Eating for Health

Published on April 15th, 2014 | by Ginny Messina


Plant a Garden for Healthy Vegan Bones

Plant a Garden for Healthy Bones

Gardening is one of those hobbies that has it all. It’s great exercise, can save you money, is good for mental health, and produces the world’s healthiest vegan foods including these for healthy bones.

You don’t need an acre of loamy soil to do it, either. You can garden in a tiny yard or even in pots on your deck or patio. And, it doesn’t matter what you grow since any plant food fresh out of the ground will be good for you. But this year, I’m doing a theme garden that is brimming with fruits and vegetables that keep bones healthy. They happen to also be among the easiest to grow. Here is what’s in my garden this spring:


There is nothing like a ripe, sweet strawberry plucked from the garden on a hot summer day. These fruits are packed with vitamin C which is needed for healthy collagen—the connective tissue in bones. There is a real bonus to getting this nutrient directly from your garden since vitamin C content declines the longer a food sits in your refrigerator.

Plant a Garden for Healthy Bones


These leafy greens, which include spinach and Swiss chard, are among the first vegetables to appear in the spring garden. They are also among the most potassium-rich which makes them wonderful for bone health and for keeping blood pressure low.

Plant a Garden for Healthy Bones

Cruciferous Greens

I devote a big part of my garden to kale, collards, and bok choy because I love them and they are among the best sources of calcium. One of their nice features is that they can be harvested long into the fall, even after a frost.

Plant a Garden for Healthy Bones


They are super easy to grow and their nitrogen-fixing properties give back to your soil. I harvest them while they’re still green since I like them better than the mature ones. They are the best source of plant protein, which is so important for keeping bones healthy.

Related Reading: Soy: Devil Fruit or Bean? Hint: Bean

Plant a Garden for Healthy Bones


These sweet little flowers are edible and they may actually provide vitamin C. But mostly, I “grow” them because they pop up all over my garden on their own. And they make me happy. And happiness may reduce inflammation which could in turn protect bone health.

These foods have plenty of other health-promoting properties, of course. They serve up vitamin A plus all kinds of phytochemicals that may lower risk for heart disease and cancer. When it comes to good nutrition with fresh luscious flavor, there is no grocery store in the world that can match your own vegetable garden.

Image Credits: Strawberries, via Shutterstock, Chard via lunaspin, Kale by Salim Virji, Soybeans via Shutterstock, Violas via Shutterstock

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About the Author

Ginny is a registered dietitian and public health nutritionist. She writes and speaks about vegetarian and vegan diets for both the public and health professionals. She is co-author of Vegan for Life, Vegan for Her and Never Too Late to Go Vegan as well as a textbook on vegetarian diets for health professionals. When she’s not researching and writing about vegan nutrition, she volunteers for her local animal shelter and feral cat group, practices piano, gardens, and is learning to knit with vegan fibers. Website:

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