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December 7, 2020
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Microgreens and Relieving Stress

Who has not experienced stress this year? I don’t see any hands being raised…

Bringing nature into our homes

Did you know that simply viewing a green space can promote relaxation and reduce stress levels? There have been numerous studies showing the benefits of gardening and growing one’s own food. Microgreens are an important part of horticulture therapy- easy and enjoyable to grow, with a variety of positive outcomes.

Enjoying a green space can help to overcome stress and fatigue and help reduce feelings of anger, frustration, and aggression. Research has shown that just looking at a green space can lower blood pressure and help a person focus and be more productive. While we are not all lucky enough to have an outdoor space and the right weather to grow a garden,  we can create our own mini green space inside our home. Microgreens are especially useful in developing an indoor green space.

Houseplants vs Microgreens

Unlike houseplants, your microgreen space will change frequently as you grow different varieties, giving fresh interest both to your green space and to your meals. An added benefit is that when you need a break from gardening, simply harvest what is there and refrain from planting for a few days or as long as necessary. As soon as you are ready to renew your green space, begin another planting cycle.

The speed of growth from seed to harvest is an important aspect of stress-reduction. When planting a traditional garden outside, the time to harvest is from 21 to 120 days or more.  Very little changes day to day other than the new crop of weeds. With microgreens, the time from planting to harvest is 10-14 days for most varieties. Each day, you will see an interesting change in your micro garden- and just the act of looking forward to seeing the next day’s growth helps to reduce stress.

Microgreens are full of stress-reducing nutrients

The crops fresh from your micro-garden are the tastiest and most nutritious food you can get. Good nutrition is one powerful stress-reducing tool. Along with exercise, eating a diet rich in micronutrients is the best way to not only boost our immunity but to heal the damage caused by unrelenting stress. Microgreens contain vitamins and minerals like potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese, and many vitamins including A, E, and C. In addition, microgreens are a great source of antioxidants. Each of these works to neutralize harmful molecules produced when your body is under stress.

Stress hits all ages, from children to the elderly

Stress in small amounts can be healthy and productive, but when it becomes overwhelming and constant it affects us both physically and emotionally. If you, your children, or others around you are experiencing overwhelming stress that affects sleep, eating, relationships, mental state, or physical state, I urge you to seek help from your doctor. Do what you can, like building green spaces around you and exercising to reduce the stress, but never be afraid or hesitant to ask for help.

For further reading:

Impact of the activity of gardening and food growing: Eriksson et al., 2011and Sahlin et al., 2014

Ulrich, R. S. (1984) View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science 224, 420-421.

Ulrich, R. S. (1999) Effects of gardens on health outcomes: theory and research. In: Cooper Marcus C. and Barnes M. (1999). Healing gardens: therapeutic benefits and design recommendations. John Wiley & Sons, New York, USA. pp 27-86.

Kaplan, R. (2001) The Nature of the View from Home Psychological Benefits. Environment and Behaviour, 33(4), 507-542

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