Want to live longer? Consider planting some trees, shrubs or even flowers. A recent study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that living in spaces with lots of greenery can lower your risk of mortality by more than 10 percent.
The researchers used data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than a hundred-thousand women between 2000 and 2008. They used satellite imagery called a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index to examine the average cumulative vegetation around each participant’s address, which helps take into account any moves to new homes the participants might have made during the eight-year study.
After adjusting for risk factors such as age, race, ethnicity, smoking and socioeconomic status, they found that women who lived with the greenest areas surrounding their home had a 12 percent lower rate of mortality than the women who lived in the least green areas. They found strong associations between green and non-green areas and deaths from respiratory issues and cancer. They also said their findings were consistent in city and country settings.
The researchers explored the reasons why this effect might occur. Their findings suggest that reduced mortality in women who live in green areas may be due to more physical activity and social engagement, lower air pollution levels and better mental health when compared with women who live in areas with little vegetation.
So no matter where you live, try to add a little greenery to your surroundings as well as to your plate. It’ll not only spruce up your yard and home, but it might also be good for your health.