Alzheimer's Doctor San Diego - Dr. Jason Shumard, D.C.

 Alzheimer's Specialist San Diego - Grow a Garden to Guard Your Brain Function

It might not be obvious, but growing a home garden has been linked to longevity, boosts in emotional and social health, and healthier diets. So with that in mind, it makes sense how a home garden can also have a positive effect on your brain health. Growing your own food, whether it’s in your backyard or the community garden can help keep your brain functioning at optimal levels. Here’s how.

In the current, standard American diet (SAD), ultra-processed foods are implicated in the increase of chronic disease and inflammatory states within the body.

1. Activity

Living a sedentary lifestyle is often linked to dangerous and significant cognitive impairment, so it’s important to keep moving, even if in small amounts. A light activity like gardening can help prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease because it allows you to get more sun, which means you’re going to get extra vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiencies are linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline, so simply going out to garden is a great way to keep your vitamin D levels up.

2. Staying Fresh

Commercially grown produce has half the vitamins and minerals that your grandfather’s produce had due to the amount of pesticides and insecticides used. When you grow your own garden, you have the power to control the quality of your soil, which means you get a pretty significant nutrient boost. And since the USDA suggests eating 9-13 servings of fruits and veggies a day, you’ll be getting more nutrients eating your own produce than you would from produce that has been sitting in a warehouse for weeks before sitting on your market shelf.

3. Toxin Reduction

Commercial pesticides increase your risk of developing a chronic illness such as insulin resistance, hormone imbalances, or Alzheimer’s disease.

 Alzheimer's Specialist San Diego - Grow a Garden to Guard Your Brain Function
These pesticides are used to kill the bugs in your garden that will harm your produce; however, they also kill the healthy bugs in your gut.

If you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you can practice healthy, green gardening by reducing your chemical exposure.

It may be hard to get started, but there are a lot of online resources you can use to pick up some tips for beginners. It’s also fun to get your friends and family involved and will keep you motivated. While this is a great way to help prevent or combat cognitive decline, I also recommend partnering with a functional medicine practitioner who can tailor a nutrition plan just for you. At my clinic, we use cutting-edge testing to pinpoint your specific imbalances so that we can individualize a treatment plan that will put you on the road to healing.

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