Living with a view to a park or garden reduces the craving for chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol, study finds
- Researchers said that nature could reduce bad emotions, which in turn stop food cravings
- Participants were asked to reveal their deepest cravings and time spent in nature
- It could lead to larger studies to understand how craving works
Research shows that if you live somewhere with a view of a park or garden, you will not feel like eating chocolate, cigarettes or alcohol.
Researchers claim to be surrounded by green space, leading to people having fewer negative feelings and therefore less inclined to unhealthy delights.
Exposure to nature, even in small quantities, has been shown to improve overall well-being.
And the researchers said this could help to understand the causes of cravings and thereby improve the understanding of diseases caused by excessive amounts, such as obesity and diabetes.
Living overlooking a park or garden reduces the craving for chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol, a study found by the University of Plymouth (stock image)
The study, led by the University of Plymouth, asked 149 participants to complete an online survey about where they lived and their guilty pleasures.
Participants selected items for which they regularly had cravings – most people said food (38 percent) or chocolate (32 percent).
Addictive items were also a commonly reported choice, with caffeine exceeding 16 percent of people's lists, nicotine five percent and alcohol nine percent.
The research measures, among other things, the share of green space in the neighborhood of each participant, the amount of greenery that they can see from their home, their access to a garden or allotment garden and how often they went to a public green space such as a park.
The results showed that those who had access to a garden or allotment garden, or had a view of their house at least a quarter consisting of green space, yearn for less often and with less intensity.
Leanne Martin, who led the research as part of her master's degree in Plymouth, said: & # 39; It has been known for some time that being outdoors is linked to one's well-being.
& # 39; But because a similar association with craving for easy viewing of green spaces adds a new dimension to earlier research.
A 20-MINUTE WALK A DAY & # 39; DRAMATIC LOWER STRESS & # 39;
Little work has been done on the exact levels of exposure needed to have a significant effect on well-being.
However, researchers at the University of Michigan found that a 20-minute daily walk in nature can dramatically lower stress levels and promote well-being.
It appears to lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol by about 10 percent.
Dr. Mary Carol Hunter, who led the re-search, said: & our research shows that for the best payout, in terms of efficiently reduced levels of stress hormone, cortisol, you need 20 to 30 minutes sit or walk in a place that gives you a sense of nature.
& # 39; You don't have to travel to the wilderness. Leaving an office building and sitting next to a tree can be enough & # 39 ;.
Dr. Hunter believes that the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, should lead to the prescription of & # 39; nature pills & # 39; – advice from doctors that patients suffering from anxiety should spend time in a green space.
& # 39; This is the first study to investigate this idea, and it could have a number of implications in the future for both public health and the environmental protection program & # 39; s. & # 39;
The study also measures the amount of exercise that people have done, but showed that the reduced craving still worked regardless of their physical activity level.
Dr. Sabine Pahl, associate professor of psychology, said: & Craving contributes to a number of health-damaging behaviors such as smoking, excessive drinking, and unhealthy eating.
& # 39; In turn, these can contribute to some of the greatest global health challenges of our time, including cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
& # 39; Showing that a lower urge is accompanied by more exposure to green spaces is a promising first step.
& # 39; Future research should investigate whether and how green spaces can be used to help people endure cravings, so that they can better manage their stopping attempts in the future. & # 39;
The study, published in the journal Health and Place, points to the need to protect and invest in green spaces in towns and villages to improve public health, the researchers said.
They also suggested investigating the link further.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that he & # 39; balanced the balance & # 39; from drugs to social activities to improve the health of the country.
He has the extension of & # 39; social prescription & # 39; – non-medical treatment such as going for regular walks or working on an allotment garden – supported as a way to relieve pressure on the NHS.
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