European research from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany suggests that city dwellers who live near nature experience positive effects on their brains compared to their purely urban counterparts, especially on the amygdala, the brain’s integrative center for emotions, emotional behaviour, and motivation. When we think of stress or fear responses, we should be thinking of the amygdala.
This research should come as no surprise, since the physiological and psychological benefits of nature are well documented. In our article “How Walking In Nature Changes The Brain,” we explored the study led by Gregory Bratman, which suggested that being in nature can potentially change our brains and positively impact our health.
How the research was gathered:
Researchers conducted a study which asked randomly selected participants to spend 50 minutes walking in either a natural or urban setting, and to submit to a series of psychological assessments before and after the walk. They found that volunteers who walked through a lush, green portion of Stanford campus showed improve cognitive function and mood compared to those who walked near heavy traffic for the same period of time. However, while this study showed that nature could have a positive effect on mental well-being, it did not examine the neurological mechanisms underlying this change.
Similarly, a more CE recent article, “Study Shows What Living In A ‘Greener’ Neighbourhood Can Do For Your Health,” also delves deeper into the benefits of living in green spaces:
Researchers at the University of New Brunswick collected data on 1.3 million non-immigrant Canadian adults living in the 30 largest cities in the country. The data analyzed was dated from 2001-2012, and the researchers measured the amount of greenery around the participants’ houses, from giant trees to tiny shrubs. Their findings suggest that the more greenery people live around, the lower their risk of premature death.
City dwellers are at higher risk of developing psychiatric illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia than people who live in rural areas, and the amygdala is more active in people who live in cities, since this part of the brain is important in processing stress and reactions to danger.
There are many reasons for this, the most obvious being the noise, pollution, and crowds that come with city living, all of which can factor into chronic stress.
According to the study’s lead author, Simone Kühn, “Research on brain plasticity supports the assumption that the environment can shape brain structure and function. Studies of people in the countryside have already shown that living close to nature is good for their mental health and well-being. We therefore decided to examine city dwellers.”
Study included 341 adults
Kühn and her team looked at 341 adults aged 61 to 82. They asked participants to undergo MRI scans to determine the structure of stress-processing brain regions, particularly the amygdala, and asked them to complete memory and reasoning tests.
They combined the MRI data with geoinformation about participants’ locations in order to better examine the influence that nature has on these brain regions.
The research showed that those who lived in a city but closest to a forest were more likely to have a physiologically healthy amygdala structure and therefore better able to cope with stress. This information was still true even when they factored in other influences like education and income levels.
The team commented that “at the moment it is not possible to determine whether living close to a forest has positive effects on the amygdala, or whether people with a healthier amygdala are more likely to choose to live in an urban area close to a forest.”
More Research Shows How Nature Benefits Our Bodies
But other research has suggested that when we bring ourselves outdoors and place our feet directly on the ground (not concrete), we can reduce our stress levels and potentially treat a number of degenerative diseases. Here is an excerpt from our article “Studies Show What Happens To The Human Body When We Walk Barefoot On Earth” that explores this idea more thoroughly. From the article:
A study published a couple of years ago in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health titled “Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons” postulates that earthing could represent a potential treatment/solution to a variety of chronic degenerative diseases.
It concluded that simple contact with the Earth, through being either outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems, could serve as a natural and “profoundly effective environmental strategy” against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hyper-coagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
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Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
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Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.