7 Health Bonuses to Going Green
Going green for your health can be simpler than you think.
1. Get a healthier heart while reducing pollution.
By walking or riding a bike to replace your car for short trips you get some cardio-exercise, 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. Avoid pesticides.
Organic foods offer a reduced exposure to agricultural pesticides, which may be detrimental to your health. Some studies also show that organic fruits and vegetables can have an average of 25 percent more nutrients than conventional produce. You don't have to buy everything organic, check out the "dirty dozen" for a list of foods that have the most pesticide residue, thus you may consider buying organic.
3. Stay away from pre-packaged/processed foods.
Obviously, more materials and energy went into the manufacturing of the food and the packaging than what you see in your grocer’s produce section, but that’s not the only reason to avoid these types of foods. They are usually full of sodium, sugar and refined carbohydrates – none of which are good sources of nutrition.
4. Reuse the bottle.
Water is one of the best tools for weight loss because it replaces high-calorie drinks like soda, juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn't have any calories. Moreover, it's also a great appetite suppressant, quenches your skin, helps digest food and combat the effects of dehydration such as fatigue and headaches.
Go green by using a refillable water bottle. In 2008, the U.S. used enough plastic water bottles to stretch around the earth more than 190 times*. It takes 2,000 times more energy to produce a bottle of water than it does to produce tap water¹ and 69 percent of bottled water containers end up in the trash and not in a recycling container.²
5. Buy local produce.
Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. In a week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality. By purchasing local, you are reducing truck/plane emissions and getting fresher food since it was allowed to ripen on the plant, not the truck. Find a farmer’s market near you.
6. Vitamin D in a new light.
When possible, use natural daylight to light your room rather than electricity. When UV light interacts with your skin, it triggers the formation of vitamin D, which is a good thing. Daylight also does not flicker; fluorescent lights can have a noticeable flicker. People blame this for a multitude of problems like headache, eye strain and attention-deficit problems. Some studies have even shown an increase in productivity with more daylight.
7. Dig it.
Want to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, get some exercise, eat better and save money? Sounds like a tall order, but all these results are possible with something down-to-earth: a garden.
If it’s good for the planet, it’s good for the patient!
At Northridge Hospital, we also recognize the interdependence between human health and our environment and believe in the caring stewardship of a renewable Earth for the enhancement of all life. We are proud of the following ecology efforts:
National Practice Greenhealth Award Winner
2010-12 – Partner for Change Award
2010 – Making Medicine Mercury-Free
2009 – Partner Recognition
Reduction of medical waste 242 percent over the past six years
- Since FY 2006, the amount of paper and cardboard recycled at the hospital has increased 231 percent from 183 tons to an all-time high of 606 tons in 2011
In 2005, we transitioned to PVC/DEHP-free intravenous bags, solutions and tubing. Dignity Health was the first major health system to take such a strong position on the use of PVC/DEHP-free products. With this effort, we are eliminating approximately 840 tons of this toxic material from both the patient care setting and the waste stream.
Learn more about Northridge Hospital's environmental stewardship.
* Based on 39 billion bottles used in 2008. Beverage Market Group, ‘Beverage Packaging in the US’ (Nov 2009)
¹ PH Gleickand and HS Cooley. “Energy Implications of Bottled Water.” 2009 Environ Res Letter
² IBWA, “IBWA Rebuts Misleading and Factually Incorrect Video about Bottled Water”