Looking for a healthy hobby this summer? Gardening, particularly gardening with herbs, can provide a wealth of benefits for the body and mind. Of course, any type of gardening can be quite a workout; all that bending up and down, digging, and raking, work to strengthen the arms, back, and abs. Exercising outside is also a great stress-reliever, and, as many green thumbs know, you can find a lot of personal satisfaction in growing your own food. However, growing herbs is particularly wonderful because of how easy and inexpensive they are to grow. Herbs are also rich in a variety of vitamins and antioxidants that can produce healthy effects in the body. Here are a few great options for any home garden (or a sunny windowsill!):
Basil. Basil is a fragrant, versatile herb rich in vitamin A and magnesium. Some studies have shown that basil may help control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Peppermint. Peppermint, often used in tea, contains manganese, copper, and vitamin C. Studies have found that peppermint may reduce discomfort from indigestion. In addition, some people use it to relieve cold and flu symptoms.
Rosemary. Rosemary, a delicious addition to grilled meats and vegetables, contains vitamins A, C, and B6, calcium, fiber, and iron. One study found that adding it to a marinade prevented carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds) from forming in grilled meats. Other studies have also found that its fragrance may improve cognition and short-term memory.
Thyme. Thyme, commonly used in cooking, contains vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and manganese. However, it also has antibacterial uses; some people use thyme tea to treat upper respiratory conditions like bronchitis and whooping cough.
While herbs can provide many benefits, itís important to talk to your doctor about any herbs that you are taking medicinally, as some herbs may have unwanted side-effects in people with particular health conditions.
Source: LA Times