The Health Benefits of Hugging and why you should do more of it!

The Health Benefits of Hugging

It doesn’t matter who you’re hugging, a family member, a spouse or a friend, when you’re receiving or giving a big hug, it makes us feel warm and happy. Hugs have a way of making you feel loved and protected, but did you know there are lots of other health benefits to regular hugging? For these health benefits, the hug has to last for at least 20 seconds, and it has to be a full embrace.

Reduce Stress

We’ve previously covered the importance of stress and the warning signs of it, as well as some quick tips to relax and de-stress, but did you know that hugging can be a relatively quick and easy way to reduce your stress levels? When we hug someone, a hormone called oxytocin is released into our body. This hormone, also known as the “love hormone”, is often associated with new romantic relationships and is important for parents bonding with their new borns.

Improve your immune system

When you’re under a lot of stress, your immune system isn’t at its fighting best and you become more susceptible to common colds and viruses. Researchers know that hugs can play a role in reducing stress levels and they wanted to find out if that could, in turn, effect your immune system. 400+ adults took part in an experiment and those with more frequent hugs were less likely to get a common cold. The researchers even calculated that hugs were responsible for about a third of the protective effect!

It’s good for your heart

It’s incredibly important for you too look after your heart, we’ve covered this in several blog posts such as: naturally lowering your blood pressure, and what is cholesterol and how to lower yours. It turns out, hugging can be extremely beneficial for your heart health! When you hug someone there’s a release of hormones and your body reacts in lots of different ways to these hormones, one of which is a signal that gets sent to the vagus nerve in your brain. This nerve is responsible for a number of things, one of which is lowering blood pressure. Hugging also reduces the levels of cortisol (sometimes known as the stress hormone), which in turn will help reduce your blood pressure and ease the flow of blood around your body.

To sum up, hugging is great all round, it helps you relax, it’s great for fighting off colds, it can help lower your blood pressure and it’s a great way to get closer to the people around! The longer the hug the better, we’d suggest a good 20 second hug at least twice a day!

Alternative to a Full English Breakfast Recipe - Good Health Centre

Alternative Healthy Full English Breakfast Recipe

Let’s face it, everybody loves a full english breakfast, but it’s not the healthiest of meals. Josh, one of our Osteopaths, has a great alternative to a full english that’s healthy, guilt-free but still leaves you with that satisfied feeling!

Benefits of a Healthy Full English Breakfast

This breakfast is high in protein which is essential to help maintain and build muscle mass. It promotes weight loss, by filling you up quickly and helps stabilise blood sugar. Helping to reduce constipation this meal is full of Fibre, helping you matin a healthy bowel and control blood sugar levels. Selenium has been proven in some studies to help maintain a healthy thyroid function, this full English alternative is packed full of Selenium.

  • Calories: 647
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Protein: 43g
  • Fat: 51g
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes
  • Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • Portobello mushrooms – x4
  • Chipolata sausages – x4
  • Bacon lardons – 50g
  • Grated cheddar cheese – 50g
  • Eggs – 5
  • Asparagus tips – 100g
  • Butter – 10g
  • A sprinkling of salt
  • A dash of oil

For the Mushrooms

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Remove the stalk from the mushrooms, and fill with some bacon lardons, 1 chopped up sausage, and the cheese
  3. Place in a glass dish, drizzle with a little oil and cover with silver foil
  4. Cook for 25 minutes at 180 degrees

For the Sides

  1. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk until the whites and the yolk are combined
  2. Add a little milk into the eggs and whisk again until it’s all absorbed
  3. Heat a frying pan to low/medium heat and add the butter
  4. Once the pan is warm enough and the butter has melted, pour in the egg mixture
  5. Stir the eggs continuously to ensure they are light and fluffy
  6. In another frying pan, place the asparagus with a little butter and cook for 2-3 minutes, shaking regularly, season with a little salt.

This is great breakfast for a weekend morning, if you wanted to add some more flavour, try sprinkling some chilli powder or smoked paprika on into the egg mix for a bit of kick! High in Fibre, and protein and low in calories, this breakfast will set you up for the day!