'Simply Seeing Green Spaces' May Help Reduce Cravings

'Simply seeing green spaces' may help reduce cravings

ISLAMABAD (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News / Online - 17th July, 2019) Contact with nature can demonstrably help improve and maintain our health, according to scientific research.Last year, for example, a randomized controlled trial found that spending time walking in nature helped lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels and significantly improve mood.And, earlier this year, a study that we covered on Medical news Todayconcluded that even just having access to green spaces throughout childhood decreased a person's risk of developing mental healthproblems later in life.Now, research by investigators from the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom suggests that the passive enjoyment of green spaces for instance, being able to see the trees in your back garden from your bedroom window can help reduce the frequency and intensity of cravings with potentially harmful effects, such as those for unhealthful snacks, alcohol, or tobacco.Lead author Leanne Martin and colleagues present their findings in a study paper that features in the journal Health & Place."It has been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is linked to a person's well-being.

But, for there to be a similar association with cravings from simply being able to see green spaces adds a new dimension to previous research," says Martin, for whom the current research was part of a Master's degree project.

"This is the first study to explore this idea, and it could have a range of implications for both public health and environmental protection programs in the future," she adds.For this study, the researchers surveyed 149 participants aged 21-65 years, asking them whether and in what way they had any exposure to nature.

They also questioned the participants on the frequency and intensity of their unhealthful cravings, as well as how these affected their emotional health.As part of the survey, the team also looked at the proportion of green space present in each participant's neighborhood, the access to green views from their home, their access to a personal or community garden, and how often they used public green spaces.Martin and colleagues found that people who had access to a garden either a private one or a community one reported more infrequent and less intense cravings, and people whose views from home incorporated more than 25% green space described similar benefits.The researchers note that the participants in question reaped these benefits irrespective of their level of physical activity, which the investigators took into account.

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