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07 Feb, 2022

The health benefits of eating with friends

Is there anything more rewarding than cooking up a wholesome, colourful, abundant feast from scratch and then ladening it all on a beautifully decorated table to share with your nearest and dearest? This scene epitomises entire nourishment: from the delicious food and from your friends.

Health

Here’s the thing, your social life could be equally as important as nutrition, hydration, exercise and sleep when it comes to considering your health and wellbeing. A study carried out in 2019 has proven that measuring a person’s social circle is actually a more accurate reflection of their well-being levels than a fitness tracker that measures your movement, heart rate and sleep data. And that those with close friendship bonds live longer and have better reproductive health.

We are all familiar with the comfort, connection and guidance we feel from surrounding ourselves with those that we feel closer to, which make us feel more prepared and supported in dealing with stress. But spending time with friends can also naturally boosts our oxytocin levels and endorphins, both natural pain-relievers for our body. In fact, endorphins are opioids and are chemically related to morphine, produced by the brain and give you an opiate high. And the more intimate we are, whether that be a more friendly gesture like sitting closer to someone, hugging, kissing or sex, the more those chemicals will be released.

Similarly, when we eat something we enjoy, this triggers endorphins, along with the release of dopamine. And in particular, spicy food, yoghurt, beans, eggs, almonds, probiotics and foods high in tryptophan are likely to mega-boost those mood-enhancing endorphins. Yes please.

So, if you’ve been feeling a little bit low and stressed recently, how about setting yourself up for life’s natural anti-depressant by bringing these two wonderful aspects of our lives together in time for Valentine’s Day and plan to cherish your friendships by preparing and sharing a meal you love with loved ones. Or even plan to prepare the meal together for some ultra-bonding? You’ll have those endorphins pumping for days.

With all that being said, let us share a recipe designed for the perfect friend feast, aka the recipe you need for a super-spike of happy hormones.

Lemon & cardamom dal with a cashew-chili topping

Lemon & cardamom dal with cashew & chilli topping

A delicious, warming dal with a bit of a kick. We recommend serving with lots of delicious garnishes such as coconut yoghurt, lime pickled onions, brown rice, some extra greens, alongside the green cashew topping for the ultimate feast and hormone boost. Find the recipe here.

Or if you need a helping hand, our Fridge Fill meals also double up as some great variable dinner party meal options. Take a look at our range here.