The many ways country living benefits your health

Posted by Tiffany Wilson on June 30, 2016

When we started writing about the draws of country life one year ago, we had no idea how much health would play a role in the story.

Study after study has come out to reinforce that nature is critical for our well-being in so many different ways, and that getting our food through local sources - whether our own gardens or a local CSA - is the best way to ensure what we’re eating is safe.

Subscribe to Rethink:Rural's monthly e-newsletterLiving in the country can make you healthier by exposing you to more of the good stuff - and less of the bad.

In celebration of Rethink:Rural’s first birthday, we’re taking a look back at 10 of the most enlightening country health articles we’ve shared with you this year.

Other highlights from our first year:

Country Life Builds Immunity

1. How country living builds spectacular immune systems

We look at what science has to say about how country life, fresh air and the outdoors help build strong immune systems through what's known in the health world as a well-diversified microbiome. “Microbiome” is what scientists call your inner ecosystem. Author Kristen Boye looks at the research that proves time outdoors vastly increases the strength of our immune systems.

2. How rural living helps you stress less and live longer

Did you know simply spending time outdoors can reduce your heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and stress hormone production? We look at the research that shows how rural living will help the health of everyone, old and young. In fact, studies are showing kids desperately need unstructured outdoor time to bring their health and mental well-being into balance.

3. How earthing could change your health

“Earthing” or “grounding” is the practice of making contact with the earth by walking barefoot, gardening, swimming in the ocean or using a specialized grounding device. These seemingly simple, tree-hugger-like techniques are making huge waves in the medical and scientific communities as inexpensive and practical ways to help reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, balance hormones, improve sleep, reduce chronic pain, manage stress and increase immunity.

4. Embracing the light: How the sun is good for you

We’ve heard so much about preventing sunburn that we’re forgetting the positive side of getting some time in the sun. Natural sunlight actually fights disease and promotes better health in a number of ways. It even helps prevent some forms of cancer! In this article, we look at 7 ways the sun can improve your health.


5. The benefits of well water

With pollution on the rise - and thus the requirement for chemical treatment to public water sources - having your own well can give you a healthier option. We look at the advantages of having your own well and explain how to test and choose a filter for your well water.

6. Why kids need nature more than ever

Last Child in the Woods author Richard Louv explains that, while technology is good for kids, they also need nature. Those who aren’t exposed to the outdoors lose out on lessons they can’t learn from an electronic device. Many schools are listening to the evidence and beginning to offer outdoor time to students.

7. Got (farm) eggs?

Health writer and chef Kristen Boye gives a quick overview of what grocery store labels really mean on egg cartons, and then offers advice to ensure you are buying truly healthy eggs. She also shares recipes to help you use up your bounty of eggs, should you or a someone you know be blessed with a flock of chickens.


8. 9 superfoods you can grow in your country garden

“Superfoods” have become increasingly popular in the world of diet and health. In the grocery store, they can be pricey. But did you know you can easily grow many of them? We look at 9 superfoods that are easy and affordable to grow yourself.

9. What you don’t know about raw milk

In the country, you may have your own milk cow - or live close enough to a neighbor who does. But is it safe to drink? We look at the facts about raw milk, which is believed to play a role in protecting us against certain diseases and can even be consumed by people deemed “lactose intolerant” when faced with commercial dairy products. It is believed the raw milk provides beneficial bacteria, nutrients, and pathogens—all of which contribute to greater respiratory and immune health.

10. 5 unbelievable health benefits of playing outside

Research makes the case for the benefits of the outdoors for kids, from reducing ADD and ADHD symptoms to better eyesight. We look at the research and share the facts about the effects of outdoor exercise on kids.

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Tiffany Wilson

The former editor of Rethink:Rural, Tiffany Wilson has been passionate about writing - and country life - since childhood. She grew up in a log house in the hills of a small town in Upstate New York. She previously worked as a newspaper reporter and hospital communications coordinator. Today, she lives with her husband and children in Yulee, Florida.

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