Make the most of the green

August 1, 2023

Summer is now well underway and hopefully the weather is good and everyone feels better for it. Feeling ‘better in ourselves’ may not be an actual condition, but how we wake up and face the world can have a massive impact on our overall health and wellbeing.

August awareness events include ‘National Cream Tea Week’ and ‘Allotment Week’, you might wonder what these events have to do with health and wellbeing, but stay with us for a moment.

It is well known that if you are relaxed and doing something you enjoy, you’re are less stressed and more positive. Having an allotment can be a rewarding experience for many and also provide a supply of freshly picked fruit and veg as well as the opportunity to grow some flowers, who doesn’t love an impromptu bunch of flowers?

Growing your own food doesn’t always need a lot of space, containers and vertical planting can give you a good supply of fresh food.

Knowing where your food comes from can be an important part of ensuring that things are grown under good conditions, ideally organic and also be a source vitamins and minerals. If you are able to grow organically, you can have the added benefit of not having used pesticides and chemicals on your food. Allotments can also be a great source of social interaction as you get to meet like minded people who are often more than happy to share information and produce.

If you’d like to grow your own food, but maybe on a smaller scale, it is easy to raise sprouted seeds in jars on a kitchen windowsill and likewise, sew lettuce seeds in a shallow tray and create your own cut and come again source of fresh salad leaves. Herbs are often greatly underrated and not only add flavour, to food, they can also be another source of nutrients. Think about adding plenty of chopped fresh herbs to a salad with some lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, easy to do and will bring a flavour explosion to your meal as well as adding good fats from the olive oil.

Think of fresh herbs as more than just a flavouring, add plenty to a salad with extra virgin olive oil for a Mediterranean diet boost.

Vertical gardening is also worth investigating if you are short on space. Using a variety of containers and even the smallest balcony, with a little thought you can produce an abundance of fresh food.

The fresher we can get our food the better for our bodies and the environment, if you can grow your own or buy local, think of the transportation and fuel that has been saved.

Time spent outside, especially if you are nurturing growing things, can also be good for your mental health too. Fresh air, green spaces and focus can all help relax and calm an anxious mind. Making time to take stock of things and eventually see (and eat) the fruits of your endeavours.

The Mental Health Foundation undertook some research around London’s green spaces and found that being outside in nature can have a positive impact on your mental health and wellness. They have produced a report help you make the most of green spaces throughout the UK which you can download here.

As hard as we try, it isn’t always easy to ensure a good supply of nutrients in our diets, or there may be times where we need extra support, for example pregnant women, the elderly, growing children and those with restricted diets are just a few. Supplements can play a complementary role alongside your healthy diet.

If you are generally well but would like to ensure you have a small amount of vitamins and minerals every day, a multivitamin and mineral is useful. Look for one with the nutrients in their active forms so that they are readily absorbed.

B vitamins are water soluble, so need to be consumed regularly as we don’t store them in the body. They contribute to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue, so if you feel you are not getting enough from your diet, they can be a useful supplement.

Using synergistic nutrients and Ayurvedic herbs including Bacopa monnieri and Panax ginseng along with pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, can be helpful too as pantothenic acid contributes to normal mental performance and normal energy yielding metabolism.

Taking a multi vitamin and mineral tablet, can be an easy way to get a range of nutrients as a supplement to your diet.

Fresh fruit and vegetables support our digestive health with healthy enzyme production and supporting a healthy gut microbiome.  You can also support the good bacteria in your gut by eating fermented foods or by taking a supplement of the friendly bacteria.

It is always a good idea to assess your supplements every few months or as a change in seasons approaches. Look at what you are taking and why you are taking it, do you still need to take it or have you added another supplement that doubles up your intake? This may not be dangerous but may be unnecessary.

And as for Afternoon Tea Week, well we all need little highlights and treats from time to time, so whilst it may not be super healthy, a change of scene, some time with friends and family or a little self-indulgence can go a long way in giving us a little much needed boost to our wellbeing and happiness.

A little of what you fancy, does you good. Don’t be afraid to have the occasional treat, it can give you something to smile about and be a real boost to the system.

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