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The You Docs: This color makes you healthier


Feb. 17, 2009 Seattle PI

Think your neighborhood is highly green — not in a carbon footprint way, but in an actual leafy, grassy way? Then you have 1.6 times higher odds of better mental health than people who look out only on concrete or other views that wouldn’t star in any nature specials. And greenery helps your physical health, too.

But if you’re not so lucky, you may be able to get back on par with your surrounded-by-nature peers with what you put inside your home. Well-chosen indoor plants can prime you for good health. Here’s what plants can do:

 

  • Keep blood pressure under control, possibly thanks to their soothing effect. Or maybe some other effect (discover the exact cause and you’d probably get to go to Sweden to collect your Nobel Prize).
  • Stave off sickness. Even in nursing homes, researchers found that people surrounded by greenery got fewer infections than those in less-green environments.
  • Reduce stress by getting you out of the office faster and doing your job better. One study found that people generated more innovative thinking and more creative solutions to problems when their environment contained flowers and plants.
  • Protect your lungs. Plants are nature’s air fresheners; they continually improve a room’s air quality by increasing oxygen and removing pollutants. Spider plants, philodendrons and golden pothos are the best at it, according to a NASA study, and they also happen to be easy to grow (even less stress for you!).

 

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