Health | November 2023

The Power Of Communal Eating

Can Eating Together Make Us Healthier?

Communal eating is an ancient practice with a long history. From the neolithic times, when shared meals were a sign of abundance, to modern day get-togethers.

People continue to come together and feast over shared dishes. And family dinners are still central to most cultures, especially around special occasions and celebrations. 

But why do we still do this? And could a shared meal have significant health benefits well beyond the creation of bonds? 

Let’s take a look… 

The Social

Picture this: a table full of vibrant dishes, laughter echoing through the air, and the warmth of connection with those around you. 

Whatever communal eating looks like for you, it still is a social feast. Creating bonds which transcend the simple act of just consuming food.

In fact, studies show sharing meals fosters a sense of belonging and strengthens relationships. Whether it’s a weekly family dinner or a gathering with your best friends.

These shared moments over glasses of wine and bowls of pasta can give you the chance and space to communicate without distractions. 

Helping you create a wider support network and strengthen relations.

The Psychological

Food is not just fuel for the body, but also the mind

Communal eating has clear psychological benefits, influencing our mood and emotional well-being. 

A 2017 study from the University of Oxford revealed how social eating not only creates bonds within the community, but can also make you feel happier

You see, the act of sharing a meal triggers the release of oxytocin, the “love hormone”.

Reducing feelings of loneliness, promoting trust and connection. 

What’s more, the ritualistic nature of eating together can also soothe stress and provide you with a sense of stability.

The Physical 

Now, let’s talk about the body. 

Communal eating is also a feast for your physical health. When you share meals, you tend to opt for healthier choices and a variety of dishes, which often lead to a more balanced diet

What’s more, research suggests people who eat together consume more fresh fruit and vegetables. 

With shared, home-cooked meals being more dense in nutrients. Reducing your risk of obesity and disease. 

Beyond these nutritional benefits, the act of eating slowly and savouring the moment can also aid digestion and prevent overeating…

Contributing to healthy weight management.

But what’s even more impressive?

Recent studies have shown the positive effect communal eating has on cardiovascular health. 

As we already said, eating with loved ones boosts your ‘happy hormones’. This helps keep your heart strong and your blood pressure down. 

The Creative 

Having people over for a meal or even a snack board, can be a great excuse to try something new.

A chance to browse recipes, experiment with different cuisines, fresh tastes and textures. 

Trying new dishes can help you (and your guests) discover new favourites. While also reducing stress and helping you blow off some steam. 

From quick 10-minute stir-fries to slow-cooked stews and casseroles…

Whatever is your cup of tea, cooking for others will definitely boost your creativity too.

Not Just A Table

Communal eating not only brings us together, but it also nurtures your emotional and physical well-being. 

So whether it’s a weekly family dinner or a casual gathering… 

Remember – the magic of communal eating goes far beyond the meal itself. 

It’s a recipe for a healthier, happier you.