Love will keep you healthy

2 minute read
2 Aug 2013
10:00 am

Love will keep you healthy

Professor Jacques Snyman, Clinical Advisor for Resolution Health Medical Scheme, explains that contrary to what the Bon Jovi classic says, love isn't like bad medicine at all.

1. Love may make you live longer

According to a study conducted by Brigham Young University, spending time with those you love has an extremely positive effect on health and can cut the risk of an early death in half. The study attributes a person’s lengthened lifespan to high self-esteem due to his or her partner’s positive feedback, which lowers the chances of depression.

In addition, the study also showed that people will often adopt safer behaviours when they are coupled up. For example, a person is less likely to risk their life with smoking, binge drinking, reckless driving or dangerous eating habits if a loved one is depending on them.

2. Love can help combat diseases

“A strong romantic support system protects the body from developing high levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone. This helps to protect from various diseases including cardiovascular diseases such as strokes, high blood pressure and ischaemic heart disease – three of the most deadly diseases,” says Professor Snyman.

3. Love boosts your immune system

Having love in your life might just save you from the flu. A recent study showed that a five-minute episode of feeling genuine care or compassion enhanced the whole immune system, causing a gradual increase in the release of immunoglobulin A (IgA), your body’s natural antibody against colds, flu and other invading germs.

Even watching movies about love, petting an animal and practicing selfless service for others has been shown to increase levels of IgA.

4. Love helps you look younger

That healthy glow from being in love isn’t a myth. Many studies indicate that people in happy relationships look physically younger than those who aren’t. “With the increasing blood flow to the skin, being in love can increase the supply of essential nutrients and oxygen to your skin cells, making you look healthier,” explains Professor Snyman.

5. Love can keep you slim

It is very common for people to lose weight when they start dating somebody. “Being in love causes your body to pump out a neurotransmitter called adrenaline, which acts as an appetite suppressant,” says Professor Snyman.

6. Love improves your mental wellbeing

We all know that being in love makes people feel overjoyed, but it’s not just in our heads. People in love generally have increased energy, which makes them excited to discover new adventures and different hobbies.

7. Love improves self-confidence

People in healthy relationships tend to be more confident in all areas of their life. It has been proven that getting married and staying married reduces depression in both men and women.

“Having a positive self-esteem comes from being validated and receiving affirmation that you have worth. With improved self-esteem, people in love are often more capable of achieving and maintaining their professional and personal goals in life,” says Professor Snyman.