How love makes you healthy
For all of us who are romantics at heart, February 14th is the one day of the year that allows us to really indulge in the soppy love antics that might otherwise be considered a little excessive any other day.
In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, there is a massive build-up of excitement and curiosity as we try to figure out just how we can prove the love we have for our partner in the form of gifts and romantic dates, and how they will do the same.
But the boxes of heart-shaped chocolates, bunches of red roses, beautiful candlelit meals and physical contact to show our affection that occurs perhaps a little more frequently than a random day in September, do more for us than put a smile on our face and make our insides feel warm and fuzzy. Love makes us healthy and here’s how:
There’s nothing quite like a good hug with a loved one, especially when the hormone that is released when you embrace someone you care about has great health benefits. A recent study undertaken by the Medical University of Vienna found that the release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland can lower stress, anxiety and blood pressure, as well as boost memory and promote overall wellbeing. Furthermore, the greater the level of trust present in the relationship, the higher the level of “the love hormone” found in the body, meaning the more positive effects on your health.
Similarly, locking lips with a loved one also increases the levels of oxytocin found in the body, and thus has the same health benefits as cuddling. But other research has shown that a kiss lowers the amount of cortisol found in the blood and in one’s saliva, indicating a reduction in stress levels and blood pressure.
Having someone you feel comfortable talking to about your feelings, your worries and hopes, means you have an outlet for your emotions, ultimately leading to reduced stress. Furthermore, being able to laugh with your partner has obvious health benefits, particularly through the release of endorphins.
A sexy escapade or two not only helps relax and de-stress (along with burning a few calories), but is reported to help boost your immune system and fight off germs - as long as your partner is not already sick. Sex also encourages the release of the hormone prolactin, which promotes a better night's sleep, and ultimately, higher energy levels and reduces pain.
Words by Courtney Deeth
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