When Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong advocated growing your own, they almost got it right. Turns out, folks who cultivate vegetables transform their diet — and their risk for obesity, cancer, and cancer reoccurrence.
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers worked with 46 cancer survivors ages 60 and older, and found that having your own vegetable garden significantly reduced weight gain in the belly and upped intake of veggies.
This matters because whether you have a normal BMI or are obese, eating foods with high levels of dietary energy density, or DED (that is, foods overpacked with calories in every bite), increases your cancer risk, interferes with recovery from cancer, and increases your chances of recurrence.
We know that obesity is an inflammatory state. But why does such a diet also harm folks who are not overweight?
Well, anyone eating fatty, sugary, processed foods faces health-threatening metabolic disruption.
And not only are DEDs implicated in development of cancer, they up the risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.
So if you're struggling to control your weight, are recovering from cancer, or are trying to dodge Type 2 diabetes, here's a fun way to increase your health: Plant some veggies.
Windowboxes on sunny windowsills are good for herbs, onions, lettuces, even cherry tomatoes. Backyard or community gardens let you add root and cruciferous veggies.
To find a community garden nearby, go to communitygarden.org and click on "Find a Garden."
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