Women Who Surround Themselves With Plants Live Longer
Plants to the rescue!
All aboard the Jungalow trend — new research says living in the midst of vegetation can actually extend your lifespan.
The research comes out of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It analyzes the results of an eight-year study that looked into a potential link between vegetation and life expectancy.
The findings? Women who lived in the greenest surroundings were found to have mortality rates a whopping 12 percent lower than those of women who lived in plant-less homes and areas. And these women not only had a longer life expectancy but better mental health, too.
How Greenery Impacts Health
The link between greenery and mortality rates is rooted in a few different components, according to the research. Those surrounded by plants demonstrated lower levels of depression, increased opportunities for social engagement, higher levels of physical activity and reduced exposure to air pollution. Are you planning your move to the country yet?
Even better news: This wasn’t a small study at all, despite it being one of the first nationwide studies to cover the connection between plants and health. Researchers looked at data from 108,630 women collected between 2000 and 2008.
“We were surprised to observe such strong associations between increased exposure to greenness and lower mortality rates,” said Peter James, research associate in the Harvard Chan School Department of Epidemiology, in an interview with the T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We were even more surprised to find evidence that a large proportion of the apparent benefit from high levels of vegetation seems to be connected with improved mental health.”
If you live in a city that’s short on vegetation but you have a green thumb (or are trying to develop one), this should still come as good news. If your outdoor surroundings aren’t as lush as they could be, you can always bring the green inside.
If you don’t have a green thumb, here are a few houseplants that are easy to care for:
Best Types Of House Plants To Buy
While the study didn’t specify whether specific types of plants are better for your health and longevity than others, we do have some other tips for you:
If you want to clean your air while extending your lifespan, here’s a guide of the best air-purifying houseplants (according to NASA). Some of them include Boston ferns, peace lily and English ivy.
Alternatively, if you have trouble falling asleep, here are five houseplants that can help you get a better night’s sleep. English ivy also made that list, and another plant that can aid in sleep is jasmine. In fact, German researchers found that the scent of jasmine is as effective as Valium at relieving anxiety and promoting sleep. That’s certainly worth a try!
So if you’re feeling stressed (or just want to tack a couple extra years onto your life), and you can’t move to the country — go buy a plant. And if you’re anything like me, good luck not killing it within a month.