Worried about cancer risk? Do some gardening, says study

25 January 2023
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by Madan Thapa
Madan Thapa

Madan Thapa

Madan S Thapa is a healthcare consultant and also a seasoned pharma editor, with over 10+ years...

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Like gardening? It may be reducing stress and anxiety and even risk levels of cancer, according to a new study. 

The study from the University of Colorado and backed by the American Cancer Society was published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal and showed that gardening, especially community gardening, reduced cancer risk, stress, and anxiety levels. 

In a randomized, controlled trial, the first of its kind, researchers found that not only were people who did community gardening more physically active but they also ended up eating more fiber. 

The participants’ physical activity went up by 42 minutes per week while the intake of fiber increased by about 7% per day.

Fiber is extremely crucial to gut health and our immune system, which influences our susceptibility to certain types of cancer. 

“An increase of 1 gram of fiber can have large, positive effects on health,” said co-author James Hébert, director of University of South Carolina’s Cancer Prevention and Control program, in the Colorado University’s press release.

Study participants also found their stress and anxiety levels going down as community gardening enabled them to foster relationships and be social, as well.

“These findings provide concrete evidence that community gardening could play an important role in preventing cancer, chronic diseases and mental health disorders,” said senior author Jill Litt, a professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at CU Boulder.