Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and having a Valentine may do more than just boost your self- esteem – it may make you healthier! Research shows that married couples live an average of ﬁve years longer and have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic ailments than their single counterparts and that people in love typically have reduced stress, which can translate to a stronger immune system. It seems the chemicals produced by love (by our brains… get your minds out of the gutters) inﬂuence the beneﬁts of love.
Check out these stages of love that are good for your health:
FALLING IN LOVE
When we ﬁrst start falling in love, the symptoms include a racing heart, sweaty palms, and ﬂushed skin. It’s no coincidence that these symptoms typically occur when the body releases dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is well known for its ability to produce a feeling of happiness and bliss. Norepinephrine is responsible for producing the racing heart, excitement, and excess energy that can come with falling in love; its chemical composition is very similar to adrenaline. These two chemicals together produce the feeling of falling in love, but why does the brain trigger the production of these chemicals and what does this have to do with your heart’s health?
Beneﬁts for your Heart
Dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine make your heart beat faster and stronger. Spikes in these chemicals can train your heart to pump more eﬃciently. You can achieve this same eﬀect by taking an aerobics class, running on a treadmill, or any other kind of exercise, especially cardio workouts. (Want another great workout activity? Sex… it will not only burn calories and give you a good cardio workout, but it also increases the bond with your partner.)
Oxytocin is released during sex, and according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, it is “associated with the ability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships and healthy psychological boundaries with other people.” During sex, it begins an emotional bond with the other person, which means more sex (that includes orgasms) with your signiﬁcant other means a greater bond. Oxytocin isn’t just released during sex either. Simply giving someone you love a hug whether it’s your child, parent, spouse or even a pet can also trigger your body to release oxytocin.
Beneﬁts for your Heart
Research out of the University of North Carolina shows Oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, lowers blood pressure and even reduces stress hormones. Finally – proof that at the end of a stressful day, all you need is just a hug (or sex)!
LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS
Eventually, you and your partner may get married and have children of your own, travel the world together, maybe even grow old together. The ‘rose-colored glasses’ that come with new relationships will fade away and you will see your partner for who they really are. It’s at this point that you know if your relationship can make it for the duration until “death do you part”.
Beneﬁts for your Heart
A successful long-term relationship will jump-start your endorphins, creating a sense of well-being and security. And, of course, healthy sex life will continue to release Oxytocin which will provide feelings of satisfaction (hopefully) and attachment.
UNTIL DEATH DO US PART
Cardiologists such as Dr. Deepak Talreja say love can aﬀect a person’s health so much that when they lose a loved one they can literally die of a heart attack or a broken heart. Heart attacks occur usually due to a blocked artery, but heart attacks caused by a broken heart don’t have any blocked arteries and can even occur in a very healthy person.
MAKE EVERYDAY VALENTINES DAY!
While Valentine’s Day may advertise happy couples and make a single person feel like they have no place on the holiday, your heart doesn’t care what day of the year it is. Take this opportunity to love and take care of yourself. You have to love yourself before you can really love anyone else, and that kind of love comes from treating yourself well! Pamper yourself with our anti-wrinkle serum or treat yourself to a lavender oil bath with candles, a glass of wine, and a good book. Keep your health in tip-top condition by detoxing or boosting your immune system with our Immune Renew tablets.
Remember, the beneﬁts of love doesn’t just come from romantic relationships. Loving yourself has huge health beneﬁts when you take time to take care of you. A hug from mom and dad can reduce blood pressure. Holding your child’s hand can reduce stress and fear. Snuggling with your furry friend can reduce stress and your blood pressure.
Even love for your community can improve your health. Loving relationships can be found just about anywhere - in pets, hobbies, and even community service. There is no shortage of people in this world who need love, so begin by loving yourself then spread that love and see how it comes back to you. Your health will improve, your happiness will increase, and the world will become a better place.