By Presious Mills

One of the annual themes for the month of October is “Eating Better, Eating Together.” In our fast-paced lives the importance of eating better and eating together sometimes gets overlooked. Research shows that these two practices are connected to not only offering health benefits, but also helping relationships. As you celebrate this month’s theme, here are some reasons these two elements are important.

Eating better involves making conscious dietary choices to improve one’s health and well-being. According to Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. One advantage of eating healthy is its potential to ensure a balanced intake of essential vitamins and minerals. For example, fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals that boost immune function and protect against cellular damage.

Photo: Anna Tukhfatullina (Pexels)

Eating together is what nourishes the body and soul. It promotes social togetherness and mindful eating (i.e., being fully aware of what you’re eating in the moment). The Journal of Family Psychology says sharing meals encourages communication and fosters deeper connections, leading to better relationships. Communal dining encourages mindful eating and attentiveness to hunger cues like thinking to yourself, “I’m just about full now.”  When people dine together, they tend to eat more slowly and savor their food. Paying attention like this not only promotes healthier eating habits but also enhances the overall dining experience amongst individuals. Eating together can be a powerful way to fight mental health issues such as loneliness and depression. Sharing meals regularly reduces stress and improves overall mood.

Eating better and eating together is the key to healthy living. Combining these two practices enhances the benefits of each. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says group dining reinforces healthy eating habits through mutual motivation and accountability. Group dining also provides opportunities for culinary exploration, enabling the discovery of new, nutritious recipes and cuisines. Prioritizing nutritious foods in a communal setting nourishes both body and soul, enhancing health and harmony in our lives, according to Oxford University’s Nutrition Reviews. In a world dominated by fast food and digital distractions, these practices become not just actions but vital components of a fulfilling and thriving life!