Yes, exercising, eating healthy, and maybe even taking supplements are all good – and quite possibly even– to lowering cholesterol and improving heart health.
But a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association did not focus on that.
Instead, they used satellite images to figure out how you can drastically improve your cardiovascular health.
The researchers first recruited 408 people, all of whom had cardiovascular disease or were at serious risk of cardiovascular disease.
Next, they determined the amount of green space near the participant’s homes by looking at satellite images of green density, via levels of air pollution as established by the Environmental Protection Agency, and through measurements of roadway exposure.
1. Those living in green neighborhoods had a lower urinary concentration of epinephrine. Epinephrine is one of the hormones your body secretes when you are stressed.
2. Inhabitants of green areas displayed a lower urinary concentration of F2-isoprostane. This shows that they had lower levels of oxidative stress in their bodies.
3. Those living closest to dense greenery had a better collection of angiogenic cells, cells that grow blood vessels and repair blood vessel damage.
The best part of this study is the fact that green spaces designated for healthy walks were not necessarily defined as large parks or forests.
In fact, most of their participants lived in areas with very few parks.
But most of them lived in single-family homes with lots of grass and trees in both their own and on their neighbor’s properties, and small lots with greenery and a lack of houses.
Therefore, while many previous studies have drawn our attention to the benefits of exercising in green spaces, this study may, but does not necessarily, involve exercise.