Chances are, you're spending more time than home than ever thanks to the ongoing global health crisis. In which case, it's a great idea to populate your home with items to benefit both your physical and mental health. House plants, which provide clean air and de-stressing properties, should be top of the list, alongside the best diffuser for essential oils which can also help your mental health and better your sleep.
House plants have long been known to aid in reducing stress. For example, one study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology (opens in new tab) found indoor plants had a big stress-relieving effect on young men, all of whom were rated as being highly stressed out by constant connectivity.
The study said: "Developments in information technology cause a great deal of stress to modern people, and controlling this stress now becomes an important issue."
It points to house plants as a potential solution, as they were found to suppress the overactivity of the nervous system, lower blood pressure and promote "comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings".
There's physical health benefits too: all this relaxation helps us in our weight loss efforts. Stress causes the body to produce a hormone known as cortisol, which could be considered our "fight or flight" hormone, similar to adrenaline. In times of danger, cortisol would be released, increasing the amount of sugars in our blood to provide us with more energy.
Of course, these days we're stressed all the time, and those blood sugar levels simply turn into fat. However, if we can find ways to be less stressed, such as exercise, learning how to meditate or filling our living space with plants, our cortisol production is likely to decrease, bringing our blood sugar levels down.
In addition, NASA research (opens in new tab) found plants emit water vapor that creates a pumping action to pull contaminated air down around a plant’s roots, where it is then converted into food for the plant. It then emits clean oxygen for us to breathe, creating a more pleasant living environment.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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