5 Ways to Improve Your Health by Going Green

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I spend a fair amount of time on Living Green and Saving Energy describing how to go green and save money as a result. But as important as saving money is for most people, perhaps it is not the most important benefit of a greener lifestyle.  Green living can improve your health as well.

Here are 5 health benefits you can realize from creating a greener lifestyle.

1. A healthier heart: regular exercise has obvious health benefits. By walking or riding a bike to replace your car for short trips, you get some cardio-exercise and save gas and reduce carbon emissions all at once. Even taking the bus or train will help since you can walk or bike to and from the bus stop or train station.

2. A healthier diet: buying locally-produced food saves on fuel for transporting that food to the market, and smaller local growers are more likely to offer organically-grown produce that is fresher, as well. Shopping at farmers’ markets is a good way to find these items, making sure your food is pesticide-free. In addition, reducing consumption of meat lowers your carbon footprint due to the greater amounts of energy, water, and resources used to produce meat compared to vegetables. And eating less red meat is good for almost everyone’s health.

3.  Healthier drinking:  bottled water is one of the least green items around. The chemicals used to produce the bottles are largely derived from petroleum, and some of those can leach into the water causing low-level contamination. And regardless of what type of plastic bottle is used, bottled water is not necessarily purer than tap water, just much more expensive. Drinking plenty of tap water, filtered as necessary depending on where you live, is the greenest and healthiest option.

4. Healthier breathing: Planning any remodeling this year? Using low VOC paint (VOC stands for volatile organic compounds) is healthier for your family due to the lower amount of airborne toxins. Your whole family will benefit form this simple step.

5. Healthier lighting: Using natural sunlight instead of electricity to light your rooms during the day will definitely save you some money, but there are even health benefits from this simple practice, as well. Sunlight helps in the body’s production of vitamin D, assuming some of that sunlight coming through the windows reaches your body directly. Natural light can also be a mood booster, especially during the shorter winter days.

Almost everyone’s health can be improved in each of these five ways by establishing greener living habits. And I probably don’t need to remind you that you will save money as well.

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August 2011
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