5 Science Backed Facts That Plants Are Good For You
As consumers, we’re forever being told the ever-changing health benefits of all items. From energy drinks to vegan diets, certain coloured cars to devices that measure your heartbeat, there are experts constantly telling us that even the unhealthiest product will somehow benefit our lives in some negligible way. Not that we would suggest that these benefits are made up, but when it comes to health advice, we like ours backed up with facts. That’s one of the reasons we love plants, as the positives aren’t just opinion or word of mouth, but actual scientific fact.
Current trends mean that home jungles have, rightly, found a place in millions of people’s houses and hearts, and the benefits they provide make us believe the ‘house plant boom’ isn’t a trend, but a culture of living that’s here to stay, because indoor plants can be seen as a necessity rather than a decorative object.
After all, looking after your health will always been in fashion. Here, we’ve researched and collected the top 5 Science-Backed Benefits of Indoor Plants.
Indoor plants have been shown to help reduce stress levels
You’ll hear many plant parents jokingly complain about the constant worries of looking after houseplants, and how the stress is like looking after real children (though worst, as least a child lets you know what they want). But when plant owners are honest with themselves, the hobby is actually on the same calming level as knitting or baking - yes there are stressful moments, but the calming satisfaction you get from successfully maintaining a healthy plant are extremely stress reducing. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that plants in your home and office can make you feel more comfortable, eased, and calm.
In the study, participants were given two different tasks: repotting a houseplant or completing a minor computer-based task. When the tasks were completed, researchers measured the biological factors associated with stress, including heart rate and blood pressure.
From the results, they found that the gardening task lowered the stress response in the people taking part. Researchers established that working with plants can reduce both physiological and psychological stress from the findings.
Plants help combat illness, as well as help you recover from them
Because of the above results with regards to stress, it should be established that plants have a positive effect on a person’s health, as stress can exasperate an illness to more serious levels. Reducing your stress when ill can help with recovery, but can houseplants help with illnesses in other ways?
An early 2000s study revealed that people recovering from several kinds of surgery needed less pain medication and had shorter hospital stays than people who weren’t looking at greenery during their recovery periods.
Studies also document that using plants in interior spaces reduces the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats, and dry coughs through the moisture they release in the air. The research showed that higher absolute humidity is helpful for decreased survival and transmission of the flu virus. So, plants create a more humid environment that in turn helps the body fight back against flus and bacteria.
Plants may improve the quality of indoor air
Every plant owner knows that many houseplants have the ability to improve air flow, as well as the quality of the air too, but how does the science work?
Phytoremediation is the term for when plants clean the air around them, cleansing toxins naturally. Researchers discovered this in the 80s while looking for ways to improve the air quality on spaceships and seal aircrafts, and they concluded that the roots and soil of houseplants reduced airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) significantly.
In fact, NASA has spent a lot of time researching air quality in sealed environments - “Both plant leaves and roots are utilised in removing trace levels of toxic vapours from inside tightly sealed buildings. Low levels of chemicals such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.”
Plants can boost your productivity
A Boston Fern may turn out to be the best work colleague you’ve ever had (sorry Dan, your friendship was good while it lasted). Multiple studies have discovered that plants in the workspace increase both productivity and creativity.
One frequently cited study from 1996 found that students in a campus computer lab worked 12 percent faster and were less stressed when plants were placed nearby. This makes sense, seeing as plants are naturally destress you, so it would make sense that from there they would motivate you too. It’s also been found that work productivity is increased because plants in the office result in people taking fewer sick days too, a study has found.
Plants help you breathe
Inhaling brings oxygen into the body, exhaling releases carbon dioxide - we all learnt this at school. And we also learned that during photosynthesis, plants do the opposite, in a way.
They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which means when it comes to teamwork plants and humans are a winning duo. So, does placing a plant in the home increase the oxygen in the room? Surprisingly, one plant can do wonders and it’s not a case of needing an entire jungle.
The interesting thing about plants is at night, some of them switch things up a bit, and take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Try to place plants in the bedroom that don’t do this.