Most of us would agree that it always feels good being out in nature. But what does the research say? Is it really healthier? This article discusses what researchers in The Netherlands have found out about the health benefits of “going green”.
A short walk or just hours wandering through nature, growing vegetables together in a community vegetable garden or working in an office full of plants: green feels good. And: green is good. Contact with nature increases happiness and reduces stress.
It promotes vitality, creativity and stimulates encounters between people. Researchers from Wageningen University & Research are therefore working on various Green for Health projects.
When in the 1980s the effect between green space and health was investigated, the results were so remarkable that the top science magazine (1984) made room for them. The American Roger Ulrich showed that patients who had a view of green trees after gallbladder surgery recovered faster than those who looked out on a stone wall.
This study was the starting shot for many studies into the healing powers of nature. Dutch research also shows that people who live in green areas feel healthier more often and are sick less often. Green reduces stress, for example because seeing nature alone has a calming effect.
says researcher Sjerp de Vries. For example, children in green neighbourhoods are fifteen percent less likely to be overweight.
Green and use of ADHD medication among children
The greener the living environment, the fewer children aged five to twelve use ADHD medication. Together with two research institutes in the field of health, the NIVEL and the Julius Centre (UMC), Wageningen University & Research studied the relationship between how green the living environment is and the use of ADHD medication such as Ritalin. Data from the Achmea Health Database on almost 250,000 children were used. The living environment is defined as a circle with a radius of 250 meters around the house.
The greener the living environment, the lower the incidence of ADHD medication use within this age group. The relationship turned out to be strongest in the poorest neighbourhoods and absent in the richest neighbourhoods (based on the REV (Real Estate Value) value of the homes).
The results are therefore consistent with those of other research in which the relationship between the presence of green space and health was also found to be stronger with a lower socio-economic status.
Green in the living environment
But not everyone has easy access to a garden, park or street green. Researcher Jan Hassink: ‘For vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and people with a low socio-economic status, the use of greenery is important. It improves their health and well-being. Access to green space can contribute to reducing socio-economic health differences.
These are differences in health and mortality between people with a high and people with a lower (socio-economic) position in society. But the latter group often has less access to green space. And the quality and maintenance level of green space in their living environment is often lower, so the effect of green space is probably also lower’.
In Arnhem and Nijmegen the researchers are therefore looking at how, together with residents, they can make vulnerable neighbourhoods greener in such a way that all residents come into contact with greenery and actively use it.
Researcher Lenneke Vaandrager is project leader of the PARTIGAN consortium: ‘We are investigating how residents use and value parks. We are following redevelopment projects in which streets are made greener. And we want to know how residents experience green civic initiatives: we measure the effect on health and well-being.
Think, for example, of a neighbourhood vegetable garden, set up by the residents themselves, where they roll up their sleeves together and prepare meals using vegetables and herbs from their own garden.
What do we expect? That when people work in the vegetable garden, they get more social contacts, experience less stress and feel healthier. They will also live healthier lives because they are more active and eat healthier food’.
Healthy greenery in and around schools
It is not only in Arnhem and Nijmegen that residents may be more actively involved with nature and eat healthier food. Children in Amsterdam see apples and pears growing in the orchard on a daily basis and are allowed to help maintain the trees and harvest the fruit themselves.
Here, Wageningen University & Research is involved in Fruit4Schools, an initiative that brings social institutions, parents and children into contact with healthy food in a playful and above all natural way. Primary and secondary schools, local businesses, municipalities and other interested parties work together so that fruit can be produced on schoolyards.
Project leader Marc Ravesloot: ‘This is linked to environmental education: the children eat the cultivated fruit in the classrooms, if necessary supplemented by the local greengrocer. In this way, children and their parents become more aware of how our daily food is produced and what the influence of healthy food is on a healthy lifestyle’.
A healthy lifestyle also includes plenty of exercise. Several schools are therefore undergoing a metamorphosis into “Healthy Schoolyard”. A square where you can hide in the bushes, where you can climb over tree trunks or stomp into puddles with your boots. In short: where children have the space to play in a challenging and green environment.
Together with TNO, Wageningen University & Research has conducted research into the effect of this redesign at four primary schools. The researchers looked at the degree of physical activity, cognitive functioning, the social climate on the square and in the classroom and, more generally, the socio-emotional well-being of the children.
The outcome: according to the children there is less bullying on the square and fewer children are on the side during the break. This is probably mainly due to the greater variety that the new squares offer.
Green healthy care
Several schools exchange the grey tiles for plants and trees. This also happens in health care. Jan Hassink: ‘For example, clients work at care farms, 1200 of which are already in the Netherlands. They feed the animals or work in the vegetable garden. The farmers and farmers’ wives provide the care. The peace and quiet and the space of the countryside contribute to the well-being of these people: they experience less stress, fear or pain.
These activities are popular with different groups of clients such as people with mental disabilities or psychological problems, vulnerable elderly and young people with behavioural and emotional problems. In this way they can take part in society in a meaningful way’.
The researchers want to know how participants and their informal carers experience this form of care. Where participants used to be cared for in care institutions, nowadays care mainly takes place at home. This is only possible if informal carers are relieved, for example by the availability of appropriate day care. Together with stakeholders, we look at the effective principles and points for attention and improvement, which we jointly translate into a quality framework for care agriculture,’ says Hassink.
A meaningful daytime activity is also important for people living at home with dementia and their carers. According to Vaandrager, it is still a problem to find something suitable. When looking for day care, you quickly end up with games and coffee.
Many people with dementia actually benefit from something else. They become happier when they are active, spend a large part of the day outside and choose for themselves what to do. We see that in the city recently several green initiatives are popping up: from gardening to caring for animals.
Because this is a relatively new way of spending the day, little is known about the diversity and value of these green initiatives. The aim of our research is to investigate the characteristics of green initiatives in urban areas and to find out what the significance of these green initiatives is for people with dementia and their carers’.
Green and city heat
Green also makes us feel comfortable on a hot summer day in the city. A good and dispersed amount of city green combats city heat. PhD student Wiebke Klemm studied the contribution of city green to so-called thermal comfort: how (un)pleasant the interplay of temperature, wind, humidity and radiation feels. Her conclusion is clear: ‘Urban green ensures that we feel ‘thermally’ pleasant.
In our experience, water or the shade of buildings does not match the cooling effect of trees. The measurement data we have gathered from cycling around with two cargo bikes full of measuring equipment also show that green spaces are the cooling islands in a city.
Ten percent more tree cover, for example, results in a radiation temperature that is more than three degrees lower. Climate change will increase the heat in cities and thermal comfort will become increasingly important in the design of outdoor spaces’.
Green and indoor environment
The air we breathe outdoors on such a sunny day is often of better quality than the air indoors. It is often downright bad. This is due to poor ventilation, high CO2 concentrations and volatile substances emitted by, for example, floor coverings, wall panels or electronic equipment. Sick building syndrome was first mentioned in the 1980s.
Unhealthy indoor air causes health complaints such as headaches, irritation of mucous membranes or allergies. Project leader Tia Hermans: ‘Healthy air is important for a good learning climate for children and a good working climate for employees. The more CO2 there is in the air, the harder it is to concentrate. With green plants, you can purify the indoor air and increase work pleasure’.
Green rehabilitation for young workers with burnout
Burnout is becoming more and more common among young people between 18 and 35 years of age. Costs due to work-related stress-related absenteeism in the Netherlands amount to around €1.8 billion. Recent research shows that green rehabilitation programmes, such as hiking coaching, can reduce burnout complaints and promote reintegration.
At the same time, there are still many questions about the effectiveness of the programmes and working mechanisms, as a result of which health insurers do not recognise this form of care. The goal of Roald Pijpker’s PhD research is therefore to identify mechanisms that can explain the rehabilitation of young workers with burn-out.
In addition, it will be investigated whether programmes built on these mechanisms are actually effective. If the results are positive, the evaluated programme will be submitted to the Healthy Life Window in order to make green rehabilitation a recognized (effective) intervention available to professionals and policy makers.
Working in a green oasis therefore has its advantages: it brings moisture into the air, plants can clean the air and create a fine environment. Wageningen University & Research carried out research at three locations, where a control and intervention space were compared.
This gave striking results: after planting and hanging plants, the relative humidity improved by an average of five percentage points, in winter even by seventeen percentage points. People rated the workplace as more attractive.
The mood of employees is more positive after planting and they are more positive about their own functioning. Employees report sick less often – the drop is twenty percentage points – and people’s recovery needs are unexpectedly higher after planting.
Hermans: ‘These results are promising. That’s why research is currently being done at ten locations into the introduction of plants’ business case. After all, less artificial climate control (energy savings) or improved employee performance (labour productivity) or lower absenteeism due to sickness can result in economic savings.
A green office environment can also create an image advantage for a company and make it easier to recruit customers or staff, or to retain staff. The results of this project will be delivered in 2021′.
In addition to all the benefits, making the living environment greener can entail health risks. Think of the explosive increase of the oak processionary caterpillar or the fact that 1 in 5 tick bites are already contracted in the city.
The city is also experiencing increasing problems with water quality due to longer warm periods, causing the blue-green algae problem to increase. Researcher Bertram De Rooij: ‘Not to forget, more green also means more pollen. In urban areas there is a strong interaction between air quality and pollen, which makes hay fever problems worse’.
There are also indirect health risks in and around the urban environment related to greenery in public spaces or on and around buildings, such as fire safety.
Together with, among others, the Institute for Physical Safety and the Netherlands Fire Brigade, Wageningen is working on an integrated approach to natural fire (prevention), which now also focuses on the relationship with the urban area.
De Rooij: ‘Despite the risks, we have to be especially positive about green. In the coming years, we are going to take up the challenge of reversing the potential risks and combining them with the major positive effects of green space in order to arrive at clear, integral management and design principles. We want to interest more people in green space. After all, green space can be used in many fantastic ways’.
In this article you can read about the effect of linseed on your digestion, bowel movements, cholesterol, blood sugar, skin, hair and nails. You’ll also discover whether linseed accelerates (or counteracts) weight loss.
Nowadays linseed can be found in almost all nature shops and large supermarkets. Read this article and decide for yourself if you want to add linseed to your diet. At the end of this article you will find 6 ways to eat more flaxseed, and you will get a tip to improve your skin and hair with flaxseed.
What is flaxseed? (linseed)
Linseed is a brown, flat seed from the flax plant called Linum usitatisimum .
It is one of the oldest fibre crops in the world and one of the world’s first superfoods. It is most commonly produced in Canada, but countries such as China, Germany, USA, Belgium, India and the Netherlands also produce this nutritious crop.
Flaxseed is a source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and essential omega 3 fatty acids. This makes it a good addition to your diet.
The nutritional value of linseed
One tablespoon of 10 grams of flaxseed contains the following nutritional value:
Vitamins and Minerals:
In addition to these vitamins and minerals, flaxseed also contains small amounts of copper, selenium, phosphorus and molybdenum. Flaxseed is also one of the richest sources of the important omega 3 fatty acid ALA, also called alpha-linolenic acid.
ALA is an essential fatty acid. This means that the body cannot produce it itself and that we have to get it through our diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are important for our cell membranes, brain, immune system and hormone system, and play a role in the prevention of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Besides ALA there are other essential fatty acids: the essential fish fatty acids EPA and DHA. Although flaxseed does not contain EPA and DHA, it is possible that ALA from flaxseed is converted into these substances in the body. Approximately 20% of ALA can be converted into EPA and 0.5% can be converted into DHA. This makes linseed less effective as a source of EPA and DHA than fresh fish, crustaceans and shellfish.
Unfortunately, flaxseed also contains cyanogenic substances that are converted in the human body into the poison cyanide. For this reason it is recommended to use less than 45 grams of flaxseed per day to prevent respiratory problems.
The health benefits of linseed:
Promotes digestion and bowel movements:
The soluble and insoluble fibres in linseed have a beneficial effect on digestion and stools. These fibres support the colon during detoxification (by good intestinal bacteria) and give a full feeling, which will reduce the desire for sugar. The fatty acid ALA from flaxseed can help protect the lining of the digestive tract. Because it improves bowel movement through linseed, it can also prevent clogging.
Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease:
Due to the high content of omega 3 fatty acids, linseed promotes the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. This reduces the risk of various chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The use of linseed has a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels, especially in men. The unsaturated fats in linseed cause the good HDL cholesterol to increase and the bad LDL cholesterol to decrease. The soluble fibres in flaxseed also contribute to a reduction in bad cholesterol.
Prevents hot flashes:
Research shows that the consumption of linseed can reduce the risk of hot flushes in menopausal women.
Improves blood sugar balance:
There are strong indications that daily consumption of flaxseed improves glycemic control in men and women with severe obesity in the early stages of diabetes. This is positive, as blood sugar levels rise less rapidly as a result.
Linseed is good for skin, hair and nails:
ALA in flaxseed can reduce dryness and flaking of skin and hair due to the essential fats and B vitamins. It can also reduce symptoms of acne, rosacea (bright red discoloration on the face) and eczema.
Supports weight loss:
Flaxseed is full of fibres, which make you feel satiated for longer. Because of this, you will eat less, so you will get fewer calories. This can lead to weight loss.
Flaxseed is rich in antioxidants:
Antioxidants offer the body protection against harmful substances. These harmful substances play a role in ageing processes and in cell and tissue damage.
The polyphenols in linseed have an anti-inflammatory effect and help with colds and flu.
Linseed is gluten-free:
Because linseed is gluten-free, it is suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten hypersensitivity.
How and for what can you use linseed?
Linseed is for sale in various forms: as whole seeds, ground seeds or as oil. You can use the different forms of linseed in various ways and in various dishes. For example, you can add it to your diet by incorporating it in soups, salads, sandwiches, casseroles or bread.
1. Eat linseed with your breakfast: Get your metabolism going by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of linseed to your breakfast. Mix it with your oatmeal or yoghurt, for example. Flaxseed contains a lot of fibre and also provides you with the energy you need. Because the energy is released slowly, you can benefit from it for a long time.
2. Add it to a smoothie: Add 1 tablespoon of linseed to a smoothie. With smoothies you can vary endlessly, they are easy to carry and they contribute to the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables.
3. Mix it with soups and stews: Add linseed to a soup or stew at the last minute. You can make a large quantity of soups and stews, because it will easily stay good for a few days.
4. Add it to baking dishes: Flaxseed is a perfect complement to baking dishes. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons (ground) of linseed through the cake, muffin or bread mix and immediately create a healthier variant. Pancakes can also be enriched with linseed, allowing children (and adults) to get more healthy nutrients.
5. Use linseed as breadcrumbs: Bread your chicken or fish with linseed. This gives you nutritious chicken schnitzels or fish sticks.
6. Add roasted linseed to salads, meat, dressings and soups: Adding roasted linseed gives your dish a pleasant crispy taste sensation. Experiment and experience for yourself in which dish the product comes into its own.
7. Use flaxseed oil for skin and hair: Mix 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil with essential oils and use as a natural (liquid) hair and skin cream.
Keep in mind broken linseed digests better than whole linseed. If you have not eaten linseed before, it is advisable to start with broken linseed.
Flaxseed has an impressive nutritional value and has a favourable ratio between omega 3 and omega 6. It is also rich in fibre, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals such as B1, B11, calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium and selenium. Flaxseed is rich in antioxidants that can slow down the ageing process.
In addition, flaxseed (in combination with a healthy diet) can have a beneficial effect on you:
Linseed can help you lose weight, because it makes you feel satiated (which probably makes you eat less). That’s why linseed is on the shopping list with healthy food. If you want to lose weight in a healthy and natural way, eat only foods on the healthy shopping list and lose 2 kilos a week (without feeling hungry or having to exercise).
If your washing machine won’t drain or spin, either something is stuck in the washing machine drain hose or pump, the pump is broken, or it sensed an imbalance when it started spinning.
If a washer won’t drain or spin, most of the time the fix is simple. We describe here the methods you can use to troubleshoot this problem. The solutions given here are the common cures for a domestic front-loading washing machine. Always switch off the appliance first, and unplug it before doing any work.
What to Do When Your Washing Machine Won’t Drain
If your washing machine has stopped with visibly a lot of water still in it, you will need to drain it before you can remove the washing.
The first action is to unplug the machine and empty the water. With a front-loading machine, you won’t be able to simply bail the water out of the tub, as you would for a top-loading machine.
You will need to drain the tub using gravity. Do this by placing the washer drain hose on the floor near a floor drain, or in a bucket/ washing-up bowl. Remove the stopper and progressively fill the bucket or bowl and emptying the contents, until no water is visible in the tub.
Clamp or stopper the hose to prevent any remaining water from running out while you empty the receptacle each time. Once the washer’s empty, open the door and remove the wet washing wring-out and dry your garments in any way possible. Finally, clamp or stopper the hose as it was before you started before plugging the appliance in again.
The Most Common Causes of a Washing Machine Won’t Drain or Spin
1. The load is unbalanced
Most of the time the tub stops spinning because the load is unbalanced. Sometimes you will have noticed the sound of the machine starting a spin cycle, only to make a clonking noise and then stop. If it stops very quickly there may be water still in the tub. Another tell-tale is that the machine may even have moved slightly from its normal position.
If so, and there is no standing water above the door cill, wait until the machine has been idle for a minute or two and the safety mechanism releases the door.
Open the spinner door and remove any especially heavy item which may have been causing the imbalance. You may need to dry that item by hanging it out to dry. If the imbalance was due to there being only one heavy item in the spinner at the time, you may also need to dry it in the air.
Sometimes adding another item, or several more items will balance the spin. If you have more washing to do, you might consider adding the item which caused the imbalance to a subsequent spin load with other garments.
2. There is an excess of foamy suds
Excessive foam could be caused by soft water or too much detergent. It usually happens when you add the wrong amount of washing powder, so refer to the instructions on the detergent bottle. The reason that a washing machine with excess foam may fail to pump out can be that the bubbles of foam get inside the pump, and the pump isn’t designed to pump bubbles.
You may be able to continue the wash by rinsing out the tub with clean water while draining it out via the pump hose, as described above. But, as this can be a long-winded process it’s probably better to just empty the tub, remove the wash-load, rinse out excess detergent by hand, replace the load and start the wash cycle again.
3. The drain hose is clogged, kinked or frozen
This problem is self-explanatory, and is something to look out for and put right:
4. The pump itself is clogged
Washing machine pumps can get clogged with grit from a very dirty wash, very old decayed fabric may sometimes disintegrate, or plastic particles may build-up in the pump mechanism.
If this occurs it will become apparent when trying to drain the tub, as described above. In this situation, the gravity flow out through the drain hose below the pump is slow or non-existent. If so, the remedy is to consult the washing machine manufacturer’s manual to see how to remove the pump case.
With the case removed you will be able to gain access to the inner workings of the pump and rinse or pull the material causing the clog out. Before any machine repair always be sure to unplug the machine first though.
5. The pump is damaged or broken
If the impeller inside the pump is damaged you can usually tell by reaching your fingers inside and feeling for broken impeller blades. Or, if the pump leaks or makes an unusual noise, you’ll have to replace it.
In this case, it is possible for competent DIY’ers to remove the pump screws that hold the pump to the washer, purchase a new washing machine water pump, and install it. But, if in doubt engage a qualified plumber.
Keeping Washing Machine Problems to a Minimum
To keep any home washing machine working the longest with the least problems, always operate your washing machine in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. What many people don’t appreciate though is that you should also clean your washing machine once in a while.
If all else fails, or you simply don’t wish to troubleshoot in the manner described above, don’t punish yourself any further. Get an appliance repair done by an expert. Schedule a repair with a skilled plumber such as the plumbers in Glasgow Southside or a washing machine repair and servicing specialist.
Keeping fit is an essential part of our lives every single day. Fitness keeps you healthy, keeps your heart performing and helps you lose weight to look your best. There are many ways that you can incorporate fitness into your everyday life. The article below is filled with tips that you can use as a fitness starting point.
Finding your target heart rate can make your workouts more effective. The target heart rate is the heart rate at which your body is using the most oxygen, and therefore burning the most calories. Ideally your target rate is approximately 60 percent of your maximum rate. You can get a rough calculation of your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from the number 220.
A great way to get fit is to start eating more vegetables. Vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients and if you aren’t eating enough, you aren’t doing your body any favors. An easy way to make sure you’re eating enough vegetables is to just toss a handful of them into a salad.
Every time you do abdominal exercises, make sure to do back exercises as well. If you do so, you won’t have back pain–too many abdominal exercises can cause back pain and poor posture. Don’t focus on one body area and neglect other areas, make sure to have a balanced workout.
One very important tip for living healthy is to get an adequate amount of exercise. You should aim to do both aerobic training and strength training at least three times per week. Doing both of these can help reduce cardiovascular risk, obesity, and diabetes. Exercise has also been proven to reduce stress and depression.
Just because you may have hurt one arm doesn’t mean you need to stop exercising your other arm. Research shows that people who worked out only one arm for two weeks were able to make their hurt arm stronger by up to ten percent. When you work one arm, you are actually sending a message to the muscle nerve fibers of the opposite arm.
If you’re using a personal trainer, pay them in advance. If you pay them now you’re more likely to stick with the work since you won’t want to have wasted that money. If you only pay the trainer at the session, you’ll be more likely to give up since you won’t have spent anything.
Sprinters can easily and quickly increase their speed by adding targeted workouts for their hamstring muscles. To begin, start with a traditional leg curl. When you begin to pull the weight lower, however, concentrate on flexing your feet and toes away from your body. This simple step increases the workload on your hamstrings.
You can easily improve the quality and effectiveness of shoulder presses by concentrating on only one arm at a time. Perform two or three sets of ten reps with your left arm, then switch and do the same with your right arm. Even when you are using only one arm, your body is sending messages to stimulate the muscle fibers in the other arm.
When pursuing your fitness goals it is essential that you cut out the excuses. Excuses will cause you to fail. You should schedule a time to work out and follow through on it. Even if you only exercise for a few minutes, this is better than not working out at all.
Avoid trying to hack a basketball down when trying to take it from an opponent to avoid a foul. Instead try flipping the ball upward from underneath. This is more of a subtle, yet surprising technique that your opponent will most likely not see coming. It’s also much easier to grab it from a height than from the ground.
Walk to lunch. If you work in an office environment, try walking to lunch at a place at least five minutes away. That way, after you’ve eaten and returned to work, you will have also done a nice 10 minute walk which can be healthy for your state of mind and body as well.
Keep fitness integrated into your life by following some simple tips and tricks. The article above mentioned some great ideas that you can choose to use as your own. You can switch up the ways you keep fit and there is no right or wrong way when it comes to fitness.
Into The Blogosphere
Hi, I'm Jasper Ameet. I'm an online blogger and news curator. I have written many articles which have been published on major news sites throughout the years.