Spring is a wonderful time for older adults to eat locally-grown vegetables and fruits in season, packed with nutrients to refresh your mind and body. Eat five daily servings of vegetables and fruit that promote health and longevity. Boost your physical health and mental well-being by cultivating an indoor herb garden. Ease stress and lift your mood by enjoying tasty, nourishing meals, and starting a vegetable garden.
Spring is a wonderful time for older adults to eat locally-grown vegetables and fruits that are colourful, delicious and packed with healthy nutrients to refresh your mind and body.
Creating your own indoor or balcony garden by planting seeds for vegetables, fruits, or herbs allows you to enjoy the freshest nutrients possible and the restorative health benefits of gardening.
Here are six ways that cultivating and eating nourishing springtime foods can boost your physical and mental well-being:
- Cultivate an indoor herb garden
Cilantro, basil, dill, rosemary and chives are healthy spring herbs that can grow easily indoors, in a window box, or in containers on a balcony. Herbs and spices can add flavour and nutrition while helping reduce the amount of salt and fat in foods, and they offer additional health benefits as good sources of antioxidants,* advises Mayo Clinic.
- Boost mental well-being
Gardening and food growing can help people look after their mental well-being.* These activities can reduce the risk of developing and help with recovery from mental health challenges,* reported Mind, a United Kingdom charity.
- Eat five produce servings daily for longevity
Asparagus, swish chard, carrots, strawberries and mangos are just a few of the many spring vegetables and fruits than can add variety in taste, colour and nutrients to your daily fare. People who ate a produce-rich diet of five servings of vegetables and fruit lived longer and had a lower risk of death from heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease than those who ate two daily servings,* reported a 2021 Circulation study.
- Consume more veggies and fruit by growing them
People who grew food ate 40% more fruits and vegetables than those who did not, and they were 3.5 times more likely to consume the recommended five daily portions,* according to a City University London report.
- Double down on stress
People who gardened for 30 minutes improved their mood and had reduced levels of cortisol, a key stress hormone,* according to a Journal of Health Psychology study. Eating nutritiously is also a good defense against stress,* advises HealthLink BC. Use mealtimes to relax and enjoy the flavour of foods, avoid skipping meals and limit caffeine and alcohol consumption.*
- Get started on a vegetable patch
Get ready for planting an outdoor vegetable garden by removing weeds, preparing the soil and buying seeds. Gardening offers sensory stimulation, helps maintain fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and improves older adults’ overall physical activity, social engagement, and quality of life,* reports McMaster University.
Easy access to tasty, nutritious foods is especially important for the health and safety of older adults amid the pandemic, as there is no need to go out to shop or arrange for someone to pick up groceries for you. Chartwell Retirement Residences offers residents nutritious, flavourful meals, incorporating fresh, locally-sourced ingredients of the season in a warm, welcoming setting that makes healthy eating easy and appealing.