Why plants are good for you

Keeping plants in your home and work space has a range of positive effects, both physical and mental.

This is more than just folk wisdom – an increasing number of academic studies support the idea that keeping houseplants is a great idea. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider greening your own house.

The first and most obvious benefit of keeping living plants indoors is that they will help refresh the air. Through photosynthesis, plants convert water, light and carbon dioxide into the sugars they need to survive, often releasing oxygen as a byproduct. Less carbon dioxide and more oxygen means healthier, more breathable air!

Plants release more than just oxygen into the air. Only a very small percentage of the water a plant absorbs will be lost, while most of it is returned to the air as water vapour. This increased humidity can prevent symptoms such as dry skin, eye irritation, sneezing and coughing and many more associated with “Sick Building Syndrome”. In fact, plants may be the best solution for healthy interior spaces for a myriad of reasons.

In addition to removing carbon dioxide from the air, plants are also remarkably capable of filtering out more dangerous toxins and particles. Research by NASA shows that many harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which are released into the air by synthetic materials, can be absorbed and neutralised by houseplants. As our homes and workplaces become more airtight for the sake of energy efficiency, this plays a greater role – more oxygen and moisture, less carbon dioxide and harmful compounds.

Since the 1980’s, numerous scientific studies have shown that plants in hospital rooms have a positive effect on patients’ recovery and their state of mind. Patients with plants in their room recover more quickly, use less medication and report less pain than patients without greenery. These results provide an excellent example of how plants can have concrete positive effects on our health and wellbeing.

Not all the benefits of plants are equally tangible. The psychological benefits of a green environment can be equally important. Plants have been shown to reduce stress and fatigue while improving concentration and productivity. And they’re beautiful! Surrounding yourself with beauty is probably the easiest way to boost your happiness – so add a few more plants and smiles to your life.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Further research will likely continue to show the dependence we have on plants for our survival and wellbeing. It is safe to say that we can all benefit from bringing a little bit of nature into our homes. Who knows – you may find yourself happier and healthier than ever!

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