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7 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Having Plants at Home
By Karen Reed
Friends and coworkers have plants in their home or around their office. You may have considered it yourself, but then remembered that they require care and attention. Do you really have that time? Do you really want greenery in your home, when it looks so beautiful outside?
Well, there are a number of health benefits of having plants around your home. These benefits are far worth the work in setting up a routine in watering and feeding the plants. Plus, you can get different types of plants that require less care than others (such as cacti).
While you may have heard of the benefits, you may not be sure of the realities of them. Can your plants really make you happier? Will they really improve your air quality? Researchers have looked into the claims and found the truth. Here are the science-backed, proven benefits of having plants in your home.
1. They Help to Improve the Mental Health
Plants naturally help to heal and not by crushing them and using their juices! Just having them in the home can help to improve your mental health. Researchers in the United Kingdom found that people who live around nature feel much happier than those that don't. This isn't just about those who live in the countryside either. Just looking at the greenery in the home will help.
There are a few theories on how this is the case. One of those is that the plants make you think of the outdoors. You think about the countryside and the open spaces. The plants help you feel less boxed in, especially if you live in an inner city.
Plants also have a sense of peace around them. They don't care about your busy day. They sit there and grow. Plants are patient and docile, while helps to create that atmosphere in the home. Rather than constantly feel like you're rushing around everyone else, you can get the calming nature of the plants.
And then there is the air quality benefit. Plants will release oxygen into the air and take up the carbon dioxide. When you have them in the home, your home's air is naturally more beneficial for you. Of course, more oxygen means your body works more effectively. Your brain feels less fatigued and cloudy, meaning all the connections are improved. You release the right types of hormones, helping to support your mental health.
If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you want to get some plants in the home. Look for ones that work to your advantage. If you don't feel you have enough time to water daily, look out for cacti and other similar plants that don't need as much water. If you love the idea of looking for something, you can opt for flowers and plants that take a little more work.
Scents also help with the mental health. When you get a good smell, you instantly feel more relaxed and happier. Your sense of smell is a powerful tool for memories, which helps to bring up the good rather than the bad, instantly boosting the positive chemicals being released from the brain.
2. Your Immune System Gets a Boost
It's not just your mental health that benefits. Your physical health does too. Plants help to give the immune system a much-needed boost, especially during flu season.
Part of this is linked to the mental benefits. When you get more sleep and feel more relaxed, your immune system is able to work more. You'll find it much easier to fight off the bugs and viruses doing their rounds. But that's not the only way you gain.
Plants have phytoncides and other airborne chemicals. These chemicals help to reduce the amount of stress you feel throughout the day. You don't even need to see them gain this benefit! When you feel less stressed, your immune system gets a natural boost. Most of the time you won't physically feel the positive effects, except when you realize that you haven't had a cold that your friends have had!
And there's also the nutritional benefits. While you're not eating or using the plants, they can still help to spread the positive chemicals that support your immune system. You get that boost in your health in a third way, further helping you fight off the cold, flu and other illnesses.
The healing benefits are why you'll often find plants outside hospitals. You'll also find that hospital staff is more than happy for patients to have the plants by patients' bedsides. They've shown positive results in helping patients recover from illnesses faster.
Studies in Norway have shown that illnesses drop by 60% through the use of plants in the home. Even though it's not all illnesses, it's certainly worthwhile investing in.
3. Your Productivity Is Improved
Have you ever felt like you just can't work? It's all about the way your home is decorated. Those that have more pictures, decorations and plants have proven to be more productive workspaces. You get reminders of why you're working and the goals you have in life.
Plus, there are the mental health benefits. Spaces without any form of personalization can be demotivating and dull. You end up with a space that you're not interested in and that makes the mental health suffer. You feel more stressed and anxious, finding it hard to get out of work mode at the end of the day. There isn't this feeling of fulfillment afterward.
Plants help to get rid of that feeling. You add color to your workspace or your home, giving your mind the mental boost it needs to improve your productivity. When you see a plant, you'll gain new inspiration and creativity. Suddenly that work you've been struggling with for the last three hours is far easier to complete and you think outside the box to impress your boss.
You really don't need that many plants to gain this benefit. Just a couple will help to create the positive workspace.
4. Your Relationships Are Improved
Wouldn't you love to find a way to improve the relationships in your life? Plants are certainly the way to do that. Pets also offer the benefit of improved relationships, but plants require less responsibility and you can work them into a busier lifestyle without guilt.
When you get plants, you get a sense of compassion. There's another living thing in your home to care for. You end up feeling empathy for the plants, which can then lead to a sense of compassion and empathy for other people in your life.
There are studies that show talking to plants is a good way to help them grow. They thrive on the carbon dioxide that you breathe out, while you thrive on their oxygen. That means talking does more than build a connection, but builds a life.
Plants are especially beneficial for those with few social circles, especially those who are housebound. They help to add something living, so a person doesn't feel completely lonely. When they do have visitors, they can connect on a better level.
5. They Improve Your Learning Abilities
Remember that plants help to boost the productivity levels? Well, they also help to boost your learning capabilities. This is certainly linked to the productivity. Plants in the home help to boost focus and mental clarity, which makes it much easier to focus on tasks at hand.
Both adults and children will gain benefits by having plants in the home. Adults will have more focus on their work and college tasks, while children find it easier to learn the basics.
Children who suffer from mental disabilities or conditions can also gain benefits with the plants. The phytonutrients help to settle the mind, creating a safer space and environment for them to learn. They are more open to the tasks at hand.
Plants help to keep the feeling of insecurities and overwhelm at bay. Because of their calming nature, a person can look and feel naturally calmer themselves. This then leads to improving the focus and ability to master a subject.
There's also the factor of smell. The sense of smell is linked to bringing forward memories. When you study around a particular smell, you can use that scent in tests and exams to remember the things you studied. Most schools will allow oils or perfumes, so you can bottle up the plant smell and use it to your advantage.
Studies have shown that attentiveness is increased by 70% because of plants in the room. The more attentive someone is, the better they are likely to remember subjects.
6. The Improve Your Air Quality
Air quality can be a major problem. Did you know that the air inside your home is worse than the air in the middle of a city? This is because pollutants get in, but they find it extremely hard to get out. The bacteria and viruses stick around the home, leading to a higher chance of you getting ill in the winter. While you can open the window, you can also use plants to improve the air quality.
This all comes back to the airborne chemicals that the plants release. They tackle the pollutants in the air, instantly rectifying the balance. You're left with air that is safer and healthier for you to breathe.
Of course, we've already looked at the benefits of improving your air quality. It helps to boost your immune system and your mental health. The improved air quality also helps to boost your chest health. When you breathe in pollutants, you irritate the lungs with them. By breathing fresher air, you instantly keep the airways clear and irritant free, so you can breathe much better.
Plants are excellent to have if you have pets. While they won't get rid of the pet hair malting on your floor, they will help to take in the pollutants your pets bring in from the outside! The plants will also help to improve the life of your pet.
Research has shown that plants will remove around 87% of the pollutants in the air, some of them being the most harmful chemicals. They'll help to tackle the likes of formaldehyde and benzene. These have both been known to cause cancer, so getting rid of them from the home is essential.
The great news is you don't need to worry about killing the plants. The plants will pull the chemicals into the soil, which will then be turned into food for the plants. So, while your health is improved, your plants thrive with food!
7. They Add More Humidity to the Home
Plants release almost all of the water they take in. This is good news for you, as the water will help to improve your air quality and your health. Dry air can lead to irritation in the lungs and lead to problems such as dry mouth and overheat. Your body needs the moisture as much as possible.
Plants offer the perfect way to add humidity back into the air. You don't need to buy a humidifier and see your electricity bills increase. The plant does it all for you for absolutely nothing.
If you struggle to sleep because of dry air on a night, add plants to your bedroom. They will constantly release the water throughout the night, so your bedroom remains at the best level. You can also use plants in the dining room and living room to make the living spaces much more comfortable.
At the same time, plants will also soak in some of the moisture to use later. You can help manage the humidity levels in the bathroom or kitchen much better to improve your breathing health.
Add Plants to Your Home
It's time to take advantage of the health benefits of plants. All seven above have been proven by researchers to have a positive effect on your health. Whether you want a boost to your mental or your physical health, plants will definitely do it.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Positive Health Wellness.
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Editor's note: The coronavirus that started in Wuhan has sickened more than 4,000 people and killed at least 100 in China as of Jan. 27, 2020. Thailand and Hong Kong each have reported eight confirmed cases, and five people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. People are hoping for a vaccine to slow the spread of the disease.
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