Old trees are better for your health, study shows

Old trees are better for your health, study shows
Credit: Michael Busch via Unsplash

One old tree has more positive effects on a person’s health than ten young trees, according to a large study conducted by KU Leuven.

The study, the results of which were published recently in the prestigious journal Environmental Health Perspectives, was able to establish links between the presence of different types of trees and the use of drugs for cardiovascular and mental disorders.

Science has already highlighted the positive effects nature has on, among other things, breathing, the heart and blood vessels, and sleep. For the first time now, a detailed study has been carried out on the benefits while distinguishing between different types of plants ranging from grass, shrubs to young and old trees.

Trees in Brussels Region were focus of study

The team of scientists identified 616,379 trees throughout the Brussels Region. The size of each was examined to assess its age, along with the number of trees in a designated area.

These data were then linked to data provided by mutual societies on the sales of medicines to treat cardiovascular and mental disorders in the Brussels region. The study also took into account other socio-economic factors that affect a person’s health.

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The results showed that fewer drugs were used in areas where older, more developed trees were present. However, this link decreases in cases where the trees are in too close a proximity to each other.

The study therefore showed that preserving a large and developed old tree has more benefits than planting ten new trees, the study suggests.


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