Simply Viewing Nature Curbs Cravings

New research shows that looking out your window helps reduce unhealthy cravings

Abbey

--

Photo by Rob Wingate on Unsplash

There are days when I’m extremely proud of myself for eating three healthy meals and even making it to the gym!

Of course, around 9 p.m., none of this matters — I’ve remembered that a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream is in the freezer.

I reassure myself that I’ll only eat half.

Of course, I know this is a lie. I eat the whole pint… I always do.

My complete lack of self-control when it comes to sweet treats might explain why this new research, which explored how the amount of nature in daily life affects unhealthy cravings, ended up catching my eye.

So, what did the study do?

For the first time, researchers from the University of Plymouth in the U.K. investigated how passive viewing of green spaces may impact our harmful cravings. The scientists hypothesized that greenspace is deeply connected to a person’s wellbeing.

Building off of prior research that suggested exercising in nature diminishes cravings, scientists speculated that the positive association between nature and cravings might be present even without the physical activity.

Perhaps it was purely the greenery causing the change in behavior?

The recent study surveyed hundreds of participants to understand their access to greenspace. They were asked if they had a garden (whether personal or communal), views of nature from within their home, and how often they used greenspace.

The researchers also inspected participant’s neighborhoods to evaluate the number of public parks present.

Once the nature side of the survey was taken care of, participants were asked to record their cravings for a week.

In this study, a craving could be anything from food or alcohol to caffeinated drinks or drugs. Each individual picked their own crave-worthy weakness and filled out questionnaires that tracked the frequency and strength of these cravings.

What did they find?

--

--

Abbey

I’m a food scientist by PhD, a science writer, and a YouTuber. I’m fascinated by food science and enjoy writing and sharing what I’ve learn.