Justin W. Hancock, Costa Farms Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms
Looking to stay healthy this winter? Incorporate plants into your life!
As we’re putting our gardens to bed for the winter (or already have), it means we usually spend less time outside. And that can have a negative impact on our health. Happily, plants can help us live happier and healthier as the days get shorter.
Most of us don’t think about the air quality of our homes and offices, but it can actually be worse than outside. The more energy efficient a building is, the less it breathes. And that means that harmful chemicals, called VOCs, are trapped with us. In fact, the EPA has found that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the air you’re breathing outdoors.
Where do these VOCs come from? Lots of places --- new carpet, paneling, plywood, insulation, paint, floor polish, household cleaning products, pens and markers, printer toner, and glue are common sources. The good news is that plants work to remove these compounds from our air. NASA, in a scientific study, found that every 24 hours, houseplants can remove more than 85 percent of these VOCs from our homes.
Seven easy-care houseplants that are especially efficient at cleaning the air include:
For maximum air-cleaning ability, NASA recommends having at least one medium-sized houseplant for every 100 square feet of your home.
Plants also help us in other ways. Scientific studies show they help reduce stress, for example, and improve concentration, making them perfect for decorating your desk at the office or spaces where children study. One research project at the University of Michigan showed that concentration levels could rise by 20 percent—helping you get work done faster and more efficiently.
Keep yourself happier and healthier this winter; prescribe yourself a few houseplants!