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TOGETHERNESS WITH FOOD DURING FESTIVITIES

There is a saying ‘The family that eats together stays together’. Families hardly eat together because of their busy schedules and hustles. Festivals are the perfect time to start eating together, develop positive family values, spend quality time and bring in the festivities with pomp and show.

1. Eating together builds a healthy relationship.

The food you eat affects your mood and clarifies your thinking. The wrong food you consume affects your overall health, body, and energy levels. In the same manner, positive mealtimes with family help overall well-being. A meal at the dinner table will not only give you time to reconnect with your family members, create stronger bonds, and provide emotional support, a sense of purpose, and a sense of togetherness. About 75% of the immune system lies in the gut. Also, important neurotransmitters such as 75% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine are produced in the gut, and they help with mood and the happiness quotient of a person. Secretion of both help regulates digestive function, appetite, and gut motility. Dopamine controls body movements and coordination and also influences mood. Food not only helps us connect but also enables happy, healthy relations, and staying connected with our loved ones. 

2. Eating together is a great stress buster.

Stress is part of all our lives today and that is why eating together and focusing on just being present at mealtimes can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the rest and digest mode of the body, activating the digestive system and gastric acid secretions. We are constantly in a flight or fight mode, which activates a sympathetic nervous system that helps one deal with stressful deadlines and get ready to get work done, so eating together can help improve the parasympathetic resilience of the nervous system and it is an effective way to combat stress. Eating food provides opportunities for families to learn to share responsibility, and chores, and share very relaxing times.

Curated by Naina Kumar

3. Eating together fuels our bodies and mind.

Eating well isn’t always just about the nutrients; it’s about how we eat too. The environment that we eat in, and the company we share, also have a huge effect on our health and well-being. It is about eating food with all senses in sync.  Food is so much more than just fuel. It helps nourish our bodies. It’s a fundamental part of our health, relationships, and culture. When we are around people we love, there is a release of the hormone oxytocin, which is also known to be a love hormone. It has a calming effect that helps you relax your stressed mind out, rises, induces relaxation, and boosts your mood. 

4. Eating together encourages mindful eating.

During festivals, we binge eat, and over indulge, which comes with consequences for the body and mental health. There are quick, easy recommendations to avoid such situations occurring. Practicing diaphragmatic breathing, slow deep diagrammatic breaths centering and soothing the nerves of the body and mind, helps, taking three deep breaths before eating a meal helps to connect with the food and their body and not get carried away with the temptation to overindulge in their food. When we eat together we have time to pause, make exciting conversations, and control over indulgence. Sharing food is the best way to practice mindful eating as we collectively celebrate the flavours and make memories around them.

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