All aboard the Jungalow trend — new research says that living in the midst of vegetation can actually extend your lifespan.
The research came out of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It analyzed 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.
What’s more, the results stayed the same regardless of the women’s age, ethnicity, race and whether their environment was more rural or more urban.
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 studies nationwide 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.
He also added, “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, since the study’s results held true regardless of whether women lived in the cities or the country.
If your outdoor surroundings aren’t as lush as they could be, you can always bring the green inside with an indoor garden.
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.
Some of them include Boston ferns, peace lilies and English ivy.
Alternatively, if you have trouble falling asleep, there are certain houseplants that can help you get a better night’s sleep. English ivy made that list, as did 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 of extra years onto your life), and 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.