Other studies had already shown that living near forests and natural green spaces had many positive effects on health. In particular, it improves the reaction to stress, and reduces the vascular damage linked to pollution (Bhatnagar 2021).
This recent australian studypublished in Environmental Health Perspectives, tells us that this closeness to nature is capable of slow down the deleterious effects of aging.
Based on epigenetic markers
She is one of the first to look at this from an epigenetic point of view, i.e. modifications to the expression of our genes, induced by certain elements of the way of life (to find out more about epigenetics and aging see our item). Thus, the researchers studied biological age markers linked to DNA methylation.
The biological age correlated to this DNA methylation (and more precisely aging acceleration markers) were measured in 479 women, as was an estimate of the volume of green space near their place of residence. For this, satellite images were used.
In fact, depending on the parts of our DNA that are methylated or not, depending on food, physical activity, toxic or polluting elements, stress, etc., certain genes will tend to accelerate aging or rather slow it down. .
Vegetation has effects on health and longevity
The researchers’ goal is to better understand how to increase healthy life expectancy, which is quite different from the total lifetime. The results recorded in this study go well in this direction, and several health effects have been confirmed. Effects which act directly on longevity. These are for example:
- an epigenetic effect opposite to that observed in smokers
- immune function
- reduction of adipose tissue
- kidney function
Finally, a correlation was made between the amount of surrounding green space and reduction in mortalityall causes combined.
This joins a study from Hong Kong in 2020 showing that the plant environment was correlated with longer telomeres, a sign of slower aging.
Admittedly, the study only concerns women, but it is difficult to see how men would not be equally influenced by this type of environment.
If it were still necessary to demonstrate that man is made to live in harmony with nature, here is one more proof. Why he tends to do the opposite is another story…