Life

Why Relationships Are Just as Important to Your Health as Diet And Exercise

Food is Medicine…

Want to be healthy? Hit the gym. Eat nutritious foods. And … hang out with people.

The depth and breadth of your social connections will impact your health just as much as diet and exercise will.

According to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers, the size and quality of a person’s social ties affect specific health measures, such as abdominal obesity and hypertension, at different points in their lives.

For example, adolescents who are socially isolated face the same risk for developing inflammation as those who don’t exercise. Older adults are more at risk for developing hypertension from social isolation than from diabetes. Higher social strain slightly increased the odds of abdominal obesity and inflammation during early to mid-adulthood and carried an even higher risk of overall obesity among those who were slightly older.

See the full study here.

KSL also when in depth on this. While a nutrient-dense diet is important, a healthy diet is not a guarantee for health. In fact, putting too much emphasis on perfecting your diet may impede your health.

Americans rank No. 1 in the world for food worry. We have come to believe that how we eat is the bread and butter to our health. Yes, we should choose nourishing food that makes us feel good. But it’s not the most significant when it comes to our overall health and well-being.

There are many components to experiencing a healthy lifestyle that don’t include food at all. Research shows that stress management and social connections might matter more than what you eat. Here’s some of the components that affect your overall health.

1. Sleep is a vital aspect of health. Sleep deprivation leads to irritability, increased appetite, and a decreased metabolism. Don’t prioritize an early morning workout over a good night’s rest.

2. Stress is an inevitable part of life. When life gets too overwhelming find calming activities to manage your stress.

3. Connection: Although we live in a world that connects us more than ever before, we are lonelier than ever. Julianne Hold-Lunstad, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University, studied how loneliness and social isolation are connected. Her research found loneliness is a bigger risk factor than obesity and has the same mortality risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and alcoholism.

Schedule contact with friends, use social media purposefully, get to know your neighbors, and throwing a dinner party — because food creates connection.

 

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