Are There Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature?

Are There Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature?
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Studies on green exercising, the value of greenspaces, or even just viewing trees outside the window on surgery recovery.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

For perhaps 99.99 percent of our time on Earth as a species, we’ve been living outdoors in the natural environment. Might there be a health benefit to returning now and again, and surrounding ourselves with nature? That’s a question urban planners have asked: Are people living in greener areas healthier than people living in less green areas? Should we put in a park or another carpark?

In a greener environment, people report fewer symptoms of illness, and have better perceived general and mental health––and by a considerable amount. Assuming the link is cause and effect, 10 percent more greenspace leads to a decrease in the number of symptoms that is comparable with a decrease in age by five years, but that is a big assumption.

Still, you could imagine some potential mechanisms of why it could be. It could mean less air pollution. And air pollution is no joke; it is the fifth leading cause of death on planet Earth, wiping out about five million people a year. Though, of course, our diet kills twice as many, as killer risk factor #1.

So, it could be an antipollution effect. Or maybe there’s something special about experiencing greenspaces, beyond them just offering more opportunities to exercise. But that’s probably the simplest explanation: natural settings simply promote “health-enhancing behavior rather than having specific and direct benefits for health.” It’s harder to go jogging in the park when there is no park. Ironically, it seems that even when people have access to nature, they don’t necessarily take advantage of it. And, even if there was a link, instead of natural environments drawing out increased physical activity, maybe physically active individuals are just drawn to living where there’s nature. But what I wanted to know is, apart from the promotion of physical activity, are there added benefits to health of mere exposure to natural environments?

Now certainly, just exposure to sunlight can treat things like seasonal affective disorder, and provide the sunshine vitamin—vitamin D. But are there any other inherent benefits? You don’t know, until you put it to the test. Some of the studies are just silly, though. At first, I thought this was about academic achievement and vegetarianism, but no—it’s vegetation. They found a correlation between non-forest vegetation and graduation rates for schools. Maybe the Ivy League edge is all just ‘cause the ivy.

Okay, but this study starts to make things more interesting. The view through a window may influence recovery from surgery. At this suburban hospital, some patient rooms looked out at trees, and others just to a brick wall. And, the “surgical patients assigned to rooms with windows looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays” and took fewer potent painkillers than similar patients in similar rooms, but with windows facing the brick wall. You can’t chalk that up to a vitamin D effect.

What could it be about just looking at trees? Maybe it’s the vitamin G, just the color of green. We know how healthy it is to eat our greens. What about just looking at them? Researchers had people exercise while watching a video simulating going through a natural-color green setting, the same video in black and white, or everything flipped to red, and…no differences were noted (with the exception of the red just making people feel angry).

The most interesting suggested mechanism I ran across was fractals. You know how all the branches of a tree kind of have the same shape of a tree themselves? Fractal patterns are found throughout nature, where you see a cascade of self-similar patterns over a range of magnifications. And hook people up to an EEG, and for some reason our brain apparently seems to like them.

Regardless of the mechanism, if you compile together all the controlled studies on using nature as a health promotion intervention, you tend to see mostly psychological benefits, whereas the findings related to physical outcomes were less consistent. The most common type of study outcome was self-reported measures of different emotions. Like, what makes you feel better, staring at a kiwifruit orchard, or staring at a building? Awkwardly described, thanks presumably to the language barrier, as a comparison of “synthetic versus organic stimulation.”

Natural settings may make people more attentive, less sad, but when it comes to some objective measures like blood pressure, no significant effect. So, you know, you ask people who exercise outdoors, and they say they feel great, suggesting that “green exercise” activities have the capacity to increase mood, focus, and energy, and within just like five minutes of being out there in the woods.

Yet these studies tended not to be randomized trials. They just asked people who already sought out nature what they thought about nature; and so, no wonder they like it—otherwise they wouldn’t be out there. But hey, nature-based interventions are low-cost––often free in fact––and non-invasive (unless you count the mosquitoes). So, if you want “a natural high,” I say go for it; whatever makes you happy. (Though evidently not all green exercisers like trees. Golfers just viewed them as obstacles.)

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

For perhaps 99.99 percent of our time on Earth as a species, we’ve been living outdoors in the natural environment. Might there be a health benefit to returning now and again, and surrounding ourselves with nature? That’s a question urban planners have asked: Are people living in greener areas healthier than people living in less green areas? Should we put in a park or another carpark?

In a greener environment, people report fewer symptoms of illness, and have better perceived general and mental health––and by a considerable amount. Assuming the link is cause and effect, 10 percent more greenspace leads to a decrease in the number of symptoms that is comparable with a decrease in age by five years, but that is a big assumption.

Still, you could imagine some potential mechanisms of why it could be. It could mean less air pollution. And air pollution is no joke; it is the fifth leading cause of death on planet Earth, wiping out about five million people a year. Though, of course, our diet kills twice as many, as killer risk factor #1.

So, it could be an antipollution effect. Or maybe there’s something special about experiencing greenspaces, beyond them just offering more opportunities to exercise. But that’s probably the simplest explanation: natural settings simply promote “health-enhancing behavior rather than having specific and direct benefits for health.” It’s harder to go jogging in the park when there is no park. Ironically, it seems that even when people have access to nature, they don’t necessarily take advantage of it. And, even if there was a link, instead of natural environments drawing out increased physical activity, maybe physically active individuals are just drawn to living where there’s nature. But what I wanted to know is, apart from the promotion of physical activity, are there added benefits to health of mere exposure to natural environments?

Now certainly, just exposure to sunlight can treat things like seasonal affective disorder, and provide the sunshine vitamin—vitamin D. But are there any other inherent benefits? You don’t know, until you put it to the test. Some of the studies are just silly, though. At first, I thought this was about academic achievement and vegetarianism, but no—it’s vegetation. They found a correlation between non-forest vegetation and graduation rates for schools. Maybe the Ivy League edge is all just ‘cause the ivy.

Okay, but this study starts to make things more interesting. The view through a window may influence recovery from surgery. At this suburban hospital, some patient rooms looked out at trees, and others just to a brick wall. And, the “surgical patients assigned to rooms with windows looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays” and took fewer potent painkillers than similar patients in similar rooms, but with windows facing the brick wall. You can’t chalk that up to a vitamin D effect.

What could it be about just looking at trees? Maybe it’s the vitamin G, just the color of green. We know how healthy it is to eat our greens. What about just looking at them? Researchers had people exercise while watching a video simulating going through a natural-color green setting, the same video in black and white, or everything flipped to red, and…no differences were noted (with the exception of the red just making people feel angry).

The most interesting suggested mechanism I ran across was fractals. You know how all the branches of a tree kind of have the same shape of a tree themselves? Fractal patterns are found throughout nature, where you see a cascade of self-similar patterns over a range of magnifications. And hook people up to an EEG, and for some reason our brain apparently seems to like them.

Regardless of the mechanism, if you compile together all the controlled studies on using nature as a health promotion intervention, you tend to see mostly psychological benefits, whereas the findings related to physical outcomes were less consistent. The most common type of study outcome was self-reported measures of different emotions. Like, what makes you feel better, staring at a kiwifruit orchard, or staring at a building? Awkwardly described, thanks presumably to the language barrier, as a comparison of “synthetic versus organic stimulation.”

Natural settings may make people more attentive, less sad, but when it comes to some objective measures like blood pressure, no significant effect. So, you know, you ask people who exercise outdoors, and they say they feel great, suggesting that “green exercise” activities have the capacity to increase mood, focus, and energy, and within just like five minutes of being out there in the woods.

Yet these studies tended not to be randomized trials. They just asked people who already sought out nature what they thought about nature; and so, no wonder they like it—otherwise they wouldn’t be out there. But hey, nature-based interventions are low-cost––often free in fact––and non-invasive (unless you count the mosquitoes). So, if you want “a natural high,” I say go for it; whatever makes you happy. (Though evidently not all green exercisers like trees. Golfers just viewed them as obstacles.)

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

For more on air pollution, see Best Food to Counter the Effects of Air Pollution and The Role of Pesticides & Pollution in Autism.

Of course there are benefits to any kind of exercise, indoors or out:

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136 responses to “Are There Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature?

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  1. Would you be willing/able to move away from YouTube? YT has become saturated with ads and I’m not willing to pay google for YouTube Premium to avoid the commercials.

    1. There are add-ons available for most browsers (all that I use) that will knock out the obtrusive content of YT (and FB) if you’d prefer to have no advertising viewing of such things.

      I cannot tolerate the ads. If I had to watch “added” content, I wouldn’t watch ANY at all. They drive my senses and sanity to the edge. Yes it’s unusual, but it’s just how I am. I don’t fight it anymore.

      I only ever watch NF.O videos here at NF.O, and if any ads play I’m not a party to them. I am surprised that NF.O is a “monetized” channel on YT.

      Try some add-ons and watch no more ads if you like, it can be that simple. Some sites will fuss about it, others won’t run at all. But that’s okay for me. I don’t need 37 different elements clogging up my screen and mind.

      1. I usually like to watch yt from my tv, but there is no way to use an ad-blocker in that situation. I’ll just have to watch them from a browser that has an ad-blocker.

  2. This makes a great deal of sense. Every day I rack my brain over which scenery I want to enjoy for my daily walk. The mall is always the last choice. However, I have heard from a few gastroenterologists that it also enhances the microbiome. I would be delighted to see more on this aspect.

  3. Looks out the window of her office and sees the brick wall. Sigh.

    Just one tiny sliver of sky and one tiny ray of sun hitting the top of the curtain.

    But I have to turn my neck all the way around to see the window at all.

    1. That makes it even more important to get that hour’s daily walk in. I get out there rain or shine, hot or freezing, to to experience the world that day.

      1. Barb,

        I love that you are a take on the world person. Admirable.

        I used to walk 13 miles every morning.

        I switched to a gym because of the weather but I was also walking my dog and now I don’t go to the gym and don’t have a dog and I haven’t been getting out there nearly enough.

        I do have a 10-year-old who wants to race me from mile marker to mile marker with her on a bike and me on my feet.

      2. Barb,
        Quit hogging the endorphins. Actually, I’ve been getting my share. I’ve been working out outdoors for over 70 days now. This includes stretching on an abandoned bridge, then series running the bridge, running a loop in my neighborhood and running up a hill three times. The outdoor beauty by the lake and the runner’s high keeps me giggling for no good reason. I worked on some poetry afterwards, along the lines of getting my neurotransmitters going. Some days my muscles get the message; some days they don’t. I can say I’ve had success getting back into running–on good days. After the high this morning I had a mood cascade downwards. Bummer. I got moving again and made some progress in my creative studio I’ve been working on for years. It’s really coming along. I’m transitioning from a house painter to an artist. Currently I’m having fun with driftwood sculpture and will move into canvas art soon.

        1. Dan, it all sounds so good! I found for myself I have to keep showing up, good day or bad.On the not-so-great days I might just go out and enjoy the bike ride or walk. I’m impressed with your routine and happy for you re the studio… now that’s a wonderful treat!

          It’s funny reading people’s dependence upon technology. I have never played a video game, and haven’t owned a tv except for a 10 year span decades ago. I dont own a computer per se, but maybe one of these days… I don’t have a microwave or other appliances. I do have a fridge and stove and a windup alarm clock lol No wonder I like being outside lol

          1. Barb,

            You wrote: “haven’t owned a tv except for a 10 year span decades ago”

            Long ago and far away, a girlfriend decided that we needed to see “Dancing with Wolves” together: for some reason, the movie had made an impression on her. If anyone has a clue as to why, please let me know. She obtained a video and informed me that she was bringing it over – when I informed her that I had no video machine to play it on. She seemed shocked – everyone had a video machine! – this was a given in her world. I thought that was it – but never underestimate the determination . . .

            She came over with the video while hauling in a whole video machine! Strong girl! Only to discover that I did not have a television set.

            Guttural growl. Back in the car she went – time passed – and she delivered and set up a portable television set which she balanced on a foldout chair – I did have a foldout chair. I respect determination – no matter how doubtful the cause. Now – now we could finally proceed to her idea of a romantic evening together. But there was a problem –

            You see – I had not watched any television in a long, long time. I no longer knew how to do so. I found myself getting up off the couch and pacing about. I could not sit still. I kept going to each side of the television set to look for something – then behind the set. Something was wrong – but I did no know what it was. Neither of us could figure out what was going on. Until –

            During horse running scenes, my eyes kept expecting the horses to run off the margins of the television set. When the horses did not do so, my brain could not figure out what in the world was going on. I mean – horses are racing along full tilt – horses are big – maybe fifteen, sixteen hands high – how could a whole galloping herd of horses possibly be staying in just one square 19″ space? It makes absolutely no sense. My brain was not wired to passively accept the television camera as mine own eyes – it was reacting to what it actually saw happening.

            After understanding that, I calmed down and I adapted. Sat down and pretended that I was watching the action through a pair of 7×35 binoculars. But I wondered – was it really right to passively trust a machine to be my eyes for me – I like my own eyes very much, thank you. And it made me concerned for the rest of the passive television-watching world.

            If you trust a machine to be your eyes – will you trust it to be your mind, as well?

            I am not sure that that evening could be considered to have been an unqualified success. But I came to admire her determination – and she seemed to like how things progressed, as well.

            Things did not work as planned – but we worked things out together.

            Perhaps that is what life is all about.

            ————————————————–

            Barb.

            One day someone is going to be convinced of the tremendous importance of you watching something on a television set.

            If you do so – and you start pacing about – looking at each side of the set – and looking behind the set – now – now you’ll know what is going on.

            All the best –

            Vivamus

          2. Barb,
            I spent the morning relocating my computer station. I’m hooked on this technology. At least I have more room now for indoor exercising. It also rained this morning so I did not do my exercising outside. Later in the day probably. I admire your gumption for sticking to your workout. I have a gym to go to but it is a ten mile round trip. With the virus precautions I am just swimming there now.
            This discussion has me thinking that I should do more nature excursions, like day trips. Maybe walking excursions. Cemeteries are good exercise excursions. I ride my bike in some of them. Natural Falls State Park is a favorite of mine and it is only one hour away. It has a hike down to the bottom of a travertine waterfall. This can be seen in the movie, Where The Red Fern Grows.

    2. Deb,
      Reminds me of the two years I spent in Mrs. Walden’s Jr. high typing class. There were windows looking out to a brick wall. At least I could tell what the weather was like.

  4. When you talked about physically active people moving to nature. Money comes to mind.

    Poor people can’t live near nature.

    Inner-city people often have never seen a tree or a plot of grass at all and they can’t afford to move.

    Never could afford a vacation, even if they could understand where to go and what to do to have one.

      1. George,

        They get the good rehabs, too.

        I have watched so many relatives go through rehab, but the wealthy ones get rehabs with sun rooms and fireplaces and little shops. That relative was going to be having Medicare and supplemental insurance pay for everything but the hospital sent them to a rehab that was so gorgeous and elegant and had views of nature. I was amazed at the difference. There were two cafeterias for visitors and one was more like a Starbucks. Compared to my other relatives being in places where there was nothing at all to look at other than hallways and nurses stations.

    1. There are lots of poor people living out here “in nature”. Yes most of them didn’t “up and move” out here to “nature” but trust me-the average income levels drop precipitously when you get away from higher population densities.

      The tiniest bit of greenery/sky gives HOPE to those recovering. A wall of bricks feels like a tomb. Choose you views carefully. Import pics and scenes of the out of doors to decorate any drab areas where life/work/job must happen away from windows. Adopt a plant. Plant a seed. Participate in some small way in the cycle of life, sun-driven green life.

      1. Wade, I like that approach. Especially in the city, one can really do up a space with tons of plants and your biggest challenge is just watering them. You can have a living wall even, instead of a 100″ widescreen 5k TV.

        Its counter intuitive these days, and goes to some inclusion, some guidance, consult and education, but the truth is, this living wall, (bringing nature indoors in any location) is actually cheaper than the TV and sound system. And Deb its likely that the inner city dweller on 3 jobs at minimum wage actually does have this giant TV.

        I’m not disparaging them at all, and as I said before its a function of education, and literally the much needed anti-brainwashing that tells us all we should be consuming goods en mass, and that we are “less than” if we don’t have the biggest screen on our wall to more clearly see the next advertisement telling us what we lack.

        Vicious cycle.

        I’m just offering hope to these marginalized people in the sense that one can, anyone, remove the TV and make a wall of plants, and learn to meditate, and literally perhaps, achieve the same positive effects being discussed here, regarding exposure to nature. Not a 1 -1 substitute I know but even a basement can be an oasis, it really can.

        Or keep the giant TV but surround it with plants, and broadcast incredible 5k scenes of nature and calming sounds.

        Millions of people here, live in rural areas surrounded by nature, and only leave the TV long enough to drive the car to a nearby local big box retailer. They are ALL fat.

        In the end it will be about choices. These choices will be made based on our perception of if we even deserve them, plus the question of affordability.

        These last two points are where education, guidance, and consultation likely come in.

        I think that poor people don’t even believe they deserve to have the types of calm and comfort which they typically perceive the “rich” to enjoy daily. They feel out of place even walking into a fine dining place, and so many aspects of life itself become off limits in an insulating self fulfilling prophesy, and is conveniently and willfully overlooked by those who would wish to hoard these spaces and benefits.

        I know this because I have been poor, super poor, and now its different, for which I observe gratefulness daily.

        It turns out this is the basis of what is perceived as “white” privilege, mainly because it so happens that there are more affluent whites, and so the groups fall right in line either believing they deserve or don’t deserve these things.

        Either you feel as though you belong, or you don’t. (No matter your race)

        If you feel like you belong, then its your job to help others to realize they belong as well, but we usually just enjoy our higher station, knowing deep down, but not acknowledging that it wouldn’t exist but for our willful omission of grace. This truth is simply not the topic of cocktail parties and golf verandas but no matter how buried, it is known. Or worse, not buried, and enjoyed and used for fuel for creative further exploitation.

        Just some Monday thoughts, take em, leave em…

        1. jazzBass,

          Twenty years ago, my poor friends had cable and went to the movies and ate fast food those were what they lost when things happened like getting the flu.

          Ten years ago, they had long lost cable and the landline and couldn’t afford movies but found special event tickets to go free once a month. When they got the flu, they lost power or water or got eviction notices or had to abandon their cars.

          Five years ago, the same people were homeless. Got back into a place a few years later.

          When they get the flu, they still can’t take medicines and still have to abandon their cars and still can’t afford things like televisions or computers.

          They lost jobs with COVID but are still on unemployment which I believe will last until December.

          Health has become so feeble that I don’t know if anyone will hire them.

          But, you are right, they used to own big screen televisions once those became cheap enough.

          1. Deb, sorry to hear of your poor friends. Being poor is horrible indeed, and things rarely go in the opposite direction. Its been getting worse for a long time.

            Thanks to the restorative nature of humanity I find that even the poorest of the poor can find ways, however fleeting, to experience joy in their lives and for that I am glad.

            The thing is, our electronics don’t even have to get “cheap enough”. How many poor people do you know that have a $1200 phone?

            If you know enough of them you will answer (“About 90% of them) because we established easy credit along the way of your friends journey, so the lure of faux luxury to satisfy an imposed emptiness, need not be relegated to the rich. Some claim it as financial slavery, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

            Likewise, for myself now, I understand a greater slice of the citizenry as being poor, who dont have the stark situation of the friends yoi umention, but who still truly and largely unwittingly, suffer a social “death by a thousand cuts”. Poor people need not be unemployed or homeless. Its just that we have become ok with it as a people. They dont vote, they dont speak, they dont exist really,..

            The situation you speak of is the bottom 10% of the poor itself, with the remaining 90% coming in under the lower middle class. I think its 30 40 % of our entire US population that is considered poor. Add Covid and we might get to 50% (wait till January)

            Now more than 20% of our own children live in poverty.

            So yes, your friends and people in their same situation, of which there are plenty, may not have this months iPhone, or even any phone at all.

            The crazy thing is that many of them would still want one though, purely driven by the advertising or social messaging they receive. You aren’t “normal” unless you have these things is what the kids tell parents when they come home from school, and so it goes…

            That’s a case of total disenfranchisement, and that takes real collective will to allow its continuance, in the richest country in the world. This does not have a stronger agreement or adversary in either of our current parties, as shown by the legislation passed, and the dollars given.

            Bonus question?
            Hey…so…why did these electronics become cheap enough for us all to have them? Hmmm… (Im sure many of us here know that answer)

            1. Half of Americans make less than $33,000.

              A quarter make less than $22,000

              12 million make less than $9000 for a family of 3.

              You are wrong about the poor having $1000 phones. That is middle class.

              Almost all of the elderly people that I know have old flip phones or they got their phone free with their plan.

              I had an old Tracfone that I never used until I was given one of those $1000 phones. I was given it while I was caretaking because my coworker petitioned my relatives that I needed a phone in case my car broke down again while transporting patients.

              I never, ever used theTracfone and gave it to a homeless family.

              People would see my $1000 phone and might think that I have wifi or internet or a phone plan but I am piggy-backed on a relatives account. Mostly, I was the one who was caretaker several times.

              My sister-in-law has her brother piggy-backed on her account because he is a Vietnam vet who has been homeless and she makes 6 figures and he had broken his leg and foot in a way where he was in a cast for so long that she wanted to be anle to make sure that he is okay.

              Many poor people have been given phones but not usually smartphones. The government doesn’t hand out $1000 phones.

              1. The homeless community has talked about phones because many of them have government phones in case they get attacked or need medical care and people think they are faking being poor because they have phones.

                1. You asked how the costs came down and for cell phones, the phone companies give them away free with their plans and the government gives them away if you figure out how to qualify and it isn’t easy.

                  I helped my uncle get one of those free phones when he was almost 90 and for the application you needed a phone number and address.

                  And you couldn’t get around it

                  I think I put my phone number but it was pretty ridiculous that you need a phone number for the government to five you a phone and number.

                  1. Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications
                    https://www.fcc.gov/lifeline-consumers

                    I have helped several people in getting the free government telephones. These are poor people – genuine poverty. First, I refer them to their government social worker. Failing that, to the Salvation Army – the go to place for poor people locally. The Salvation Army is tremendous! When that fails – I may or may not go ahead and step up to the plate – it depends on the degree of interest of the people involved.

                    Most are passively helpless. Totally negative. Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna eat some worms today. But some – some are hungry for help. They eat help right up. It makes all the difference in the world – to know that my efforts will not be wasted.

                    Once on the program, they can stay on the program by themselves.

                    People in this position cannot do it themselves as it needs knowledge and Internet access and a telephone number – and confidence that something good can actually happen – none of which people in this position really have.

                    Eligibility – not from memory:

                    “You can get Lifeline if you (or someone in your household) participates in one of these federal assistance programs:

                    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
                    Medicaid
                    Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
                    Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
                    Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
                    Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands) ”
                    https://www.lifelinesupport.org/do-i-qualify/

                    If they are on any of these programs – you just punch in their card number – and you are in. It really has been pretty painless.

                    When I have done this, it has been the flip phones – a few hundred minutes a month. Not limitless – not talk, talk, talk – but enough for emergencies and for work. I understand that they are now sending out very basic smart phones with more minutes. Not $1000 phones, I assure you – anyone who thinks that is living in his own silly fantasy world. If I need to help someone out again, I’ll learn the latest at that time – if I don’t succeed in getting them to their social worker or the Salvation Army first.

                    And no – these people are not on cable, either. Another silly fantasy of people who are less than kind.

                    The diets are – atrocious. I am not going to change them – hey – I assure you, I have tried. We are talking about people who do not even know how to eat fresh vegetables or fruit. Who use their unplugged stoves and ovens to store important papers. We are talking Diabetes City – with no beginning of a clue as to what healthy eating is, and absolutely no desire to learn. Total resistance.

                    Ya deal with the hand you’ve been dealt. I am just happy to do what I can to help with communications – along with all the other things.

                    Most important is getting them into the system. But some people resist – and may yet be worth helping.

                    A judgement call. Always.

                    Be kind –

                    Vivamus

                    1. Vivamus,

                      Yes, flip phones for emergencies only.

                      I had that for years. Never really had an emergency, so I never used them, but they were comforting to have.

                      Laughing that I ended up with a smart phone and access to the internet so I could come on this site and annoy people.

                      Laughing.

                      The unplugged stoves/oven might not even work. That is what I see. People can’t afford appliances.

                      I agree that the Salvation Army is excellent.

                    2. Every time I visit my 90-year-old aunt and uncle, I see their unplugged stove that hasn’t worked in years, and now it is such a good idea for them to not have one.

                      The poor people that I know don’t have things.

                      My friend who was homeless had one pair of pants that she washed in the sink every night.

                      Her sneakers get so old that the soles start falling off before she gets another pair.

                      Vivamus, you are right that there is a passivity that comes from a learned helplessness from not knowing what to do.

                      No transportation. No computer. No phone. Behind in rent. Power shut off.

                      Miles walk to even get to public transportation.

                      It isn’t easy even to figure out what the poor people should do, if they emotionally and mentally could handle it.

                      I would probably not know what to do if I were them either.

                    3. Deb,

                      Back, long ago – family called to come visit.

                      Always welcome.

                      Those who live in Florida know the score.

                      The extra set of keys – “come and go as you like.” Local Map. Clearwater Beach for girlwatching and renting a catamaran and for kites, Sand Key for laid back beauty of nature and relaxed reading (my other favorite ), The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and when and where and how go, directions to the Salvador Dali museum for soft watches and extraordinary perspectives, directions to favorite restaurants (Seafood!), the wonderful old movie theatre, Cuban stuff, etc.

                      It is always good to see people. It always worked out well for everyone involved.

                      “Oh,” I said. “You’ll need to bring your own china and silverware and cut crystal.”

                      “We’ll just use your stuff – that’ll be fine.”

                      “OK. No problem. I have one plate, one knife, one fork, one spoon and one glass. I wash all of them once a week, whether they need it or not. You are welcome to share.”

                      “Uh. Uh. We’ll bring our own.”

                      “And towels and cloth napkins -”

                      “We’ll bring those, too.”

                      Everything worked out fine.

                      ——————————————–

                      I mention the above because of what I see in these apartments. No dishwashers – fine. But no dishes near the kitchen sink, dirty or drying. Just a lot of food packages kinda tossed about here and there.

                      I think a lot of these people just eat directly from the bag and the box. Cookies, chips, etc.

                      And drink directly from the soft drink can or bottle – from what I am offered and from what I see scattered about.

                      I’m not even sure if they have one plate, one knife, one fork, one spoon and one glass. Or if they would use them if they did.

                      I took a friend in these circumstances to the local farmer’s market one summer – it’s a nice big one – and showed him that he could double his food stamp dollar via coupons at the information booth. He wandered about with me to observe as I bought enough fresh veggies and fruits that I had to go to the car twice ’cause I couldn’t carry it all at one time.

                      I was in healthy fresh food heaven.

                      Later that day he explained to me “I didn’t see one thing in the entire place that I could eat.”

                      Wow.

                      I try to help in my terms – but he lives in an entirely different world – on his terms – and our worlds barely coincide.

                      So I help where I can and I try not to step on any toes or do what cannot be done.

                      Not saying anything useful. Just kinda venting.

                      But I find that the more I help such people – the more fortunate I realize that I am.

                      ———————

                      A question – are you doing all your posting thumbing a smart phone?

                      Go any thumb joints left?

                      Do the thumb joints and tips warm up just from friction?

                      Deb.

                      All the best –

                      Vivamus

                    4. V,
                      I find your report very interesting. People in my area are getting help if they need it, public and private. Several churches are handing out food, clothes and assistance. Oklahoma is a reservation state. Indian tribes run numerous casinos and the income benefits thousands of citizens–food, health care, education and more. This support extends to state roads and education programs. I’ve heard from my next door neighbor that free WiFi to rural areas is coming soon. I will call my local library today to find out more about this. I agree with your nutrition assessment, however, I find that even people with means and considerable intelligence are eating poorly. Good news is that no one has an excuse to go without food because it is available.

                  2. Deb the costs came down because of trade deals and foreign worker exploitation was what I was referring to. Again the greater potion is working poor, who are not destitute, but they are of course,one paycheck away from it at all times.

                    By the way, that time is now because of Covid.

                    This is why the entire time Ive been screaming here that covid health issues pale in comparison to the economic ones. But nobody agreed, said I had a tinfoil hat etc…which is fine.

                    I guess we will see then.

              2. Deb sorry, I am not wrong about the phones and the poor. Millions of poor people have 1000 dollar phones in a credit scheme cooked up by the carriers who have now gotten into the hardware business of selling phones with the added concept of providing service for that phone.

                A $1000 phone costs you about 18-24 dollars more per month, with auto renewal and yippie, you get a every 2 year free trade in to current years hip new model. So you stay in, and add 20 to 30 bucks to your bill for the rest of your life.

                Definition of insidious.

                Guess what happens after 40 years of this? Each of the 100 million cellphone subscribers who sign onto this credit scheme, out of the nearly 300 million subscribers, will have paid the industry $9k over the span of 40 years. (this could have been a down payment on a modest home in some areas.) The profit for the industry will have been around 900 billion during this time period.

                Deb, that’s a newish add on to their existing profit margins.

                Much of this wealth is extracted little by little from the poor. It causes more, at the edges, to fall into the swirling vortex.

                A poor person with a job, can unfortunately choose to get into this scheme. And they do by the millions.

                My entire point, which you missed, is that there are millions of poor people with jobs and homes. They have phones Deb.

                They are poor too. They are at the upper 90% of the poor. The people you refer to are at the bottom portion of the poor, for as you say, they have not homes nor phones, nor cars etc…

                But yes, the middle and the upper class all have the same phones, as do millions of working poor, so there’s democracy at work I guess. With so many millions of us actually getting a loan for a $1000 wireless pocket phone because we feel we must have it.

              1. Fumbles,
                I find the article on bondage very interesting. Slavery is something that I think about in many ways:
                –Much of the practice of marriage.
                –Out & out slavery.
                –Debt slavery.
                –How economies of countries were funded by slavery for centuries.
                –Slavery of animals used for food and financial gain.
                –Children used by their parents & vice versa.
                –Economic systems, capitalism, communism, socialism used to control citizens.
                –Military draft. The wealthy buy out.
                –Sexual norms: exploitation for pleasure, profit and control.
                –Earth’s ecosphere held hostage by an invasive species.
                –Ad infinitum. I even wonder if the essence of life is usuary. Did you have a choice being here?

      2. Wade TN,

        That was what the man who works with the homeless was saying. He is more able to help people in a place like LA even though the lowest rents were closer to $2000. Once you move away from the cities there aren’t wages and there isn’t public transportation or shelters. It is safer but nobody helps them. He sets the homeless up with churches and agency’s and support groups but those are mostly in urban areas.

      3. Wade,
        Agreed. There is such a mix in my area. The tiny towns can be scary poor, with some lakeside boondoggles. The rural farm areas can have nice properties, or maybe shacks.

    2. Deb, Both of my parents grew up on small farms in the country. Back then they were considered “dirt poor”.

      They hardly ever bought anything from a store, except for clothing. They worked in the fields everyday and grew their own food and stored it in the cellar to survive over the winter.

      I guess in a way, they were not poor at all because they lived in nature every day of the year and had friendly neighbors that knew how to enjoy a simple life!

        1. Yes, Deb.

          They lived through the Great Depression but somehow always had a great attitude toward life. Maybe being immersed in a natural setting kept their spirits up.

      1. DG,
        My parents came from farm families with the same experiences as your parents. The real story is where they went from there–educations and into solid middle class.

        1. Hey Dan,
          Yes, my parents both worked, sometimes two jobs, to make sure that myself and my siblings all got a good education. That was the key to becoming a productive citizen back in those days. I worked my way through college, but I never lost site of what my parents taught me about leading a simple life, so I never pursued a big paying career … went into a math/science field. I’ve always been the inquisitive type … guess they call that a “nerd” nowadays ;-)

          1. The real revenge of the nerds was that so many of them became successful that it became cool to be a nerd.

            Three or four decades behind me the younger people wanted glasses even though they didn’t have vision problems.

            1. Deb,
              I associate “revenge of the nerds” with the phenomenon of the Internet. Never saw it coming—BAM, worldwide connectivity. Makes me wonder what new wonder(s) is around the corner. Maybe having your own solar generation could be one of them.

    3. I wonder about the effect of nature pictures–of trees, parks, and the like for those who can’t get enough of nature in their current setting.

      And what about sounds? I love the water sounds at the end of the latest NutritionFacts.Org videos–like today’s. I even wait till the video is over before moving on to something else.

      1. WFPBLiisa,

        I LOVED the water at the end. It was so healing almost. Quirky and cute and that sound is one they bottle for white noise.

        I bought a machine that made water sounds when my uncle couldn’t sleep at night with his cancer. It backfired though. He was up all night pretty sure he had to go to the bathroom. He made me laugh my head off. I could hear him in the bedroom and he had a commode next to his bed but he was using it like a walker and was walking his commode to the bathroom making ocean sounds while he walked.

    4. “Poor people can’t live near nature.”

      What are you talking about? LOT’S of lower class and poor people live out in nature. I could personally name and go visit some. I live near nature and I am most certainly not well off financially… yet.

      Go drive through some old towns or out in the country. These are not the rich and mighty. In fact, a lot of the very rich live in cities. It’s extremely expensive to live well or even decent in many of the most popular cities.

      George,

      I’m not sure if there’s a “pay for a view” option at any hospital, but form my experiences, your view is totally random… it could be a tree, it could be a parking lot, it just depends.

    1. Aren’t you missing the point? This is a site about what the research shows.

      Why this compulsion to voice some criticism or other every time you visit here?

      1. Fumbles – Thank you for voicing my thoughts toward Reality Bites. The constant vicious critique she dispenses on this site serves as a gray cloud over a gem of a site. A site that researches and shares the science for us all for free. RB should seriously consider trying to find a site elsewhere that provides the happiness that is so apparently lacking here.
        Thank you to Dr. G and staff who so consistently provide us with this valuable information for FREE. And thank you to Fumbles who so consistently works at keeping the balance of thought in discussions. I gratefully look forward to your calm, consistent, regular balance.

        1. Agreed on the conflicting posts on RB. What’s interesting though, is you say he… not sure if it’s been established, but I always pictured them female for whatever reason.

          1. Yes, you’re right. Not sure if RB is female, male or transgender.

            I just unconsciously assumed that naked aggression and gratuitous insults equals male.

            1. Fumbles and JB – I chose to refer to Reality Bites as she because quite a while back I saw a post in which she referred to herself in the feminine I believe. I could still be incorrect and if I am, . . apologies to anyone offended. But nonetheless the content of my comment remains the same.

    1. Glenn, sounds wonderful! I love camping in high altitude mountain forests. Never happier than when in a place like that.
      Friend and I did a 6 mile hike on a river trail yesterday. I live at high altitude also.
      People in cities always seem so harried and discontented. They often have a lot more ‘stuff’ than people in rural areas. But ‘stuff’ doesn’t make for contentment. Being in nature and healthy relationships are required.

  5. There is hope in new life, new seasons, and the weather and the outdoors is in a constant state of life, and renewal of that life.

    And when you’re locked down in the concrete jungle in an area devoid of nature, but you see that seedling, that tiny plant that has caught onto a crevice and made a foothold and is struggling against it all to grow and to mature so that it can make seeds…it’s hard not to become a fan of such optimism, such hardiness and unrelenting drive of nature to be natural no matter what sort of obstacles mankind puts down in its path.

    Plants are more genetically complicated than us. We must strive to learn how to quit buggering the whole thing up.

    The constant noise of the city drives me mad. I can only take it for a few days a week or two at most an I must get back out to the quiet zone, where compressors and engines and tires and horns and alarms and machinery and safety beepers don’t permeate every moment of the day. Something about my personal makeup won’t let me “dial down” the auditory circuitry sensitivities.

    Yes noise-cancelling headsets are nice, but I choose not to live like a Borg. I choose to live where every window shows me woods or fields or sky. Not everyone can or wants to do this, and I’m glad for that.

    1. Wade, you wrote:
      “Not everyone can or wants to do this, and I’m glad for that.”

      See my post higher up.

      I hope you will reconsider “and I’m glad for that.”

    2. Wade, I agree. Since the shutdown in our state, I began to notice the wonders where I live more than I did previously and I’m exceedingly grateful I’ve been isolated. Most recently, we grew some of our own food instead of getting it elsewhere. I saw little green needles coming up out of the ground (onions starting.) I saw our lemon tree, carried out on the deck for the summer, laden with so many blossoms that they looked like huge flowers instead of individual little blooms. The hummingbirds came to partake in the blossoms and they were amazing to see. I was interested to notice that they actually rest every now and then. Their flight reminded me of videos I’d seen of UFOs–where a UFO suddenly takes off at high speed. The hummingbird seemingly does this, too, and his movements are very much unlike those of the birds visiting our feeders. I even thought about the life of zucchini squash. The plant grows from a seed and produces flowers which are pollinated by insects and produce the squash; the squash contains all the life of future zucchinis. I know this seems obvious to many, but life is really amazing now that I’m forced by the pandemic to notice it.

      1. WFPBLiisa,

        You sound like you could write a good old-fashioned book.

        I love your descriptions.

        I love hummingbirds.

        I did have one encounter with a hummingbird that terrified me though because it was in an industrial building and it must have followed me across a warehouse, just following, following, following and I turned around and thought it was the biggest bee that I had ever seen. It was so close to my face that I had no idea what it was.

        Then, I led it outside.

        1. Deb,
          The hummingbird was following your sweetness :-) They are a big part of my summers. I feed them and like to count how many are in a swarm. I find them harmless. Sometimes they will come close to me, but have never touched me.

      2. WFPBLiisa,

        Your attention to detail in nature that you mentioned in your post reminded me of the concept of “Fractals”. So many objects in nature exhibit the property of having a fractal structure that scientists have, and still are, studying it mathematically. It is truly ubiquitous in nature. I’m currently reviewing an on-line course in “Complexity” that covers an introduction to this concept in layperson’s terms. I won’t try to explain it here, but there is a short video on Youtube explaining the concept at the below link:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdX6w0W3PSY&list=PLF0b3ThojznRyDQlitfUTzXEXwLNNE-mI&index=27

        I was surprised that Dr Greger mentioned in this video that just observing natural fractal patterns has a positive effect on humans.

        Quote from the video:

        “The most interesting suggested mechanism I ran across was fractals. You know how all the branches of a tree kind of have the same shape of a tree themselves? Fractal patterns are found throughout nature, where you see a cascade of self-similar patterns over a range of magnifications. And hook people up to an EEG, and for some reason our brain apparently seems to like them.”

        Maybe I’ll try putting a few pictures of fractal objects up on the walls of my work room and see if I can notice any effects from just pictures :-)

    3. I actually can get very depressed driving through an ugly, concrete city… It absolutely impacts me mentally, spiritually, and physically.

      It’s ignorant to believe that we’re somehow disconnected to the actual need to see, hear, feel, and breathe nature and be around the other fauna in it.

  6. What about Random double blind studies of negative ions upon subjects. For instance, blindfolded subject hearing water running from a fountain (running brook) against subjects actually sitting next to a fountain/running brook?

    1. Don, I think negative ion studies were done years ago. I remember reading at least 30 years ago that the negative ions influenced me to sing in the shower.
      Did anyone else notice something swimming in the water at the end of the video? Maybe it’s been there before but in my rush to click to the comments I missed it.

      1. Joe Vegan,

        Negative ions influenced me to sing in the shower. That is such a fascinating sentence.

        I thought it was the acoustics of the bathroom that causes people to do it.

        Yes, I love the water at the end. A reward for the people who watch the whole thing.

  7. perhaps being out in the forest, near lots of green, or out hiking on trails just allows us to be in the moment. maybe as some instinct to watch for predators and your surroundings….

  8. My previous dentist had a life-sized forest wall papered on all 4 walls of his dental office. And he put large cartoons on the ceiling. Even though the forest was not real, it was such a pleasure to be in that room while waiting or being worked on. Soothing and relaxing. When he retired, the man who bought the practice removed the forest and replaced it with sterile, bright, shocking-to-the-eye white plastic. Very uncomfortable after the soothing forest pictures. He, also, was morbidly obese – huge!! – and dripped sweat down his face as he worked over you which I was desperately afraid would land somewhere on me. Hopefully not in my open mouth. I kid you not. I found a new dentist of course. But I still think of the forest in that dental office to this day – so thoughtful.

    1. Erna,

      I bought a house long ago – it had a small step-down add-on sun room that someone had attached to the kitchen, opening up the view from the kitchen and giving full glass sliding door access to the back yard – a yard where I put in my first organic garden. With a strawberry patch. And, of course – raspberries. And a modest one-tree orchard.

      Hey – I was just gettin’ started.

      The room had a full wall mural of a mountain and forest scene. When I moved in, I thought it “tacky” – I mean, if you want mountains, you go live in the mountains – don’t pretend to be someone that you’re not! – if you want plants, you at least nurture real live plants – – give me a break! – and I was going to paint over the mural or put bookcases up to block it out. But – so many projects – I did not get around to it – and then winter came . . .

      With the grey overcast skies, that add-on room – with that mural of nature – became the soothing center of the house.

      A perfect place to read.

      The mural was like a full wall of “Slow Glass” from Bob Shaw’s famous story “Light of Other Days.”

      “Room with a view” took on a whole new meaning.

      If your situation does not allow you a beautiful view – you can still have the mountain and forest view that your biological heritage craves.

      Your brain – over time – conflates the it all for the better.

      And your body – soothed – is the beneficiary.

      And you do whatever else you can, as well.

      ———————————-

      Time passes.

      My view grew to a living river. Large open windows – at the height of the tree canopy feet away from the window – the leaves rustled like a lady in taffeta with the wind.

      We lived on the poor side of the river – from our windows we had a beautiful soothing view of the river and the stately homes across – on many acres of land – all on the opposite bank. Beautifully groomed – perfect landscaping and lawns. And I learned the irony of just what that means . . .

      I waited until the National Weather Service advised me to go sailing – broadcasting “A Small Craft Advisory Alert is in effect” on the weather radio – which, from memory, meant that the wind speed was hitting ~26 knots. 60′ craft would go down on the Great Lakes at these times – the waves build up with amazin’ speed.

      Perfect sailing weather!

      And I would take my little bitty cat-rigged Sailfish out on the river. You can’t get much more modest that this. Looking out at the stately homes on the opposite bank was beautiful. But – looking back on my own side of the river – the poor side – was atrocious. A view of complete squalor. House piled upon house, expanded haphazardly, unkempt foliage, rusting old vehicles in back yards, etc., etc., etc.

      So – the poor people had the beautiful view. And the rich people had the terrible view. Which, I suspect, colors their view of the poor, even today.

      I laughed into the wind.

      And I sailed the lesson home with me.

      I’ll never forget that day.

      ——————————————–

      Now – I look to my left – through these second floor windows, within the tree canopy. Behind the trees, I well know, are unfarmed fields.

      None of the earlier lessons are forgotten.

      None.

      I am thankful.

      All the best –

      Vivamus

      ———————————————————–

      Slow Glass
      Light of Other Days
      Bob Shaw
      1966
      https://www.sccollege.edu/Faculty/JIsbell/English101/Documents/LightofOtherDays.doc
      or
      https://www8.physics.utoronto.ca/~jharlow/slowglass.htm

    2. That is cool about the forest wall paper, would be nice if more offices were like that. I’m just happy to see when they have real plants… I DISDAIN fake plants.

      Your new dentist sweating while working on you is soooo gross, I could not deal with that. It sounds like something that would be in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

  9. I love Dr. Greger. He gets an aerobic workout just doing his videos. Very interesting about the recovery of patients who have a nice view out their windows. Could also explain why animals in cells do so very poorly. Also, I’ve noticed my mood and health increase just in having to do chores outside, like mowing the lawn.

    1. Sometimes when I didn’t get enough sleep and I open my window and see the sky and trees or the moon when it’s still out, etc… just seeing that makes me feel more awake and happy to be (even when it’s still dark, so not a first light thing necessarily).

  10. I know a study of 1 is meaningless, I find it much easier to run, walk, bike long distances outside than inside. I did run up to 120 miles/week when I was a competitive runner and was fairly serious about biking, Surfing, swimming, and walking. Unfortunately severe spinal stenosis has become quite limiting recently though surfing, tennis, and walking are still on the plate. The cholecystectomy study was quite impressive. This study was done when cholecystectomies were open, not laparascopic, and quite painful.

    1. Robert, I actually find it more challenging (in a good way) to run outdoors, bike riding as well. It just feels like more energy is required which I suspect has to do with less flat and predictable terrain, but also because there’s no slowing down required if you’re going back and forth or around obstacles if you’re not on an indoor track for example. The wind can even sometimes add resistance. But in some ways I can see where it feels easier just for being a more pleasant experience, such as the way the wind helps keep you cool and refreshed (especially when cycling), the fresh air is invigorating, the sun probably helps to energize, too. And again, you get that great feeling of being outside in nature.

      Very sorry to hear about your spinal stenosis, back pain is freaking horrible, glad you can still do some of the other stuff you love, and surfing and tennis is no joke!

  11. I’m disappointed in this video, not because it’s not to the conclusion that I personally believe which is that for a plethora of reasons both potentially measurable and immeasurable, nature is amazing for us physically, mentally (which profoundly impacts the physical), and spiritually (which I would say also profoundly impacts the physical as well as mental but is not provable that I know of). But because there are other areas of study and speculation that have not been addressed. There is actually data on the Japanese “forest bathing” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/, then there’s also (and I’m not sure if there’s studies on this) “earthing” supposedly being good for sore muscles and others say detoxing as well. I’d have to reread that section, but in The Telomere Effect, living in areas with more greenery was associated with longer telomeres but I’m not sure if there were good studies on it which Elizabeth and Elissa always mention in the book whether or not something needs more study.

    It’s impossible to believe that being out and breathing fresh air by forestry, etc. is not amazing for you. I workout indoors and out, have run indoors and out and when I’m running or even just playing sports or even just walking and being by the forest, it feels AMAZING… like breathing in a vitamin or something. Very different than indoor cardio. It’s an undeniable benefit if you experience it. Then you have all these relaxing sounds in nature like crickets, birds, frogs, the wind, water, rain, storms, the trees rustling, etc… these things are so relaxing and help you be present which IS proven to help support healthy telomeres and telomerase. Not to mention it’s proven that aromatherapy has a sometimes profound impact on us and when you’re among nature, you’re getting more aroma therapy than you could control for.

    There is just absolutely no way that being out in nature isn’t amazing for every animal in countless ways that both could and could not be measured. If this is the best data you feel you could presently find, I’d say it isn’t even worth doing a video on yet. There are SO many questions we could ask and then conduct a study to try to find evidence to when it comes to the question of what kind of benefits might there be to spending time outdoors in nature.

    I did like that Dr. Greger was a lot more relaxed in this video and it was more pleasant to watch and easier to focus–more like he is in interviews and presentations.

    1. S,
      I’m interested in the earthing concept. Just the notion of going barefoot or bareskinned can have a soothing affect.
      I barefoot on my smooth shop floor sometimes and feel relaxed. Sun bathing is another way of relaxing. Also, swimming.

      1. Love swimming as well. And contrary to the hysteria of needing to to wear spf at all times including indoors in the dead of winter, my skin actually feels AMAZING after getting sun. (And I would rather risk burning than slather on the hormone disrupting, environmentally hazardous, toxic chemical crap they sell, but luckily there are few but truly natural options, next year I’m just making my own). There’s actually at least one study which shows that sunlight causes your skin to activate something that helps protect and repair it… I have it saved somewhere in my files but I have too many damn files! I need to organize them. But it amazes me that, while it’s known scientists can’t crack the code of how a kale leaf fully works, the very sun and center of our solar system is reduced to “vitamin D!” The sun has every spectrum of light including red light which has actually been studied by NASA to have benefits. Sunlight affects our internal clock, our hormones (which have so many functions including even acting as antioxidants–this is shown for serotonin and melatonin), it can regenerate coQ10 (when we eat our greens: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-regenerate-coenzyme-q10-coq10-naturally/ ), and who knows what else. Maybe there’s even an unheard of vitamin that we get solely from the sun. There is so much we haven’t begun to learn and so much we couldn’t possibly learn or even quite possibly THINK of. This is so true that I think the video and videos/articles similar to this, should be titled more like “Do We Have Data Showing Time in Nature Has Health Benefits?”

  12. Here is a good question, though, related to the video–specifically air pollution. I run outside and luckily I have some really green areas to do it in. I personally avoid running along side the road because I just feel it’s counterintuitive to breathe in the traffic air while running and cycling. Lots of people ride bikes to work and they have bike lanes right next to traffic in certain cities, but I often wondered if the benefits outweighed the risk? Thoughts, opinions, data?

    1. S,

      That is an EXCELLENT question. Air pollution high death, exercise helpful, hmmmm.

      A study in the UK had a conclusion:

      Athletes and exercisers should avoid exercising by the road side even though levels of the more noxious air pollutants have been controlled in the United Kingdom.

      1. Why thanks, Deb! And thanks for sharing that study’s conclusion! I certainly avoid it but would like to know to what it extent might the risks outweigh the benefits.

    2. S,
      If you are going to run, try the track at the local school as it is softer on the feet as it is made with special material.
      And if you are going to play golf like mentioned in the video, bring an extra pair of pants in case you get a hole in one.

  13. Convinced of the powerful connection between environment and wellness, he believes the health of an individual cannot be separated from the health of the family, community, and the world.

    Patch Adams
    Wikipedia

    1. Matthew Smith,

      I wouldn’t focus on isolated nutrients. Molybdenum is a beneficial mineral, so is iron, zinc, copper, etc. But even iron, zinc, and copper can be harmful when had in excess. But what the data shows us is that when it comes to plants, our bodies are capable of closing the flood gates on nutrients when we’ve had enough whereas with animal products, we have no such mechanism to control absorption. Dr. Greger recommends consuming beans and legumes (for diabetes and a plethora of other reasons) due to the data. Singling out a nutrient doesn’t counteract that data.

    1. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!

      Ok, ok, ok that was sarcastic, but I’m truly not surprised since this is baked into the capitalist design of our “representative democracy”. Profit above….all.

      And I hope that, finally, most of you are not surprised either, yes?

      1. I didn’t read the article, I am very picky about where I get my info. But I saw jazzBass’s “capitalism is evil” dig and have to share my two cents along side him, but in the opposing direction… Capitalism does not equal “profit above all.” That is established through values in society, law, etc. All capitalism is, is a highly functional system which allows for freedom and necessary for true democracy. It makes it so that doctors can get paid accordingly to their efforts in their education and demanding jobs. It makes it so a business owner can control his/her own destiny. It makes it so people are free and free to make a life for themselves and their families according to their values which they are free to have.

        1. Unbridled capitalism puts profits before people. That is why most societies eventually seek to tame the beast by introducing food safety, child welfare and anti-corruption legislation. And labour laws among other things. For just one example of what uncontrolled capitalism will do, look at the history of food safety laws in the US:

          ‘One scandal, which appeared on the cover of The New York Times, involved Chicago meat producers who shipped chemically and economically adulterated beef—so-called “embalmed meat”—to American soldiers fighting in the Spanish-American War. The contaminated meat is believed to have caused thousands of illnesses and deaths among American soldiers. At the time, most Americans were unaware of the widespread economic and chemical adulteration practices being employed by American food manufacturers.’
          https://www.foodqualityandsafety.com/article/food-adulteration-history-of-food-safety-laws-and-what-it-means-today/

          It is arguable that ‘capital’ still has far too much influence over the political process in many countries (and even dietary guidelines)
          https://nutritionfacts.org/2013/10/22/big-food-wants-final-say-over-health-reports/

          The trick, I suggest, is to strike the right balance between promoting communal welfare, promoting free enterprise and encouraging personal initiative.

          1. “Unbridled capitalism puts profits before people.”

            What you’re describing isn’t capitalism, it’s lawlessness and lack of regulation. Obviously we have regulations and law and order for very important reasons. Under any system, these regulations and laws are necessary. Until the second coming, capitalism is our best option for freedom and indeed, no system should be worshiped and unbridled and regulation and law are both extremely necessary in this world. The simple and obvious and very common sense answer is regulation and law based upon basic values in society such as the safety of the people. The answer isn’t burn it down and replace it with something worse, the answer is build it up, better… the way things should always have and should always be done. This is why I am adamantly against libertarianism… it’s basically for unbridled capitalism. Likewise, adamantly against socialism and communism which puts profits of the elitists far above the people; which puts POWER so far above the people. And these freedom-less systems do not provide safety for food or safety in any regard for the people. So it is insane to demonize capitalism and cry socialism.

            1. S,

              You wrote:
              “What you’re describing isn’t capitalism, it’s lawlessness and lack of regulation. ”

              Please submit here the large corporations who will be lobbying for more regulation.

        2. S, sorry to tell you but capitalism is in fact a system of profit, greed, and competition under the guise of market demand auto-benevolence.

          Unless you can point to other than a few heartfelt words about freedom, I’d prefer information which states how capitalism has as its mission statement, required within its structure, that its primary “highly functioning” purpose is the betterment and protection of all people?

          My friend, corporations do in fact enjoy the spoils of your dreamy freedom. They already “control his/her own destiny” but unfortunately they also control ours through their associations in politics. They do this for more profit. They do it because they can. Why would a multi billion dollar company seek to squash a competitor? For Freedom to control his or her destiny so that the other company and its employees cant? Haven’t they accomplished this “freedom” long ago after profiting in the multi millions?

          If there is to be value in thinking about whats best for all, where is that in capitalism? If a business goes against the “profit over everything” edict, then they would be only the incidental outcroppings of the few benevolent owners of businesses, who would make the moral choice to do whats right for people over profit.

          But wait? Don’t they have an actual requirement to make profit? Capitalism doesn’t take into account peoples needs, but it does take into account their wants. That’s what drives free markets and demand. And psychology is used by every corporation to ensure we wnat what they got, or feel sad because we don’t. Its proven, and it works and its exploited by the big companies to the detriment of the “freedom” of the mom and pops.

          Capitalism basics go to markets automatically self correcting and doing “good”, and creating opportunity based on demand yes?

          Let me ask you: Do we have in the world right now, an incredibly high demand for clean water, absence of war and destruction, healthy food, quality education, healthcare and decent housing?

          Is that a big enough market for you with millions and millions of starving and sick children in the world? There is ample demand. But buddy, these folks cant pay. So guess what capitalism thinks about them, how it treats them? How does capitalism creates freedom for them?

          How can a big company make a moral choice to leave money on the table, and still protect their positions of domination versus any competitors? They have to compete with other businesses, and still, somehow they would chose to save lives or improve product quality, or protect the working class BEFORE they would choose profit?

          Yes, they are very free. Freedom is there. Free to make that choice. …But laws prevent it?? (Its a good thing there is no influence from corporations when it comes to legislation)

          S, you may be surprised to learn, that profit is a requirement of capitalism. It is in a corporations own bylaws, and their board members can be removed of position if it is found they chose to save lives over making profits for the organization. Now, they wouldn’t put it just that way, but allowing feces or plastic or teflon or roundup in our foods ON PURPOSE (but just a bit) is just “profits over everything”, without mincing any words. The irony here is that their execs, when indicted, would also use this same argument of profit requirement as a defense, after they’ve profited by selling shares to the detriment of their own firms. What about when a company is formed in complete capitalistic freedom, with the express purpose of acquiring a competitor – to destroy it – while sucking it dry for every penny. These untouchables would testify before congress: “I’m just doing what I was trained to do! How can you fault me?”

          The successful signing of a deal in this type of turn and burn M and A process actually engenders a laughing high five amongst themselves. Then soon, it provides millions in signing bonuses for middlemen – which represents but the first extraction of wealth from the few good companies who have spent decades bringing themselves into public view, and trust, completely though the quality and thoughtfulness of their offerings. Often these firms being acquired, these few moral actors in a sea of sharks, who choose to save lives over profits, are also the ones typically targeted by these greedy competition killers.

          When these mergers occur and the slow (or quick) bleedout ensues, they don’t think about the consequences. Capitalism provides for the effect of the actions to be somehow just, well, ….good. You know, just freedom and stuff. It allows a man to do what he wants dang it. Nevermind the lives of those workers, their families, and the loyal customers of what becomes an extinct former quality product.

          Capitalism at its core, conveniently forgets that not everybody wants to be a business owner. Not because its too hard, but because it may just seem dumb to them, and they would rather do art, or teach kids, or create something and simply give it to the world.

          That’s freedom.

          Democracy is there to facilitate this, and if it is healthy, is simply a functioning administration of the will of its people, with no personal skin in the game other than to do good.

          So yeah, fuck capitalism.

          I do hope we can someday have a system in place which considers all people equally, by having that consideration as its primary edict.
          (but we ain’t got it currently MR. S)

          1. “S, sorry to tell you but capitalism is in fact a system of profit, greed, and competition under the guise of market demand auto-benevolence.”

            jazzBass, that is pure emotion… capitalism is in fact a system of profit and freedom… greed is your emotional opinion. Greed is something any human can participate in under any system of government or lack thereof.
            Socialism is actually THE system of greed and total lack of freedom for the people. It is the system of total power of the elite and profit ONLY for the elite. What you’re describing you hate, is the thing you clearly support, but it’s all twisted around. If you don’t like freedom, there are plenty of other countries who would be happy to have you, meanwhile, all of their citizens are moving here…

            I did not read your post past the above quoted line, so I only commented on that. I try to refrain from posting about politics on this site or any place that has nothing to do with politics, but I see some people find that impossible to do, and I cannot say nothing when such false things are stated and I happen to see them. Normally, I try to avoid reading them.

            1. And the much of the left now likes to say that basic safety and regulation is a “privilege” so therefore we should have none, but isn’t complaining about a free country, within the protection of freedom, the biggest privilege of all?… You have the freedom to complain, and others literally die trying to get that freedom. So, my question to the left and those who go along with the whole “privileged” thing, is who is the real “privileged” here? Those who want to be able to call the police should their families be being murdered? Or those saying that I don’t have a right to live in the free country I was born in, or you, or our neighbors, and so on? I’m pretty sure that’s the epitome of hypocrisy along with some other things I could name.

              1. S, I didnt read your posts, but they are so far off I don’t know where to begin, so Ill just leave your baseless assertions for people to take in the first few words of.

  14. Let’s not forget winter, i.e., “white exercise”. I love walking and jogging outside in the green months, but here in Minnesota, I have acquired a great love of the other seasons as well, especially the long snowy one. I get a salubrious dose from being in nature whatever the colors of the season.

      1. What are you trying to do improve my health with humor?
        Can you imagine a kleptomaniac asking a doctor is there anything I can take for my situation?

  15. Okay, so this topic for me also involves nature and energy.

    I am not writing it the way the regeneration PEMF community would write it. I don’t know how to write like they do. Maybe mention Schumann Resonance rising (and I feel a lot uncomfortable that the magnetism of the earth may be changing and I don’t know what that might mean except that maybe dogs won’t know which direction to poop someday, since they poop aligned with the North South Axis of a magnetic field.

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/dogs-poop-in-alignment-with-earths-magnetic-field-study-finds#:~:text=Dogs%20use%20the%20Earth's%20magnetic,variations%20in%20Earth's%20magnetic%20field.

    Honestly, if PEMF and Rife could do what they do, what can us unwittingly messing with the magnetic field of the earth do?

    Anyway, power lines, sound pollution, light pollution at night, circadian rhythms and the bright light in the morning studies and such, it would seem like there would be a lot of potential things involved with nature.

    One thing would be whether people feel safe in nature. People from the city often feel terrified. The house my parents couldn’t afford when I was younger became theirs because deer would walk right up to the deck of the Asians who lived there and they came from big city and were terrified every second, dropping the price considerably.

    I spent a lot of my life traveling particularly in nature, then I traveled historically. What I will say is that one of my last solo journeys where I put over 3000 miles on came not long after the serial killer movement and I vividly remember watching Jeffrey Dahmer being caught and I still thoroughly enjoyed the adventure but so many other people started being kidnapped and murdered and put on television that I think it never quite felt the same. I watched a video accidentally where 2 really beautiful, very smiley young women were traveling in Brazil and they went on a hike and never came back, but their bodies were found in a way where it became like someone cut them into pieces months apart and ate them. I used to be someone who would have gone out into those woods alone. Not so much nowadays. Other than to minister. Caretaking makes me braver and makes me a risk-taker. I used to be a risk-taker when I was alone. Now, it would only be for other people.

    I can and do walk around my town even in the middle of the night, but not your town.

  16. I bring up the serial killer thing, but I have a friend who was a Jesus freak back in the 60’s and I mean that in a sweet way.

    Traveling around the country telling people that God loves them just as they are.

    About 10 years ago, he retired from his job and retraced his steps and said that, in general, people are afraid and angry and frustrated and it isn’t as open a society as it was in the 60’s.

    I would say, he was wrong. Because he was focused on the hippie movement and has blocked the civil rights movement out.

    But, maybe we have less naiveté or something like that?

    I add it to the topic because I can imagine 1000 examples where someone could have loved a plot of land when they were young and naivé and they could come back and have the psychology of the new time period mess up the health benefits of the land.

    I think.

  17. Okay, I got an example.

    A homeless women from Venice beach said, “I used to love coming to the beach and now the beach is death to me.”

    She had no shelter or shade and was always dirty and dehydrated and being harrassed by cops, etc.

    My thought would be that people probably have that after a marriage breaks up. A place in nature suddenly becomes an old haunt.

    But I suspect that the homeless woman would be even more dead inside if she was in prison or someplace away from nature.

    I suspect that if she spent a year in prison, the beach would become a sanctuary again.

    There are homeless people who have said something like that. One man said that he stopped being able to live inside anyplace after having been in prison. He had a type of claustrophobia that was so severe that being outside was the only time he felt safe.

    I compare it to my online DIY solar guy who living outside was so terrifying that he cannot feel safe to sleep unless he lives enough layers into his house that it would take someone a while to find him.

  18. Do homeless people get more benefit being out in nature as they would having shelter?

    There are definitely ways of being in nature and having no psychological benefit and no stress relief.

  19. Okay, I have processed the topic of being in nature and it has to be somewhat like “fish” in that air pollution is already such a big cause of death and so are toxic wastes in the water and toxic wastes in the soil, etc.

    To me, that already means that it is something you have to constantly evaluate.

    For instance, the fire smoke pollution traveled from the west coast all the way to the east coast even though people on the east coast probably weren’t even aware of it unless they watched the news.

    Also, if people live in an area with a lot of traffic, the traffic pollution may be undoing the time in nature pollution.

    And if there is a lack of safety issue, stress can undo the benefit of nature, if only from the cortisol and that sense of danger changes regularly. For instance, a park that my friend used to love started having dead bodies disposed of there. That totally undoes any health benefits. Guaranteed.

    1. Apparently and im not sure about this, but “close to nature” can even be a quick walk through a florist. Man that does something really, for the senses and then presumably to the body.

      I believe the ionic functions of sea breezes no matter the pollution in the water, tougher with the sounds of the pounding surf can likely bring benefit. That goes to teh experience so perhaps we will create the ultimate 4D experience and get that “nature hit” like in Star Trek holographic rooms. I mean its probably already here…

  20. There are things like

    algal blooms – beaches regularly get closed for one thing or another
    allergies – I have always had pollen allergies, tree allergies and ragweed allergies and mold allergies (Yes, spring, late summer, and fall)
    mosquitos – last year we had so many people die that they didn’t hold outdoor events half the summer
    ticks – I have had so many people around me get Lyme disease and struggle with it for the rest of their lives.

    I am not trying to get out of being in nature. When I have had money and leisure, being in nature is what I did.

    A lot of access to nature comes from being wealthy enough to buy places surrounded by nature. If you don’t own property like that, it is driving to a packed park or packed beach or packed campground, and that is not the same at all. I can’t even see that as having the same health benefits. Sometimes people are friendly, and that can be nice socially, but more often there is no meditative time or silence.

  21. I think it becomes a race and class and elitism issue without even helping it.

    For instance, black people and poor people couldn’t protect their land from business investments and have way more pollution in the very spots where there is nature.

    I searched and looked for the black experience of nature and it is so different that many of the black students don’t even find images of nature attractive. They haven’t encountered nature and prefer urban images.

    https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/env.2017.0040

    1. Definitely some truth to that. I swear some lifelong insular urban people – any color, absolutely shit their pants when they encounter a bug.

  22. It is likely to be telling poor people to avoid going outside because of death from air pollution, not to mention that there are 250,000 unsolved murders in the USA and they need to follow their own instincts depending on where they live.

  23. Below are 3 journal articles on the measurable health benefits of spending time in nature. I offer these because I was surprised Dr. Greger did not find them and comment one them. Perhaps these papers were included in the meta analysis Dr Greger reviewed in making his video. I did not check. Either way, these specific paper provide some very interesting evidence for the positive health effects of nature.

    I came across these several months ago on the excellent MedCram site (thanks to NF commenter, Deb, for pointing me to MedCram as a great COVID 19 info source). Dr. Seheult teaches medicine and is an practicing clinician (intensivist) treating mostly COVID patients right now. Listen to his easy to understand lectures on these papers here https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=PgDjVEpEOdQ&feature=emb_logo
    If you are understandably reluctant to click on this link you can simply search for the site by typing into your browser: “youtube medcram Coronavirus Pandemic Update 56: What is “Forest Bathing” & Can It Boost Immunity Against Viruses?”

    These are the 3 papers Dr. Seheult discusses. Again if you are not comfortable following these links, you will find them on the MedCram site I referred to above.

    FOREST BATHING ENHANCES HUMAN NATURAL KILLER ACTIVITY… – https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/03946320070200S202

    VISITING A FOREST, BUT NOT A CITY, INCREASES HUMAN NATURAL KILLER ACTIVITY AND EXPRESSION OF ANTI-CANCER PROTEINS – https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/039463200802100113

    EFFECT OF PHYTONCIDE FROM TREES ON HUMAN NATURAL KILLER CELL FUNCTION – https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/039463200902200410

  24. Can’t believe you’re downplaying the significance of psychological benefits. They have an enormous effect on our health and our healthy behaviours. I’ll stick with trips to the park with my daughter and take a cold shower after too.

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