Green Spaces are the Healthiest Places to Be
Can you feel better simply looking at plants? Just about everyone knows that plant-based nutrition is the healthiest way to eat. But what about just spending time in green spaces? Scientists have found that merely being out in nature, even without exercising, boosts energy, makes you feel relaxed, and adds to longevity.
When my older daughter Rebecca was visiting last weekend, we dedicated a day to getting away from the city into gorgeous mountain scenery. We decided to hike at Mt. Palomar State Park. A two-hour drive took us back hundreds of years to the time that trees were everywhere and wild animals shared our everyday lives. We saw two large deer and a woodpecker with a spectacular red head diligently pecking at a five-story pine tree.
A fallen tree about five feet across became our delightful playground as we
climbed among its branches. A few minutes walk from there, a peaceful open meadow invited us to stay and share its quiet solitude for a timeless century.
Sadly, because of California’s budget crisis, this extraordinary park will be closed for one third of the year: from December 1st through the next April. What a loss for all of us. Many other state parks will also close. Where will people get to rejuvenate in green spaces? How will we maintain our roots in the natural world?
Isn’t this counterproductive, at a time when health care costs are severely straining government budgets at all levels? Parks enhance health, mood, and productivity. How can anyone think we will save money, even in the short-run, by closing them?
If everyone ate a whole foods, plant-based diet, the national health care expenditure would shrink so drastically we could open every park every day with so much money left over! Wouldn’t that be a better choice for all of us? Live free of chronic illness in places that delight the eyes and the soul – simply by making a new choice the next time you are hungry.
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Blog posting by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet, the smart person’s nutrition book built on sustainable food choices. Enjoy six kinds of whole foods for permanent, hunger-free weight loss and health.