6 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Eating with Others
There’s nothing quite like gathering around the table with family and friends to enjoy a meal. It turns out that this simple act can do a lot of good for your health and wellbeing.
Studies have shown that eating together is associated with increased happiness and decreased stress levels. In addition, regular meals can help to strengthen relationships and foster a sense of community.
When it comes to physical health, eating together has been shown to improve nutrition and help to prevent obesity. And there’s something special about sitting down to a meal with family and friends.
Whether it’s a big holiday feast or a simple weeknight dinner, sharing a meal is a time-honored tradition in many cultures. Growing up in France, I remember sitting at the table with my family every day during lunch and dinner. School even gave us time off between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. to go home and have lunch with family. I keep this tradition as much as I can, as here in the U.S., things are a bit different.
Here are six scientifically proven ways that eating with others can benefit your health, both physically and emotionally.
- Eating with others can help control emotional eating.
If you’re the type of person who tends to emotional eat – that is, eat in response to stress or other negative emotions – dining with others can help you control those impulses.
One study found that women who ate meals with other people were less likely to emotional eat than those who ate alone. The presence of others seems to help people control their food intake and make healthier choices.
- Sharing meals can lead to better communication and stronger relationships.
When you sit down to a meal with someone, it’s a chance to connect with them – without distractions like work or screens. This face-to-face time can help build strong bonds and improve communication. In fact, one study found that couples who ate together at least once or twice per week were more likely to report satisfaction with their relationship than those who didn’t share meals.
So, if you’re looking to strengthen your relationships, eating together is a good place to start.
- Eating with others can promote healthy eating habits.
When you eat with others, you’re more likely to make healthier choices.
Studies have shown that people tend to eat more fruits and vegetables when they’re dining with others, and they’re also less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. The presence of others seems to encourage people to make healthier choices, so if you’re trying to eat better, eating with others is a great way to start.
- Sharing meals can help reduce stress and anxiety.
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, sitting down to a meal with someone can help you relax. One study found that people who ate with others had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who ate alone. So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce stress, sharing a meal with someone may be just what you need.
- Eating together can boost your mood and emotional well-being.
When you eat with others, it’s a chance to socialize and connect with loved ones. And this social interaction can have a positive effect on your mood and emotional well-being. One study found that people who ate meals with others showed a decrease in depression and anxiety than those who ate alone. So, if you’re feeling down, eating with others may help lift your spirits.
- Sharing meals can promote brain health.
Eating with others has also been linked to better brain health. One study found that older adults who ate with others had better cognitive function than those who ate alone. So, if you’re looking for ways to keep your mind sharp, eating with others may be a good option.