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Published On: Mon, Oct 20th, 2014

4 Health Benefits to Having Plants Indoors

Whether you’re decorating an office space or your home, adding some genuine greenery that provides nurturing isn’t just beautiful, but also a boon to your health. The addition to living plants provides an affordable, easy way to stay healthy. While “fitness” can include many things beyond going to the gym and a healthy diet, one of the easiest ways to bolster your health is simply by managing your environment. Plants can work wonders for your health, those around you and even the planet’s.

As an added bonus, many plants are very affordable, thrive indoors because they don’t require as much sun as other species, and are easy to care for. If you’re looking to liven up your living space, sometimes simple is better. Here are a few of the major health benefits to adding indoor plants to your environment:

photo Alyson Jones

photo Alyson Jones

1. They battle colds for you

Recent research from the University of Agriculture Norway showcased that indoor plants are great at helping people battle colds. Scientists found that indoor plants had the ability to reduce fatigue, sore throats, coughing and other common cold symptoms by up to 30 percent. While the exact reasons why require further research, the authors theorize that it’s due to the better humidity levels and less dust when plants are thriving.

2. Enjoy better cognitive function

Surprisingly, having plants around help you think. Researcher found that the more plants a person has near them, the better they concentrate, the better memory they have, and the likelier they are to achieve goals. They’ve also been linked to better attention and bolstered creativity. In fact, a Texas A&M study found that people in a room with plants had a drop in their blood pressure by four points after taking a stress-inducing test, while those without plants nearby only dropped by two points.

3. They’ll fight pollution for you

The most well-known benefit to indoor plants is improved air quality. Many in the US spend over 90 percent of their life indoors, reports the American Society of Horticulture Science. That indoor air can be polluted 12 times over compared to outdoor air. Plants improve the health of humans by decreasing air pollution via a process called phytoremediation.

4. They’ll boost your happiness

A number of studies have linked living plants with physical, psychological and cognitive benefits. The psychological benefits are many, with plants having a connection to better self-esteem, a better mood, less stress/anxiety/depression, and feeling overall more calm, optimistic and relaxed. Those who have plants nearby report feeling more in control and stable, too. Overall, stress levels of those who spend time in a home or office with plants are lower according to numerous independent studies.

The power of plants are nearly limitless, with a University of Georgie researcher, Stanley J. Kays, noting that some “ornamental species” have the capacity to get rid of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from air indoor even when they’re “just” for decoration. Some of the strongest VOC removers according to HortScience are English ivy, asparagus fern and variegated wax plant.

NASA weighs in

Most people know that plants are capable of soaking up carbon dioxide and then turning it into released oxygen (as photosynthesis), NASA has recently confirmed that plants are also able to get rid of harmful gases found in the air. In fact, NASA’s research showed that plants were capable of removing 87 percent or toxins in the air in only 24 hours. While the NASA scientists think that all types of houseplants may offer such benefits at varying degrees, they’ve yet to test all species. However, NASA’s tested and top winners include spider plants, ivy, ferns, dragon trees, palms, rubber plants, chrysanthemums and ficus.

How many plants do you need in your home or office to maximize the benefits? NASA recommends one plant per 10 square yards.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

Photo of Rosa 'New Day' at the Springs Preserve garden in Las Vegas, Nevada, taken May 2005 by User:Stan Shebs

Photo of Rosa ‘New Day’ at the Springs Preserve garden in Las Vegas, Nevada, taken May 2005 by User:Stan Shebs

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