The Surprising Health Benefit of Being in Nature
You’re probably familiar with the stress reducing benefits of being in nature, with countless studies revealing that spending time in green spaces is a great way to calm anxiety, improve your mood and even help you sleep better. More than this though, getting out into nature can also have a big impact on your physical health. Here’s why.
Taking deep breaths when you’re out in green spaces is a great way to kick start your parasympathetic nervous system and help your brain and body slow down, but it’s also a way to reap the benefits of phytoncides, antimicrobial, insecticidal compounds that emanate from trees. Rather like essential oils, trees release phytoncides to help protect themselves against harmful bacteria, insects and disease.
When humans breathe in these compounds, they’re subjected to a host of benefits that include anti-inflammatory action and even reduced blood glucose levels. Interestingly, breathing in phytoncides regularly can also boost your immune response by promoting the activity of natural killer cells, cancer-fighting proteins that target cancerous cells. According to one study, the impact of this can last for around 30 days after phytoncide exposure. While all trees release phytoncides, some species produce more than others, with evergreens like fir, pine and cedar trees being among those that are particularly prolific.