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March 2022 Newsletter

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

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8 Mar 2022 TPZN
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Hi there – I hope you have a lovely day, not like we have here in Aberdeen, where the forecast is snow during the days. So far, we have had only a covering and a few hail stone showers.

I again have some good news to share with you. In the last newsletter, I said that I had our first customer contract, which served The Project Zen as a pilot to try various things out and see how they would be received. This was the before and after visual result.

I tried out personalising some of the pots with a little artwork and some herbs for a little extra sensory.

I think we are ready now to offer this service to others: individuals and businesses.

The second pilot I carried out was the Team Building sessions for business teams. A group of managers took part and afterwards gave some really helpful feedback and at least one suggestion that will be incorporated into the next one.

My next task is to sort out some of the insurances needed to start a business like TPZ. I want to employ at least one other to help with the administration for a few hours a week so that I can concentrate on the delivery and project co-ordination. Though the likelihood is that we will need at least another member of the team in the near future.

An Apple A Day Keeps The Dr Away

Is that true or just an old saying from 1866? I decided to take a look and see what the science says about the humble apple. I am very glad I did.

The first study I looked at found that about a dozen dried apple rings a day for 3 months dropped the women's bad cholesterol figures significantly. If you are not into dried apple rings, then 2 apples a day is about 12 rings. If you peel your apples before eating, it will still have this effect on your body because it isn't the fibre doing the job in this case but the polyphenols in the apple.

What are polyphenols? They are a heap of beneficial compounds found in many plant foods. We divide them into groups with scary names like polyphenolic amides, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Unless we are into the chemistry of these things, it is enough to know that science has discovered that polyphenols are powerful antioxidants. They improve heart health, blood pressure levels and can also help reduce inflammation and bad cholesterol.

I heard about another piece of research that showed apples and strawberries were 2 fruits that cut cancer growth levels. When we consider that cancer cells are in everyone, but they only grow into tumours in some people, eating foods that discourage growth sounds like a good thing to do. Although looking at this graph, some fruits are like water with not much visible difference in relation to cancer, it does not mean these fruits are useless. Different fruit and vegetables have strengths in different areas of human health.

As we can see, lemons and cranberries are even better, but which are we more likely to eat more of? I know I eat more strawberries and apples than I do cranberries and lemons. I have just put apples on my shopping list as I intend to go and eat a couple now.

Can Houseplants Help Us?

Some of us have not a single plant in our home or office and others have a large number and then there are those in between with only a few. There are many reasons that we have none, some or a heap, from children & pets to wanting to create an indoor jungle. I have half a green wall in my living room.

I want to discuss what science has found in relation to the mental health benefits and general wellbeing improvements that can be experienced through plants.

Anxiety & stress are talked about daily via TV & radio, social media and even between friends out for a walk. There are many studies showing that spending time in green spaces like parks and the countryside can reduce depression and mood disorders for adults.

However, it is not always easy to get to these places or even to feel we have the time available to spend there. In an ideal world, maybe everyone would have a garden, but the reality is that more people live in flats with no access to a garden, and more people live in built up urban areas than in the countryside.

Perhaps creating a little green area in the home or at work [or even better at both] could be the stepping stone to finding more time with nature. Scientists found that one way to encourage stress reduction and mental restoration was to have a view of vegetation.

Look at the before and after photos of Heather's work space. She has a green relaxing space that helps her and some of her colleagues take a bit of a mental break. Just by looking at the plants, it can help the brain relax and recuperate.

Having a nice meeting area also helps with people connecting. She has colleagues come to visit so they can see the plants and talk about them, which leads to stronger human and plant connections. All these aspects add layers to personal mental resilience.

In 2021, a study done in Italy with more than 3,000 residents found that the presence of indoor plants in pots was associated with a lower increase in anger, fear, irritability, and sleep disturbance during the lockdown.

We don't need to be in lockdown to feel these benefits.

Well time for me to prepare for the next stage in TPZ start-up. As always if you have a particular topic you would like featured drop me an email. Until the next one stay warm and be happy.

Sarina Kosewsky-Griffiths


Web page:




Daily Apple versus Dried Plum: Impact on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in

Postmenopausal Women – also the Dried apple graph

August 2012 Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 112(8):1158-68

DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.05.005

Which fruit fights cancer better: Also the fruit & cancer cell growth graph.

An Update of the Literature Supporting the Well-Being Benefits of Plants: A Review of the

Emotional and Mental Health Benefits of Plants. Charles Hall, Melinda Knuth Journal of

Environmental Horticulture (2019) 37 (1): 30–38.

Association between indoor-outdoor green features and psychological health during the

COVID-19 lockdown in Italy: A cross-sectional nationwide study.

Giuseppina Spano - Marina D’Este - Vincenzo Giannico - Mario Elia - Rosalinda Cassibba -

Raffaele Lafortezza - Giovanni Sanesi

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