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Vegetable Gardening Can Improve Health Outcomes For Cancer Survivors, Study Finds

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In a study published in JAMA Network Open, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers – in collaboration with researchers from Auburn University – found that vegetable gardening improved health outcomes among cancer survivors.

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This study involved 381 cancer survivors aged 50 to 95 who were judged to be at a higher risk of chronic disease due to low fruit and vegetable intake and insufficient physical activity. Each participant received gardening supplies and mentorship from certified master gardeners. The researchers found that engaging in vegetable gardening increased the vegetable intake of the participants, as well as improving their strength, balance, agility, and gut microflora.

Ultimately, of course, the positive outcome of this study is not at all surprising. Fresh air, exercise, and an improved diet with a higher micronutrient intake are all essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. For anyone who is suffering from a chronic disease, or is at risk of one, engaging in such a program will invariably produce health benefits. If the fruit and vegetables grown are organic, the benefits will not only include a higher micronutrient intake but also a reduced exposure to toxic agricultural chemicals such as pesticides.

To read about a school gardening project that is being run by our Movement of Life team in Zimbabwe, see this article on our website.

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