Looking for an inexpensive way to freshen up your home? Look no further than adding plants. The greenery isn’t just for show: It’s scientifically proven to have health and other benefits. Here are five reasons to add houseplants to your home:

1. Deters Illness

The inclusion of plants in your home or workplace can fight illness and the symptoms that come with it, according to a study by the University of Agriculture in Norway.

Symptoms of a hoarse throat and dry or itching facial skin all decreased by about 20 percent when plants are added to a space. Overall, the study found that the presence of living indoor plants can improve health and also reduce the occurrence of minor ailments and illness.

Suggested plants to deter illness:

  • Bamboo Palm: The small tress grows 3 to 6 feet tall. Having it in your home maintains moisture in a room to help with dry and itching skin.
  • Florist’s Chrysanthemum: It eliminates toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene, benzene and ammonia, which might cause sore throat or other physical responses.

2. Cleaner Air

Living spaces can accumulate pollutants that are harmful to your health. These come into the home through cleaning products, furniture and more. You can combat this by simply adding plants to inside spaces, according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In the late 1980s, NASA teamed up with the Associated Contractors of America (ALCA) to uncover how houseplants purify air. The greenery helps filter out pollutants, which are harmful to our health. According to NASA, to get the most out of the air-filtering plant process, you should have one houseplant per every 100 square feet.

Suggested plants to clear the air:

  • Gerbera Daisy: These daisies are effective at eliminating traces of benzene as well as absorbing carbon dioxide. These plants emit bursts of oxygen overnight, which can help with your sleep quality.
  • Aloe Vera: This succulent gets rid of benzene found in household cleaners and chemicals. They are hearty plants, which don’t need lots of attention.
  • Spider Plant: These long-leafed plants reduce the amount of indoor pollution. The plant is able to clear out formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and carbon monoxide.

3. Grow Your Own Food

Indoor plants can be more than just something pretty to look at, they can also provide you with sustenance. An added bonus is that tending to these plants, like gardening outdoors, has health benefits.

A Dutch study found people who gardened for half an hour experienced lower cortisol levels than people who read indoors. This is significant because cortisol is a stress hormone. An in addition, a U.K. study published in the Journal of Public Health revealed that even 30 minutes of gardening a week was enough to enhance self-esteem.

Suggested plants you can grow for food:

  • Herbs: Grow some herbs to spice up your food and add green to your home. Basil is believed to be an anti-inflammatory when ingested, while mint can have a calming effect and rosemary may improve cholesterol levels.
  • Mandarin Oranges: These little fruits have stores of antioxidants, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and fiber.
  • Avocados: Avocados are full of healthy fats as well as vitamins E and B6 and carotenoids. All of these have links to reducing cancer and heart disease risks.

4. Improves Mental Health

Having plants in your space can help with concentration as well as have a calming effect. Studies have shown that work performed with ornamental plants nearby tends to be higher in quality. This is believed to be caused by stimulating the senses along with the mind, which in turn improves mental cognition and performance.

Not only that, but flowers can spawn happiness as they help set a positive tone and allow people to feel secure and relaxed. The natural aesthetic beauty can be soothing to people.

Suggested plants to improve mental health:

  • Philodendron: These climbing plants can be trained to grow up or down. This means you can easily guide the plant to become a wall in your home.
  • Song of India: This brightly colored plant brings lightness to a space and provides a great mood lifter.
  • Snake Plant: This low-maintenance plant can grow in darker spots indoors, making it ideal for bringing a splash of lush greenery to a blah corner.

5. Reduces Stress

Image by Digigalos (Own work) | CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Studies have also shown plants can reduce stress. A report out of Washington State University found that plants are particularly beneficial to the stress and mood of inhabitants where windows aren’t present.

Suggested plants to reduce stress:

  • Red-Edged Dracaena: The vibrant plant can grow upwards of 15 feet, allowing the stress relief to spread across a portion of your room, filling it with positive vibes and organic decoration.
  • Peace Lily: Sending up big, beautiful white flowers, the plant brings natural beauty into any space. It can also help reduce toxins present in the household.
  • Flowering Maple: If properly cared for, this plant will be rarely without blossoms. The tropical shrub flourishes in-home temperatures.

Add some plants to your home and you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel. It’s not in your head – the greenery is scientifically proven to bring health and wellness to indoor spaces.

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