Grow your way to better health

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With summer finally coming upon us and the days getting longer, it might be time to start looking at ways to open up the feel of your room as you prep for finals. One of the easiest ways to do this is through looking after some houseplants, especially herb pots!

Plants are scientifically proven to improve your body, mind, and general living space. First, plants absorb carbon dioxide and, through photosynthesis, release oxygen into the environment. This perfectly compliments human beings, who consume oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Plants also remove toxins from the air, including those caused by cigarette smoke and benzenes (found in books and other printed papers). You can also sleep easier, as plants release a moisture vapour which can increase the humidity in the room, helping to ease any respiratory distress (think about ending those final exams colds caused by extreme stress). The Agricultural University of Norway also discovered that placing plants in your room could decrease things like dry skin, colds, sore throats, and dry coughing.

Plants assist with improving overall health as well. A study from Kansas State University found that patients in hospital that had plants in their rooms requested less pain medication, had lower heart rates and blood pressure, and experiences less fatigue and anxiety. The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture found that in the workplace setting, an environment ripe with plants decreased headaches, colds, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. And when you add that to a study done at The Royal College of Agriculture (England), which found that there was a 70% increase in attentiveness in students taught in classrooms with plants, it would seem that having plants in your room during exam period is the ticket to better concentration and perhaps a better mark! Studies also found that having plants nearby while you study could increase memory retention up to 20% and improve concentration, memory, and productivity overall.

Still not sold? If you like to cook in your flat, you may find that buying a package of fresh parsley or basil every time you want to use them in a dish just isn’t cost-effective. You’ll be buying a pack of basil for around 80p (with a shelf life of around 5-9 days), when you could be buying a full plant for £1 and using it throughout term! Or if cooking isn’t really your thing (I, too, enjoy my microwave a little bit too much), just think about the benefit of beautifying your room. Plants need sunlight, forcing you to open up your curtains a bit more often and get some much-needed vitamin D, which will make you happier on the whole. Plants have been proven to psychologically make interior spaces feel more spacious, keeping the feeling that you’re trapped in a cell in your flat at bay.

And while you’re cramming for those exams, keep in mind that the health benefits of plants have led to increased self-esteem, generally improved mood and sense of well-being, increased feelings of calm, relaxation, and optimism, and an increase of a sense of stability and control. Instead of killing off Sims for hours at a time (we’ve all done it), think about getting some plants instead and see how long you can keep them alive this summer term.

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