They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it seems a lush monstera or fabulous fiddle leaf fig could do just as well to have you feeling happy and healthy in your home.
We love the way indoor plants look in our homes. Their glossy green leaves do wonders to brighten up even the dullest of spaces, and that’s reason enough to fill any corner with as many pots as possible.
But indoor plants do a whole lot more for your home than up the Instagrammable factor; greenery in the home can bring about all sorts of health benefits.
“We have an innate desire, even if watered down, to connect with nature,” says Gavin Cole, psychology and horticulture academic at ACS Distance Education.
indoor plant pots
Greenery makes the world go round, and looks good in the process. Picture: Leaf Supply
“When we are able to do this, we feel better, are healthier, and lead more productive lives.”
Here, Gavin talks us through five of the many ways plants can improve your health and happiness in the home.
Lower stress levels
There’s a reason why you’d typically find lush palms inside day spas. Prior studies have indicated that plants in our home can actually help us to recover from stress and fatigue.
Gavin says: “Having greenery around us has been linked with lowered blood pressure and blood toxin levels, enhanced cognitive performance and memory, as well as recovery from stress-related health complaints.
“Natural environments are seen as restorative. That is, they allow people to change to more positive cognitive, emotional and behavioural states.”
Gavin says the act of taking care of plants can improve fine motor skills, increase muscle strength and tone, and improve coordination. Picture: Leaf Supply
Indoor plants are natural air filters, and have the wondrous ability to filter toxins out of the air like those found in cooking fumes, wall paints and nail polish. They also filter out nasty chemicals from the outdoors, like carbon monoxide from car fumes and gases released by industry.
And while reducing the amount of carbon monoxide, they also produce fresh oxygen for us to breathe. Isn’t that nice?
In addition to these benefits, plants are also helpful in an asthmatic household as they can remove dust particles from the air we breathe.
“Plants trap larger airborne particles of dust in their leaf hairs to prevent the dust from entering their pores. This particular dust is often linked to all sorts of respiratory diseases, so in this way, plants act as natural air filters,” says Gavin.
air quality home
Plants act as natural air filters to help you lived a more wholesome life at home. Picture: Ross Campbell
Tossing and turning? Why not try popping a pot plant in your bedroom?
“The mere presence of plants has a calming effect which helps to lower anxiety symptoms and stress levels,” says Gavin. “This in itself is likely to help people sleep more easily and perhaps to enjoy a better quality slumber.”
The scent of some plants have even been known to enhance sleep, too. And those looking to really bring about a better slumber may wish to include some lavender in their bunches.
“It’s associated with promoting drowsiness and a restful sleep and so is often found in pillows and pouches and used in aromatherapy,” says Gavin.
Pop a plant in your bedroom to enhance your slumber. Picture: Leaf Supply
If your home becomes something of a hot box in summer, and conversely, an icebox in winter, then you may want to consider adding a few plants before investing in an expensive air conditioning unit.
“Plants absorb heat and reduce temperatures,” says Gavin, adding: “This not only acts as insulation, keeping us cooler in summer and warmer in winter with less reliance on heating and cooling, but also reduces heat-related health problems like exhaustion and heat stroke.”
indoor plant ideas
Plants help keep a hot house cool. Picture: Leaf Supply
A happier mind
Aside from all the physiological benefits associated with greenery in the home, it’s been confirmed throughout a myriad of studies that plants can actually have a significant effect on one’s mental health.
A recent study in the Netherlands found that residents in areas where there was a greater amount of green space within a 1km radius of their homes had a lower prevalence rate for 15 of 24 diseases.
“The findings were most compelling for depression and anxiety,” says Gavin. “Other notable improvements were in the incidence of heart disease, chronic back and neck pain, migraine, and diabetes.”