If you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, then pay close attention to where you live. Research findings suggest that living in areas with plenty of green space reduces your risk of developing heart disease.
Researchers from the University of Louisville looked at the impact of green space in neighborhoods on the risk of heart disease.
Over the course of five years, blood and urine samples were taken from 408 people of varying ethnicities, ages, and socioeconomic levels. The samples were assessed for biomarkers of blood vessel injury and the risk of heart disease.
Greenspace was measured by using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which measures greenspace density using satellite imagery collected by NASA and USGS. Air pollution and particulate matter levels were also assessed.
Living in heavily green areas was associated with lower urinary levels of epinephrine, which suggests lower levels of stress, lower urinary levels of F2-isoprostane – which indicates less oxidative stress and better health – and a higher capacity to repair blood vessels.
The association of epinephrine was seen higher among women.
Lead study author Aruni Bhatnagar explained, “Our study shows that living in a neighborhood dense with trees, bushes and other green vegetation may be good for the health of your heart and blood vessels. Indeed, increasing the amount of vegetation in a neighborhood may be an unrecognized environmental influence on cardiovascular health and a potentially significant public health intervention.”
Even if you live in a city with limited green space, it does not mean you are doomed to develop heart disease. Try to get to green areas, get outdoors more, reduce stress, and partake in other heart-healthy practices to further reduce your risk of heart disease.
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