Government of India in its month long Nutrition Awareness Month has decided to focus on creating Kitchen Gardens in households and also at campus of various educational institutions. According to GOI, Kitchen gardens can provide healthy nutrition at lower cost to a family and it will also provide right activity to family members thus providing a chance of health life style.
Kitchen gardening involves growing plants such as vegetables and herbs using organic fertilizers and no usage of artificial pesticides which does not adversely affect the environment and health.
Kitchen garden is accessible directly from the kitchen or you can innovate to include one in any available space, whether it is a terrace/Balcony or corridor or window where you can place pots or planters on them in which are suitable for growing small herbs and greens like coriander, mint or fenugreek. Ensure that the area that you have chosen has sufficient sunlight.
Plants like Brinjal, Moringa, Green leafy vegetables like amaranths, fenugreek and Papaya, Lemon, Tomatoes, Guava, Beans, Carrot, Beet, variety of gourds like Bottle gourd, Snake gourd, ridge gourd and cucumbers, pumpkins, onions stalks, Ginger and herbs like Rosemary, Basil, Mint, Oregano, Thyme etc. These plants are Nutritious and also easy to grow.
Fruits and vegetables are important sources of micro nutrients and their regular consumption is essential for good health, Nutrition and well being as stated below:
- Regular and proper intake of Iron rich vegetables and fruits helps in reduce anemia.
- Intake of immune boosting foods like citrus fruits, ginger, Turmeric, Capsicum, Cauliflower, Cabbage helps in prevention of viral infections and Diseases.
- All green leafy vegetables provide us Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin K.
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupe, Mangoes are rich sources of Vitamin A.
Gardening is a natural stress reliever. Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine can improve health and vitamin D. A kitchen garden ensures an inexpensive, regular and supply of fresh vegetables which are basic to nutrition. A Kitchen garden does not need huge number of workers neither labour intensive nor it require a lot of space.
Gardening is considered as a moderate intensity exercise –
- Physical activity improves endurance, Strength, Mobility and Flexibility
- Relaxation and reduces the stress level.
- Healthy sources of inexpensive fresh food
- Appreciation of food growing provides an understanding of foods and their origin
Just 30 Minutes a day, Five days a week gardening (A moderate intensity exercise) has been shown to lower risk of Obesity, high blood pressure, Depression.
An activity for Children
Gardening is a healthy, fun activity for children. Children develop new skills and learn about science and nature from growing their own food. There is a variety of interesting activities children can be involved in, such as planting, mulching, weeding and cooking studies have shown that when children grow their own food they are more likely to eat it and bring healthy eating behaviors back to their families.
Keeping in view of vast benefits that Kitchen garden will bring to your family, is it not time for all to take it up during this pandemic thus creating a healthy world. It not only help your family to have healthy, nutritious food but also reduce the cost of procuring them.
This article is prepared by Dr. Venu Madhavi, Dietician, Aster Prime Hospital, Hyderabad