You already know that you should eat your greens, but did you know that even just being surrounded by plants can greatly improve your physical and mental wellbeing?
Plants prolong your life
According to a study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, women whose homes are surrounded by more vegetation have longer lives than those who live in less green areas.
The study, which followed 108,630 women over a period of eight years, found that women who are surrounded by plants have a 12% lower mortality rates than women living with little or no plants at all.
Researchers believe that the main reason for this surprising finding is found in the link between green spaces and mental health. Living in green areas is associated with a lower incidence of depression, dementia, and a number of behavioral issues.
The study authors also found that women who live in green environments have richer social lives and higher levels of physical activity, both of which contribute to longevity.
Air pollution is another important factor known to impact life expectancy. In fact, living in highly polluted urban areas can reduce a person’s life span by 1.8 years.
The good news is that plants can reduce pollution in cities by as much as 60%. The Harvard study showed that women living in areas with the highest concentration of plants had a “34% lower rate of respiratory disease-related mortality and a 13% lower rate of cancer mortality compared with those with the least vegetation around their homes.”
Health benefits of house plants
If you don’t live in a particularly green neighborhood, the second-best thing you can do for your health is to surround yourself with plants in your home. Numerous studies have shown that house plants play an important role in maintaining human health.
Did you know that air purifiers and humidifiers don’t remove harmful particles from the air and can actually worsen the symptoms of asthma and allergies? If you want to keep indoor air fresh and clean, having plants in your house is the way to go. Besides removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis, indoor plants can also remove toxic particles from the air.
House plants can also help reduce the symptoms of stress in young adults. Active interaction with house plants (through the senses of vision, hearing, touch, and smell) inhibits the stress response, lowers blood pressure, and promotes feelings of comfort and joy.
Other health benefits of keeping indoor plants include decreased incidence of colds, sore throats and the flu, anxiety relief, better sleep quality, and increased productivity.
Best plants to keep in your home
According to horticulture experts, some of the best air-purifying house plants are Barberton daisy, English ivy, snake plant, chrysanthemum, and spider plants.
If you’re a smoker or live with one, umbrella tree, rubber plant, Boston fern, and dwarf date palm can help you remove cigarette smoke from the air in your house.
Golden pothos, Aloe Vera, Bamboo palm, and rosemary can reduce stress and anxiety, while lavender, jasmine, or gardenia will help you sleep better.