Have you received your daily dose of vitamin G today?
To all my science readers: no, you were not asleep during that part of the Biochemistry lecture. Vitamin G is a newly created "vitamin" in which the G stands for greenspace. This new "vitamin" was the focus of the new book Your Brain on Nature and the talk I attended last Monday.
Here are some snippets from the talk:
- Research has shown that people who exercise outdoors have lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), blood pressure, and better immune system functioning after their workout compared to those who exercise in a gym.
- Trees secrete chemicals that provoke feelings of well-being (which may be why we feel better after being in nature).
- Research has shown that natural killer cells (part of our immune system) are increased for a week after we spend a good chunk of time in a forest.
- Some counselors have set-up counseling sessions that take place outdoors. The natural, peaceful setting is thought to help the healing process of their patients.
- It is thought that people have pets in order to better connect them with nature.
- Kids who spend times in gardens are way more likely to eat their veggies!
- Urban greenspace is good for you too; you can still reap the benefits of nature without having meadows and mountains in your background.
- Vitamin G is the most affordable vitamin on the market. It's completely free and everyone has access to it.
- We need to start paying attention to our "screen time". How much time do we spend a day staring at a computer, cell phone, or television?
- Society is suffering from infotoxicity. We are overloaded with information and most of it is useless (e.g. useless Tweets, the Facebook reel, advertisements left-right-and-center, reality TV).
- Kids today can't recognize plants and animals in their own backyards. "A shallow connection with nature leads to shallow solutions for conservation".
- No greenspaces nearby? Try adding some plants to your home/office. Research shows beneficial health effects can be achieved by having four plants in the home/office.
- Vitamin blue (oceans, lakes, rivers, seas, etc) is just as good as vitamin greenspace.
- These are just some of the things that were discussed during the talk. I'd recommend reading the book for way more information and inspiration!
So, what's the doctor's prescription? 20 minutes of vitamin G daily for good health.