The earth has been around for a long time. As the global population continues to increase, it’s becoming more important to take care of where we live.
Global warming has been a hot topic for decades. One solution that’s discussed frequently is something called environmental sustainability. This is a broad policy that was initiated in the late 1960s designed to encourage environmental, economical, and social decisions that help preserve a productive and harmonious way of life, both now and in the future (1).
A lot of emphasis has been placed on taking care of the earth, and rightly so. But what many don’t realize is that by caring for the earth, you’re also caring for yourself.
The idea of “going green” means being more conscientious of our choices and habits. What we do not only affects us, it affects those around us.
Nature is also greatly affected by our choices, for better or worse. And with spring right around the corner, the renewal of the earth comes as an inspiration for renewal in other areas of our lives.
Maybe one of these aspirations includes making “greener” choices. There are lots of reasons adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle can be beneficial.
In this article, we’ll talk about 10 ways going green can help your journey towards better health.
1. Air pollution and Heart Health
COPD, strokes, heart attacks are the #1 cause of death in the US. Research is still uncovering all the ways air pollution can affect your risk for developing heart related diseases (2).
Encouraging greener lifestyles by reducing the amount of air pollution can help improve heart and overall health.
How? By walking, riding your bike, or commuting more often.
2. Natural Sunlight
If you work indoors, you’re likely surrounded by artificial light. But not getting enough sunshine has been linked to different health concerns.
Letting in natural sunlight through a window (or taking your lunch breaks outside) can elevate your mood, as well as boost your immune system (3).
3. Commuting to Work
Taking the bus to work not only saves on gas, it can help you be more productive. Getting more work done on the way can lower stress levels when you’re home or at the office (4).
And because stress is a powerful factor in developing disease, any way to reduce it is a win-win.
4. Air Pollution and Lung Health
Your body runs off oxygen, but breathing air that’s heavily mingled with exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, and other toxic chemicals can make breathing difficult, even deadly to those with underlying health conditions (5).
Reducing air pollution by practicing more sustainable habits can help those who suffer from allergies, asthma, COPD, or other respiratory infections.
5. Riding Your Bike
Poor circulation is a major culprit for a lot of health issues. If roads are accommodating for bikers, leaving your car at home and taking the bike can give you a nice cardio workout.
Studies show getting regular exercise increases circulation throughout your body, improving overall health (6).
6. Swapping Plastic for Glass
It’s easy to reach for a plastic water bottle. After all, they’re designed to be convenient and easily accessible.
But plastic contains harmful components that can disrupt the natural rhythm of hormone function. Some plastics have even been linked to cancer (7).
Statistics show that plastic waste grows 9% each year, and kills nearly one million ocean animals annually (8). For the sake of your health and the planet, try to switch to a glass or other recycled material for drinking.
7. Less Red Meat, More Seafood
A juicy cheeseburger or sirloin steak can be a delicious dinner option. And while red meats do have some health benefits, eating too much has been linked to health issues like heart disease (9).
Eating more sustainably-sourced fish and seafood offers can help keep methane emissions low. Health wise, they’re a great source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
8. Shop Locally
Grocery stores offer a variety of fruits and vegetables, but many of them are shipped from miles away. They’re also usually picked too early, meaning they’re not as nutrient dense as you’re led to believe.
Shopping at farmer’s markets, or growing your own garden can help save gas and reduce the ecological footprint (10). It also ensures your body is getting optimal nutrition from the produce you’re getting.
9. Opt for a Natural Lawn
Fertilizer and weed control companies have made a lot of money over the years. Their products promise to eliminate unwanted vegetation, resulting in a beautiful lawn.
The problem is that many of these weed-killing chemicals get into the soil, disrupting the natural ecosystem and damaging many of the microorganisms that are essential to our health (11).
There are ways you can embrace a more natural lawn, such as planting bushes, ornamental grasses, or flowers. But if that isn’t good enough, look for natural alternatives to getting rid of weeds such as a pair of gloves and a trowel.
10. Use Green Cleaning Products
A clean house can bring about a sense of peace. But if you’re using products that contain harmful or even toxic chemicals, you’re putting yourself and loved ones in danger.
Many commercial cleaning products have ingredients that can irritate your lungs, cause skin rashes, headaches, and more (12). Switching to natural cleaning agents can help minimize these issues.
Good health is not an isolated endeavor. It involves many things, what you eat, where you spend your time, and how you think about things.
Springtime is a time of new beginnings – the chance to try again. Some people like to conduct spring home cleanings, others try out new things in their lawns or gardens… anything that helps wipe the slate clean for a fresh start.
If you’re on a health journey, you may be considering how you can benefit both yourself and the planet. There are many ways you can practice sustainability. Riding your bike, commuting to work, and opting for more natural cleaning products are ways you can go green for better health.
What are other ways you can adjust your lifestyle for a healthier outcome? We’d love to hear from you!
References & Disclaimer
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author