Can an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Probably not, unless you’re sharing that apple with a loving partner in a lasting relationship.
As Harry Reis, PhD and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships put it in a recent interview with WebMD, “There is very nice evidence that people who participate in satisfying, long-term relationships fare better on a whole variety of health measures.”
An extensive review of recent Health and Relationship studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that people in long-lasting relationships, especially marriage, experience a number of health advantages that include the following:
Immune System Support
There may not be a cure for the common cold, but if you’re in a loving relationship, your chances of catching a cold or the flu are greatly reduced. Supporting the premise that positive emotions can boost the immune system and negative emotions can compromise its germ-fighting abilities, studies have shown that people in healthy relationships have fewer episodes of colds and flu than those who perceive themselves as alone and disconnected from others.
While diet, exercise and frequent walks can be good for your blood pressure, research shows that a walk down the aisle can work wonders. But not only happily married couples can benefit from lower blood pressure. Singles who are socially well connected also show significant benefits. Not surprisingly, unhappily married couples showed the greatest risk of heart attack or stroke, events closely linked to high blood pressure.
A happy relationship is good for the mind according to the Health and Human Services report. When it comes to fighting off and coping with anxiety and depression, both men and women benefit equally by finding and staying in happy long-term relationships. The likelihood of abusing drugs and alcohol also decreases in direct proportion to how strong the relationship is.
Better All-Around Health
Not surprisingly, a common theme in the Health and Human Services report is that people in happy relationships tend to have better health in general than those who feel alone and isolated. Statistically, they are less stressed out, heal from wounds faster, are better able to tolerate pain, have fewer debilitating accidents and, last but not least, tend to enjoy a longer and more fulfilling life, which means. . .
Fewer Trips To The Doctor’s Office
Given the ever escalating trend of health care costs, including co-pays for doctor visits and tests, healthy relationships can not only impact your health and well-being in a positive way, but your wallet as well. And with the high cost of transportation you can use the gas saved from not visiting the doctor to do more of the things you want to do, like taking frequent trips to your local farmer’s market, in which case it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a few apples.