To Your Health Newsletter

September, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 18)
Go Green to Live Longer

By Editorial Staff

We've talked a great deal over the years about the power of a vegetable-rich diet, particularly green vegetables, in optimizing health and minimizing disease risk. Going green in another way helps you stay healthy and live longer, too, and all it takes is a commitment to going outdoors as much as possible, particularly during certain months of the year.

Spending as much time as possible in green, natural environments may increase longevity by promoting physical activity and social engagement, lowering stress and reducing exposure to unhealthy environmental variables such as pollution, noise and extreme temperature. A recent study emphasizes this potential, tracking 108,630 women enrolled in the Nurses Health Study for nearly a decade.

Exposure to seasonal greenness was estimated based on satellite imagery that captured vegetation patterns surrounding each study participant's home address. Women living in areas with the highest cumulative average greenness during the study period had a 12 percent lower rate of all-cause, non-accidental mortality (particularly respiratory and cancer mortality) compared to women living in areas with the lowest cumulative average greenness. These findings were consistent even when the study author's accounted for other potential longevity variables such as age, race, smoking, socioeconomic status, etc.).

There's no doubt about it: Going green, whether it's the foods you eat or where you live, is good for you! Make green a part of your life and reap the longevity benefits.