Want to live longer, gals? Think nature

Apparently the grass is greener on the other side (both figuratively and literally). That's only if the side you're marveling at is surrounded by nature. Reason being, according to a recent study conducted by Environmental Health Perspectives, "Higher levels of green vegetation were associated with decreased mortality in women."

American women who reside in homes surrounded by nature are living longer than their concrete-enclosed counterparts as per the results of the research done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Over 108,000 women were studied for major chronic diseases from 2000 - 2008.

As reviewed in Country Living (whose staff and readers were surely pleased by the results), "They (researchers) found that women who lived in the greenest surroundings had a 12 percent lower overall mortality rate versus those living in the least green areas. The associations were strongest when it came to deaths related to cancer and respiratory diseases: Women living in areas with the most vegetation had a 34 percent lower rate of respiratory-related deaths and a 13 percent lower rate of cancer deaths compared with those who had the least vegetation around their homes."

Not only do these greener areas have less noise and air pollution, but they allow for residents to be more active. Women are also more inclined to develop and maintain relationships. According to Live Science, "People with strong social relationships increased their odds of survival over a certain time period by 50 percent." Friendships help lessen stress, encourage healthier behaviors, and add meaning to our lives.

The research also proved that mental health was better for those living in the greener surroundings. Less depression is correlated to a longer life span for women.

Don't fret if you are a city dweller. As per CNN, Peter James, the study author and research associate at the Harvard Chan School's Department of Epidemiology noted, "I want to point out that 84 percent of study participants live in urban areas. We are not saying you need to live near a park. The findings may inform design and planning in neighborhoods. Policymakers, planners and architects may have this tool to create more healthy and sustainable places."

So if you're a female already living near vegetation, congrats, you may be adding years to your life. And if not, just be sure to get out and about and breathe in the fresh air now and then. Get a few charming houseplants and bring the nature indoors!

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