You've heard gardening is good for the soul...but did you know science can now quantify that (with studies as proof)? And did you know bacteria in soil could be a hidden health gem to make you function better and feel great?
Science is unearthing more and more reasons gardening is good for you. Here's what researchers have dug up regarding the awesome health benefits of gardening.
This Dutch study showed lower cortisol (the so-called "stress hormone") levels in people who completed a difficult task and then gardened, v. people who completed a difficult task and then read. Balanced cortisol levels are linked to liver health, immune system function, stress response, anxiety and self-esteem.
Meanwhile, Swedish researchers found a 27% lowered risk of stroke and heart attack in gardeners over 60. More great news: a 30% reduction of death risk due to all factors was noted among gardeners in the study.
A 16-year long study showed daily gardeners had reduced risks for dementia (36%) and Alzheimer's Disease later in life. One single cause was not found for this correlation; rather, it appeared to involve a number of factors including physical manual dexterity, brain dexterity and other conditions of daily gardening.
It seems there really is such a thing as "too clean..." at least as regards garden soil. Soil contains bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae, which enter the body via the skin, mouth or inhalation. Amazingly, a positive balance of these bacteria can not only lift mood but also help reduce asthma and alleviate psoriasis.
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