Do Plants - Promote Human Health?
As well as looking good, house and garden plants support human health in homes, workplaces, schools, and hospitals. Research suggests that well-being and productivity improvement are the greatest benefits of interacting with plants. There is also discussion around their influence on indoor air quality, linked to the physical health benefits, where plants have been shown toreduce blood pressure, fatigue, and headaches by 20-25 percent in one study. Patients in hospital rooms with plants reported decreased post-operative pain. Further research is being continued on the number of plants required for optimal health benefits.
"SO, I CAN HEAR YOU ASKING YOURSELF"; Can growing plants really help turn our homes, schools, and workplaces into better places to be? This question has been explored by countless scientific studies and the results are now in. Growing plants offer two potential benefits for us all: improved mental well-being and physical human health (i.e. promoting fitness and general health). These studies also identified other categories of potential health benefits.
Health Benefits of Plants
- Breathing fresh air outdoors
- Improves air quality indoors
- Reduces stress
- Improved sense of well-being
- Nurture and support cognitive health
- Improves environmental wellness
- A symbiotic relationship
The psychological (mental well-being) benefits of growing plants have been shown as:
- An improved mood
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased work productivity (adding plants to office environments in particular)
- Increased speed of reaction in a computer task
- Improved attention span (in some scientific studies, but not all)
- Increased pain tolerance (for example, where plants were used in hospital settings)
The physical health benefits of indoor plants have been shown as follows:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced fatigue and headaches by 20-25 percent in one study
- Patients in hospital rooms with plants reported decreased post-operative pain
"It's worth noting, these studies did not look at any particular species or cultivation differences".
Were there any side effects identified by being exposed to indoor or outdoor plants?
Thankfully, the presence of plants showed very few negative effects when considering these studies – For example very low levels of reported skin or respiratory irritation. Also, the night-time release of carbon dioxide by houseplants is unlikely to be a problem, as emission levels are very low.
Health Benefits - In 15 minutes you can burn 75 calories
It's a fact that the produce you grow in your garden can increase your general dietary health beyond belief – but you already knew that right? Not to mention the less tangible rewards that gardening offers to your mental well-being and physical health. Those of you who have put in regular sessions in the garden could also liken it to a workout in the gym, relieving stress and promoting self-esteem. Having regular gardening habits have been shown to improve immunity to disease, and heart health, and reduces the risk of stroke and Alzheimers.
As well as enjoying the physical activity of gardening, there are many benefits to simply spending time in the garden. A good dose of vitamin E from spending time in the sun can improve mood, skin, and overall health, while fresh air, and time spent planting offers an abundance of health gains too.
Exercising regularly simply becomes easier when you have your own private 'plant' gym right outside your back door. For example, turning the planting beds over and dealing with weeds can be a full body workout, grabbing and pulling will improve grip and tone your arms and take it from me, standing up and down, and squatting for long periods will strengthen those leg muscles.
Environmental Symbiotic Well-being
By creating a garden you, your friends and family can enjoy, you are also creating an environment for other little visitors too. Perhaps build grassy areas to encourage wildlife such as hedgehogs, or construct a birdbath to encourage your local feathered friends. Doing so is a wonderful way to make a closer involvement with nature. One that small children will certainly enjoy.
A well-kept and loved garden, big or small, can provide an amazing family space, or for little get-togethers and summer BBQs. Why not grow your own ingredients and garnishes to add a personal touch and signature to your garden parties this summer?
Remember the garden is an extension of the home where family and friends can exist and spend time with one another. MAKE THE MOST OF IT!