able to deal with the symptoms of stress.


The friendly bacteria found in the soil is called mycobacterium vaccae. Unfortunately, not many people get to experience the helpful ability of this bacteria. It can strengthen the immune system in both children and adults.


This bacteria happens to be nonpathogenic, so it’s not harmful to the body. Plus, the more often you come in contact with the friendly bacteria, the tougher your immune system will become.


Not only can the bacteria boost your immune system during times of stress, but it can also be used to help keep depression at bay. It does this because the bacteria works to help boost the amount of serotonin that your body produces.


Serotonin works as a neurotransmitter and is connected to helping the function of cells - including the cells that help you with how you feel. So, this chemical acting as a neurotransmitter is boosted by the bacteria that you’ll find in dirt.


When you get this boost, you feel better as far as your moods go. It’s a healthier, more natural way to boost your immune system during stress than it is to take stress relieving medications.


So when you decide that you’re going to take up the hobby of gardening to help alleviate stress, there are all kinds of extra benefits just waiting to give your body a hand in feeling better.


Grow Superfoods to Boost Your Immune System


There are foods, then there are superfoods. Superfoods are foods that give you more healthy benefits than ordinary foods. Superfoods are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are known to boost the immune system.


Not only that, but they’re foods that can help to protect your body from illnesses and diseases when you’re stressed. You might know that making sure you have fruits in your everyday eating plan is a good idea.


However, some fruits are more powerful than others are because they’re superfoods. Blueberries happen to be one of the superfoods. This tasty little berry actually works to reduce stress.


Not only is it a healthy addition to your diet but it’s jam packed with antioxidants, which work to keep you healthy and fight off illnesses. But that’s not all that blueberries can do.


These delightful fruits are known to help lower stress and alleviate the symptoms most often associated with stress. Plus, the berries can help you with mood stability. They’re known to calm irritation, smooth out moods that make you feel anxious and can even battle the side effects that are associated with depression.


These berries are low maintenance foods to grow so they don’t take a lot of time or effort to bring them to harvest. You can plant several blueberry bushes anywhere in your yard.


Oranges are another superfood that you’ll want to add to your garden. Many people are surprised to discover that oranges can be grown right in their own backyard. You may have thought that oranges were grown mostly in places with a lot of sunshine like Florida or California.


But you can grow oranges anywhere. You just have to make sure you watch them closely for pests and that you keep them moist - especially during the summer months when it’s easier for the trees to dry out.


Some people start with dwarf orange trees. These fruits are packed full of antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals that boost your immune system. They contain vitamin C which is a well-known stress buster that can help your body stay healthy both physically and emotionally.


One of the easiest superfoods that you can grow in your garden is an avocado. These superfoods are loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as being packed with potassium.


The ingredients in an avocado help your body with stress because they stabilize the hormones that regulate the stress. When you eat them, they get to work to lower the amount of stress hormones you have in your body so you feel the effects.


Plus, they’re also known to bring blood pressure levels down, which can also help make you feel less stressed. It’s easy to grow an avocado right from the seed. You have to put the seed in just a little bit of water until it sprouts roots.


Once you have roots and a stem from the seed, you can plant the seed in your garden. You’ll need a lot of sunshine, but other than minimal moisture, the food grows fairly well on its own.


Another superfood that you can grow in your garden to help boost your immune system is spinach. Like other superfoods, it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals. But it also contains magnesium.


This mineral is vital in helping to lower the amount of stress hormones that your body produces when you’re feeling stressed. On top of that, it works to ease the anxiety that you feel when you get stressed.


It doesn’t take a lot of this superfood to give you that healthy benefit either. A healthy diet of this stress buster will have you consuming about a cup full with your eating plan. Spinach is easy to use in dishes and it’s easy to grow in the garden because it’s hardy and grows fast.


You can choose either smooth or savoyed leaf varieties for your garden to gain the stress beating benefits the food offers. Tomatoes are another superfood that you can grow right in your own garden and this food is a great stress buster.


They’re full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, A and E as well as loaded with vitamins from the B family. They contain antioxidants, particularly lycopene, which helps your body reduce your risk of developing certain cancers.


Not only can lycopene help you live longer, it also lowers stress. You’ll also want to make sure that your garden contains asparagus which is a popular superfood. This vegetable is loaded with vitamins and minerals but more importantly, it contains a lot of folic acid.


Folic acid is known as a mood stabilizer as well as a mood booster because they aid the body in the production of serotonin that can help to relieve the symptoms of stress. When you plant asparagus crowns, it’s always better to plant them in a raised bed and plant them about a foot or two apart for best results.


Asparagus is a hardy vegetable that doesn’t take a lot of monitoring to grow well. Finally, you’ll also want to make sure that you grow kale in your garden. This superfood is one of the top immune system boosters when it comes to helping the body handle stress.


It’s loaded with antioxidants including vitamin C. The food is widely known for its ability to fight off the free radicals that cause damage to the body as well as open you up to diseases.


You can easily grow the plant regardless of when you plant it. You need to make sure it has sunshine in the cooler temperatures and shade in the summer temperatures along with moist but not saturated soil.


 You Get Vitamin D with Gardening


Most people think that they get plenty of vitamin D when they drink milk or eat dairy products that contain the vitamin. But vitamin D deficiencies are on the rise and it’s tied in to how your body deals with stress.


Whenever you’re under stress, your body starts working to produce cortisol. The more stressed that you are, the more cortisol that you produce. This cycle then affects your vitamin D or rather the way that your body can use the amount of the vitamin that you get.


When there’s more cortisol production in the body, it prohibits the vitamin from being absorbed. So regardless of how much vitamin D you get in milk or dairy products, your body isn’t getting any of the healthy benefits from it.


With a lack of the right amount of vitamin D, you’ll start to feel the effects. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to asthma. It also causes a higher rate of depression because the body isn’t producing the right amount of serotonin.


When you don’t have the right amount of serotonin, you’re more at risk for depression and other emotional upsets. Without a healthy serotonin production, you’ll feel more stressed and the symptoms may be worse.


Fortunately, there’s a way to stop the body from producing high amounts of cortisol that cause you to stay stressed. You have to get vitamin D and it needs to be absorbed in greater amounts and easier.


The best way to do that is to get outside and start gardening. When you spend time gardening, it relaxes you, allowing the cortisol level to drop. As the cortisol level drops, your body is able to absorb the amount of vitamin D that you get from being out in the sunshine.


With the absorption of sunshine, your immune system gets a boost even if you’ve been dealing with chronic stress. The benefits of gardening on your immune system shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only is gardening easy and low cost, but it can provide you with healthy foods, a healthier body and a mind that’s at peace more often than not.

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