Optimal - The Blog

April 12, 2023

Gardening is Good for Your Heart, Mind, and Soul

Gardening, or even a walk through the garden, is an elixir that is literally right at our fingertips. 

Gardening not only gets you into your "green space" but gets you a bit of exercise, stretching, sunshine, and fresh air (hopefully!).

Studies show that just being around more green space reduces stress, anxiety, and even depression. Therapeutic gardens were strongly (and wisely) encouraged by Florence Nightingale (Thompson 2018).

A meta-analysis of research around the globe concluded that there was robust evidence of the beneficial effects that gardening can have on your health and well-being. These benefits include (Soga 2016):


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood disturbance
  • Stress
  • Weight


  • Cognitive function
  • Connection with nature
  • Life satisfaction
  • Physical activity
  • Sense of community
  • Quality of life

Not only can the physical experience of gardening be beneficial, but consuming the fruits of your labor, literally fruit, along with vegetables, herbs, and spices, is healthy for your body and mind. Here is a helpful hint... all of these important foods are part of the health-promoting Mediterranean Diet, a pattern that helps fight against heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and even cancer (Serra-Majem 2020).

Herbs and spices are especially powerful elixirs in a small package. They contain vitamins, minerals, sulfur compounds, polyphenols, flavonoids, and many other compounds that profoundly support health. Some of the most nourishing herbs and spices include black pepper, chili pepper, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, curry, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, oregano, rosemary, sage, and turmeric. Their benefits include (Jiang 2019):

    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Antioxidant
    • Antimicrobial
    • Anti-tumorogenic
    • Blood pressure lowering
    • Cholesterol-lowering
    • Gastroprotective
    • Glucose lowering
    • Liver-protective
    • Neuroprotective
So, coming full circle, you can tend to your garden and your health all at the same time!

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Jiang, T Alan. “Health Benefits of Culinary Herbs and Spices.” Journal of AOAC International vol. 102,2 (2019): 395-411. doi:10.5740/jaoacint.18-0418

Serra-Majem, Lluís et al. “Updating the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid towards Sustainability: Focus on Environmental Concerns.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 17,23 8758. 25 Nov. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijerph17238758

Soga, Masashi et al. “Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis.” Preventive medicine reports vol. 5 92-99. 14 Nov. 2016, doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.11.007

Thompson, Richard. “Gardening for health: a regular dose of gardening.” Clinical medicine (London, England) vol. 18,3 (2018): 201-205. doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.18-3-201

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