For decades, eating fruits and vegetables has been promoted as the best way to maintain a healthy diet. Certain fruits and vegetables can alleviate many health issues, including musculoskeletal issues. Although nobody can deny the nutritional aspect of eating fresh produce, doing so benefits your health in other ways.

1. You’ll learn how to grow your own food

Everyone should know how to grow their own food. If you’re ever stuck in an emergency situation where you don’t have a food supply, vegetable seeds and the knowledge of how to grow a garden will save your life.

Being self-sufficient is important. You need to know how to grow food so that you can feed yourself, your family, and even your neighbors if anything does happen.

2. You’ll spend more time in the garden

Once you have a vegetable garden, you’ll want to spend more time with your plants. If it sounds strange to want to spend time with your plants, you’ll understand once you have a garden!

It’s fun to watch how fast beans climb their strings and how quickly squash can grow. One day you’ll notice your grapes are starting to form, and in a few days they’ll almost be ripe. 

The simplicity of tending to a garden is a significant source of stress relief. We’re always glued to our computers and smartphones, managing emails and notifications. This constant interaction with devices is exhausting and tedious. Once you start digging around in the garden, you’ll feel a huge relief.

There’s something soothing about digging your hands into the dirt and growing food from seed. According to a report from CNN, gardening can ease stress, keep you limber, and improve your mood. Spending more time in the garden has been shown to improve mood and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

You’ll also enjoy wandering around snagging a cherry tomato or a bean pod while you check out your garden. Just remember that some vegetables are better cooked than raw. For example, veggies that contain carotenoids (like carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes) are fat-soluble compounds and are better for you when cooked. Your body converts these carotenoids to vitamin A, which helps to prevent cataracts and other age-related eye problems.

3. You’ll have more food than you can eat

Another benefit to having a vegetable garden is that you’ll end up with more food than you can possibly eat. That means you’ll have plenty of food to share with friends, family, neighbors, and your local food bank.

You might be surprised to learn that many food banks do accept donations of fresh produce. Your local food co-op might also be interested in selling your produce. Most food co-ops aren’t in business to make huge profits, but to keep local farmers in business. By donating your excess produce to a co-op, you’re keeping the local food economy strong.

4. You’ll want to learn new recipes

As you eat more fruits and vegetables, you’ll come across produce you’ve never eaten before, like fiddleheads, cholla buds, and sorrel. When you start tasting new veggies, you’ll want to learn new recipes that include these unusual vegetables. When you start cooking meals for your friends and family, they’ll enjoy your cooking more and you’ll bond more over your meals.

5. You’ll eventually lose your taste for junk food

Have you ever wondered why you can eat so much junk food, but real food fills you up? Fast food is not only filled with chemicals that induce hunger, but are strategically designed to prevent you from feeling satisfied. For example, chicken nuggets are often deep fried before being frozen for transport. Once they arrive at the fast food restaurant, they’re deep fried again. This loads more and more fat into the chicken pieces. The sweet and salty dipping sauces layer salt and sugar into the meal, which is the precise combination that leaves you feeling unsatisfied and wanting more.

When you focus on eating vegetables, your taste for junk food will eventually fade and you won’t crave any of it.

Vegetables support your body and mind

By eating healthy, organic, fresh produce, you’re being good to your body and mind. Whether you’re digging around in your garden or looking for new produce at the grocery store, keep your eyes on the veggies to positively impact your overall health.