Dan Buettner, a well-known American author and researcher, spent 12 years visiting the communities with the most people living long in the world (over 100 years old) including Okinawa Island (Japan), Barbagia area (Sardinia, Italy) and Loma Linda (California, USA). Among these, Okinawa is known as the “longevity” island because the percentage of people over 100 years old living healthy is the highest in the world.
Buettner calls these areas “Green Zones”. He and his research team wanted to find out what the residents here have in common, what helps them to have a long, happy and healthy life.
A few things that can be easily seen in the community of people with long lives are a diet rich in green vegetables, a sociable lifestyle and a moderate amount of exercise. But another surprising thing in common is that people in these places love gardening even in their old age.
Gardening helps you immerse yourself in nature
Exposure to the sun, fresh air, and grass has many health benefits. Doctors in Scotland (UK) often encourage patients with high blood pressure and anxiety disorders to go for a walk.
In 1984, environmentalist Roger Ulrich found that gallbladder removal surgery patients recovered faster and had to take less pain medication if their ward had windows facing nature. .
He said: “Nature has the ability to restore health. Our body is a biological machine that is always ready to respond to the conditions of nature, where we have evolved. Humans tend to respond positively to favorable natural conditions.
Gardening is great exercise
Is gardening as exhausting as we do triathlons? The answer is of course no, but gardening is still considered a form of exercise for the body. Different types of gardening require different levels of physical activity.
Provide a source of nutritious food
People living in the “Green Zone” often eat the vegetables, tubers and fruits that they can grow. If you garden, you will not only have more green vegetables in each meal, but you will also get the maximum nutrition from this food group than buying it from outside. Items that are sold at the market, supermarkets are usually harvested a few days before. According to research, most fruits and vegetables lose 30% of their nutrients within three days of harvest. Cooking right away will also make the dish more delicious.
Practice job arrangement skills and relieve stress
Working in the garden and being in direct contact with the natural world is also a way to help you relax your mind.
In a study done in the Netherlands, 30 people were assigned a stressful job and then they had 30 minutes to read a book or do gardening. By reporting each person and examining the amount of cortisol (“stress hormone”) in their bodies, the scientists found that gardeners were able to reduce stress more quickly.
Gardening is also considered an effective form of meditation.
There are many types of gardening that you can try. You can grow vegetable beds in the garden or plant pots of tomatoes, lettuce, herbs on sunny windowsills. Whichever form you choose, give yourself the chance to get your hands on the dirt and add years of your life.