Being Surrounded By Greenery Can Be Good for Your Heart

iStock.com/Givaga
iStock.com/Givaga

Living in a place with a little greenery is good for your health in more ways than one. Recent research has found that people perceive their health status as significantly better if they live around trees, and for good reason—in addition to helping you chill out, exposure to lots of green vegetation may be good for your cardiovascular health, as Cardiovascular Business reports.

A new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that living in green areas is correlated with certain biomarkers for cardiovascular health. Scientists analyzed blood and urine samples from 408 people at a cardiology clinic, then compared the results to satellite-derived data on the levels of greenery around those patients’ homes (using 820-foot and half-mile radiuses).

Adjusting for age, sex, race, smoking status, “neighborhood deprivation” and other factors known to be linked heart disease rates, the researchers found that living in a green area was correlated with several markers of a healthy heart. Blood and urine samples from those participants who lived in green neighborhoods showed lower levels of sympathetic activation—the body’s automatic fight-or-flight response, which raises the heart rate and is involved in heart failure. Those participants also had reduced oxidative stress—an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can cause tissue damage and is linked to chronic disease. And they had higher angiogenic capacity, which refers to the body’s ability to form new blood vessels.

All this suggests that being around trees is somehow linked to having a healthier heart, though these are just biomarkers, not rates of heart disease or major cardiac events. But while scientists have yet to prove directly that being around trees causes your heart to be healthier, it’s not the first study to suggest a link. In 2015, a study of American women found that rates of heart disease went up in certain areas after a beetle invasion killed off a significant number of trees. Other studies have suggested that being around trees can reduce stress, which in itself may affect your risk of heart disease. Luckily, whether it qualifies as heart medicine or not, spending more time hanging out under trees couldn’t hurt.

[h/t Cardiovascular Business]

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

A Bald Eagle Nest With Eggs Has Been Spotted on Cape Cod for the First Time Since 1905

6381380/iStock via Getty Images
6381380/iStock via Getty Images

America's bald eagle population has made an incredible comeback in recent decades, and evidence of this can be seen on Cape Cod. As Boston.com reports, a bald eagle nest with a baby chick has been spotted on the Cape for the first time in more than a century.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife spotted the nest in Barnstable, Massachusetts. It's one of more than 70 eagle's nests that have popped up around the state this year, with others being documenting in Concord, Medford, and Northampton. Any eagle nest with eggs is considered active, and according to a photo snapped by a Mass Audubon Long Pasture volunteer, the Cape Cod site has already hatched a chick.

A bald eagle nest with eggs was last recorded on Cape Cod in 1905. In the years that followed, hunting, habitat loss, and insecticides like DDT decimated their numbers, resulting in the birds' addition to the Endangered Species List.

Thanks to conservation efforts and the ban of DDT, this trend has been reversed. Their numbers have grown from to just 471 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states in 1963 to nearly 10,000 today. The species is no longer considered endangered, and as the new Cape Cod nest shows, the birds are beginning to show up in places they haven't been seen in a lifetime.

If you're curious to see if bald eagles live your neighborhood, their nests are easy to spot. The average bald eagle nest is 2- to 4-feet deep and 4- to 5-feet wide—the largest of any North American bird.

[h/t Boston.com]