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Top 18 Edible Houseplants That Are Good For Your Health

Top 18 Edible Houseplants That Are Good For Your Health

Growing your own food can be the perfect solution for saving money and eating healthier, but for those of us without big yard spaces, it might seem like an impossible dream. Fortunately, there are many edible houseplants that are good for your health and easy to grow.

1. Avocados

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    via Flickr

    Avocados are considered a superfood because they are rich in healthy fats, vitamins E and B6, and carotenoids, which are known to help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease, and eye degeneration.

    Although avocados can be grown from a pit, it will be a lot faster and easier to buy a dwarf avocado plant from the nursery. In order to keep it alive and producing delicious fruits, make sure it’s planted in a large, well-draining pot with sand at the bottom and potting mix on top. Place it in a sunny area with a high ceiling and water it frequently.

    Ripe avocados can hang from the tree for a few weeks, but it’s best to consume them sooner than later before they lose their flavor and texture. You can tell when the green varieties are ripe because the skin will look yellow. With the darker varieties, the skin will look almost black.

    2. Carrots

    7631212528_f37fedb98c_k

      via Flickr

      Carrots are known to be amazing for your eyes because they have carotenoids in them, but they are also a great source of a variety of vitamins and minerals.

      The best way to grow carrots indoors is to plant seeds in a window box that is at least a foot and a half deep. You will want to fill the well-draining container with potting mix, leaving about an inch of space from the top. Plant the seeds an inch apart in rows that are six inches apart, and cover with potting soil. Keep the soil wet, but not soaked, and in a window that gets a lot of sunlight.

      Carrots are ready to be harvested once the tops of them are about 3/4 of an inch. To pull them out, grab the roots up top firmly, wiggle it a bit, and then pull straight up.

      3. Lemons

      3814290005_bc0a0b90f4_b

        via Flickr

        Lemons have a ton of vitamin C and antioxidants.

        To grow lemons indoors, purchase a dwarf tree that is about 2 to 3 years old. The pot should be just a little bigger than the root ball of the tree, and it should have drain holes in the bottom. You will need to use potting soil specifically for citrus trees or loam-based potting mix. Lemons trees need 8 to 12 hours of sunlight every day, and need to be kept in temperatures between 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Water your plant often and spray the leaves with water to keep them hydrated.

        Lemons take about 6 to 9 months to ripen. Once they’re bright in color, squeeze them gently, and if they have a slight give, they are ready to eat.

        4. Ginger

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          via Flickr

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          This spicy root helps with motion sickness and nausea and reduces inflammation.

          To grow ginger, all you have to do is buy a chunk of it at the grocery store, place it in a container with the freshest bud facing up, and cover it in soil. It will need to be placed in indirect sunlight and kept moist for new growth to sprout.

          Every now and then you can pull the entire thing out of the soil, cut off what you need, and then put the rest back to keep growing.

          5. Salad Greens

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            via Flickr

            Salad greens include iceberg, romaine, red and green leaf, and arugula. They’re full of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and iron.

            Salad greens can be grown indoors by either purchasing a starter plant or seeds from the nursery. Plant them 4 inches apart in a container with drainage holes in the bottom and fill it with potting soil. Water them often.

            To harvest salad greens, simply pull off the outside leaves, leaving some behind so the plant can keep growing.

            6. Mandarins

            2723792985_fe4ce28e6f_o

              via Flickr

              Antioxidants, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and fiber: all reasons to eat mandarins!

              Once again, to grow this citrus fruit tree, purchase a dwarf tree, but this time make sure it has a large pot that is well-draining. Put it in a sunny location, water often, and make sure to put it in a bigger pot as it grows.

              As soon as the mandarins turn orange, harvest them right away by clipping or carefully twisting them off.

              7. Tomatoes

              593842415_7ff99cf098_b

                via Flickr

                Tomatoes have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent coronary heart disease.

                You can either buy a tomato plant that is already in a pot, or you can plant seeds in a well-draining pot that is 6 to 12 inches. You will want to keep it in a sunny area and keep the soil moist, but not soaked. To make sure all of the tomatoes get enough sunlight, make sure to turn the pot around every few days.

                Once they turn orange, simply slip or twist them off the plant.

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                8. Mint

                393695273_7d694fb4b4_b

                  via Flickr

                  Mint has a bunch of benefits, but the most well known is its aid in digestion.

                  Plant a seedling from the nursery in a large pot, about 10 inches in diameter, and fill it with potting soil. Put the container in a sunny location and water it regularly.

                  Snip off a few leaves from each plant when you want to use them, but make sure to only take about 1/3 of the leaves so it will keep growing.

                  9. Bell Peppers

                  5106962952_fd33333b1c_b

                    via Flickr

                    Bell peppers have an amazing amount of vitamin C, especially red ones.

                    The easiest way to grow bell peppers is to buy seedlings from the nursery and plant them in individual pots. The ideal temperature for bell peppers is between 70 and 80 degrees Farenheit. They need to be kept in a sunny area and thoroughly soaked every few days.

                    Once they reach their appropriate size and color, whether they’re green, orange, yellow, or red, you can clip them from the plant.

                    10. Chives

                    8906827472_31f0413e8e_k

                      via Flickr

                      Chives are full of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamins A and C.

                      Fill a pot that is 6 to 9 inches deep with potting soil. Plant the seeds and cover them completely in a light layer of soil. Chives do not need full sunlight, but rather an area that is partially shaded. And of course, water regularly.

                      When needed, simply trim a few leaves from each plant, making sure not to take too much at once.

                      11. Rosemary

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                        via Flickr

                        This heavily-scented herb may help limit weight gain and improve cholesterol levels.

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                        Rosemary grows best in a mixture of equal parts potting soil and coarse sand. Plant seedlings in a container with holes in the bottom for drainage. Rosemary should be placed in a sunny location where it can get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. Only water when the top of the soil is very dry.

                        Every now and then, you can snip a few sprigs from the plant, making sure to leave most of it behind.

                        12. Radishes

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                          via Flickr

                          Folate, fiber, riboflavin, and potassium are the main benefits of eating radishes.

                          To grow radishes indoors, you’ll need to start with a large, well-draining pot. Fill it with mostly potting soil and a small amount of coarse sand. Since radishes are small, you can sprinkle the seeds over the soil rather than plant them individually. Keep the soil moist and the plant in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

                          Once the radishes are a decent size, which you can find out by lightly uncovering to check, they are ready to be harvested. All you have to do is pull them out.

                          13. Microgreens

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                            via Flickr

                            Leafy vegetables like microgreens have an abundance of vitamins A, C, and K, and folate.

                            Fill a shallow tray no more than 2 inches deep to the top with soil. Then, sprinkle a variety of seeds evenly over it. You can use seeds for radishes, kale, Swiss chard, beets, basil, and dill. Then, lightly cover them with more soil. Using a spray bottle, mist the soil, and keep the tray on a sunny windowsill. Remember to mist it every day.

                            Once the seedlings are 1 or 2 inches in height, they’re ready to eat. Hold them at the stem and trim them at the root, but leave enough of the root in the soil so that more will grow.

                            14. Cilantro

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                              via Flickr

                              This tasty herb yields carotenoids, as well as vitamin A which helps protect against stroke, cancer, and heart disease.

                              You can either grow cilantro from coriander seeds or starter plants. You will want to use a well-draining pot that is at least 8 inches deep. Fill it with soil, leaving an inch or 2 at the top, and press the seeds into the soil. Then, cover the pot with plastic wrap until the seeds have germinated. Water them every day and keep the pot in a sunny location in the house.

                              Like all herbs, simply trim the leaves off the plant but leave some on the plant to continue growing.

                              15. Parsley

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                                via Flickr

                                Parsley is rich in vitamins C, B12, K, and A and helps keep your immune system strong.

                                Growing parsley is exactly the same as growing cilantro. The two herbs even look very similar, but have very different flavours.

                                Harvesting parsley is the same as harvesting cilantro: simply trim the leaves, but not all of them.

                                16. Basil

                                basil plants

                                  via Flickr

                                  Basil has anti-inflammatory properties.

                                  The container for basil should be at least 4 inches wide and have holes in the bottom for drainage. Since basil needs a lot of sunlight and warm temperatures, make sure it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. You’ll have to water it often — once a day in hot weather and every other day otherwise.

                                  Once the leaves are 6 inches tall, you can start trimming them for consumption.

                                  17. Mushrooms

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                                    via Flickr

                                    Mushrooms are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and cancer-fighting compounds.

                                    The easiest way to grow mushrooms is to buy a kit. Indoor mushroom growing kits include everything you will need to grow delicious, nutritious mushrooms in your home, and all you will have to do is add water.

                                    18. Scallions

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                                      via Flickr

                                      Scallions are part of the allium family of vegetables which also includes garlic. Both are associated with cancer prevention.

                                      To grow this yummy vegetable, all you have to do is buy a bunch of scallions from the grocery store, band the bulbs together, and place the entire thing in a container in an inch of water. Once new green shoots have appeared, you can put it in a shallow pot. Keep it watered and in full sunlight.

                                      To harvest scallions, trim the green tops, leaving an inch or two from the root to continue growing them. When you want to use the white part of the scallion, grow them until the green leaves are 6 inches tall. Pull it out, wash, and trim.

                                      Featured photo credit: Eastlake via flickr.com

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                                      Published on November 14, 2018

                                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                      Symptoms of Fatigue

                                      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                      • mental blocks
                                      • lack of motivation
                                      • headache
                                      • dizziness
                                      • muscle weakness
                                      • slowed reflexes and responses
                                      • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                      • moodiness, such as irritability
                                      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                      • reduced immune system function
                                      • blurry vision
                                      • short-term memory problems
                                      • poor concentration
                                      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                      Causes of Fatigue

                                      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                      Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                      Anemia

                                      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                      Diabetes

                                      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                      Sleep Apnea

                                      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                      Thyroid disease

                                      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                      • Lack of sleep
                                      • Too much sleep 
                                      • Alcohol and drugs 
                                      • Sleep disturbances 
                                      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                      • Poor diet 

                                      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                      1. Tell The Truth

                                      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                      • How you feel
                                      • What time of day it is
                                      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                      • How your mind and body reacts

                                      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                      2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                      4. Express More Gratitude

                                      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                      5. Focus On Yourself

                                      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                      7. Take a Power Nap

                                      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                      8. Take More Exercise

                                      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                      9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                      10. Improve Your Diet

                                      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                      12. Get Hydrated

                                      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                      The Bottom Line

                                      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                      Reference

                                      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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