Can Gardening Help Fight Cancer?
Cancer can mercilessly strip life’s pleasures from its victims. Often, a person with cancer can lose touch with simple, everyday joys. But things don’t need to be hopeless. Rich pleasures are available to anyone with enough mobility to step into their back yard. If you are suffering from cancer, why not consider planting a garden?
Gardening offers simple yet profound meaningful experiences, allowing a patient to bring life into a world that can feel icy and harsh.
Gardening is a life-changing pastime. When you garden, you connect yourself with many things: seasonal change, fresh air, your evening meal. For the cancer patient, this sense of connection can be invigorating. Stepping each morning into the back yard’s fresh soil offers up:
Exercise. Gardening doesn’t just grow your mind’s health, it also provides for your body. A simple gardening session is nearly as beneficial as aerobic exercise. Exercise can reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol, giving you more control over your body. Make sure, though, to ask your doctor before beginning to push yourself physically.
Mental health. Tending fresh veggies, digging into dirt, and breathing open air can put you at peace. A half hour of weeding cultivates mental peace and gives you space to relax, reflect, and enjoy life from moment to moment.
Fresh Food! The best part of gardening is that you can get groceries shopping from your own backyard. No matter how fresh your local supermarket’s produce is, it can’t beat the rush you’ll get when you chop up carrots picked thirty seconds ago.
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To someone who’s never gardened, the task can look intimidating. All those bookstores, websites, and magazines offering up advice can make gardening look impossibly complex. But it doesn’t have to be.
One of the great things about gardening is that it can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. You don’t need to jump straight into organic tomatoes and brussels sprouts. Start with a few easy plants. Buy some already-grown, ready-to-plant veggies. Use a rototiller. Ask a loved one for help. And keep things small.
Some Plants to Get You Started
Not sure where to start? Try these out:
Herbs. Herbs are easy grow and easy to cook with. You can grow a season’s worth of dill or oregano without breaking a sweat. And if you think you store-bought herbs are just as good as the real thing, think again. Freshly chopped basil is a revelation. You’ll quickly add cooking to your hobbies list!
Winter greens. Green things are easy to grow, easy to prepare, and rich with nutrients. With fresh spinach, collards, or kale at your fingertips, your yard will look as beautiful as your dinner plate.
Succulents. Not interested in eating your garden? No big deal. Succulents are a great pick for those interested in beauty for beauty’s sake. And they’re easy to care for.
You can develop new, meaningful hobbies despite your condition. Cancer doesn’t have to win. When you garden, you create life, beauty, and joy. No matter how big or small your garden, and no matter which kind of garden you prefer, this hobby can help you live well in spite of anything your disease throws at you.