Nature exposure has long been correlated to improved mental wellbeing and physical health, able to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. A growing body of evidence implicates that greater exposure to or contact with natural environments can greatly benefit populations in high-income, largely urbanized societies, while merely living in a greener neighborhood has the potential to better health outcomes. Living in greener areas has been correlated to decreased risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and mental distress, as well as increased longevity and improved self-reported health.
In the past few years, the connection between the brain, gut, and microbiome has become an increasingly examined topic in the medical research community. As more research continues to prove this bidirectional link, there is a growing awareness of the importance of gut health not just for gastrointestinal health but also for overall physical and mental wellbeing. Studies of the connection between the gut and physical health have revealed the powerful effects of the microbiome on the immune system, mood, energy levels, and a range of other bodily aspects.
June marks the beginning of Brain Awareness Month, a global campaign to raise public awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Increased recognition of neurological disorders has led to further clinical research and the discovery of important mechanisms of action, risk factors, and indicators of declining cognitive function. More recently, the medical community has focused its efforts on better understanding the gut-brain axis, or the connection between the human microbiome and mental health. Discoveries continue to implicate the crucial role of the gut in promoting and maintaining cognitive function, mental clarity, and a stable mood.