How can nature rejuvenate us on one hand and damage our health when it’s not cared for on the other? These are some timely tips and tools to help you care for your environment so it can care for you.
1. Eating a Mediterranean diet could be linked to increased environmental awareness
That’s the conclusion of a small study out of Turkey, which followed 395 people following the popular diet that centres fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fish but limits red meat and processed foods.
The diet has been ranked the healthiest by U.S. News & World Report for the past four years and counting. And interestingly enough, those who more closely followed its whole foods approach also walked away with an increased awareness of the ecological footprints of their diet.
This is just the latest indication that the healthiest diets for humans also seem to be the best for the planet.
2. The production of plastic harms our health
We talk a lot about the threat of plastic waste, but the material’s impact starts long before that.
A new analysis in Nature underscores that the ‘health footprint’ of plastic has doubled since 1995, and 6% of global coal electricity is used for plastics production.
Harvard University estimates that air pollution from burning fossil fuels for the production of goods like plastic is responsible for 1 in 5 premature deaths around the world.
3. Pollution seems to diminish some of the brain benefits of exercise
Aerobic exercise boosts brain health in a number of key ways, but some of those may be negated if the exercise is done in an area with high air pollution, according to a newly published study on 8,600 participants. However, researchers say that the benefits of exercise still seem to outweigh the risks if you live in a polluted area.
4. Looking at nature as you work can provide a mental boost
On the plus side, interacting with nature – even if it’s just from your desk – seems to pay dividends for your mental health. Researchers have found that nature contact in and near the office environment improved mental health by lowering stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. This makes it more imperative than ever for any company to help foster better mental health among their employees by providing more opportunities to interact with nature.