Festive Cheer, The Feel Good Factor From Sharing Food

Where do we find our festive cheer when travelling on business?  Far too often, business travel can involve meals eaten alone.

Communal eating increases our feeling of wellbeing and cheer and facilitates a kind of bonding around food. The congregation of people to share food is central to all festive celebrations and can be a great opportunity for a convivial business networking.

The Oxytocin Factor

Beautiful young woman wearing Santa's hat using laptopOxytocin is released by the pituitary gland.¬† It is heavily involved in reproduction and childbirth¬†but also plays a part in our feelings of appetite and pleasure. When oxytocin is released we feel cheered.¬† Certain stimuli are known to increase oxytocin production, such as being hugged or receiving a compliment from a friend. With food and eating the picture is more complicated¬†but likely to have a crucial impact. Eating treat foods, definitely chocolate, but possibly any ‚Äėnaughty but nice‚Äô treats, boosts our levels of oxytocin and gives a temporary feeling of cheer.

If we are eating alone, there is a strong chance that we regularly indulge in a bit of feel-good food. However, eating with companions, particularly those we like, is also a trigger for oxytocin production.

Convivial Dining Is Good For Business

However, by virtue of being away from home, more humble liaisons around food are possible. Breakfast meetings or even coffee away from the office could provide a slight mood boost which could make treat foods feel like an unnecessary indulgence. In addition, a bit of pleasant bonding over food could be an aide to a successful business trip.

Thanksgiving, Christmas. A gala dinner with family.The simple awareness that eating alone could make us vulnerable to a less healthy diet is important.  Enjoying the conviviality of the festive season could be a boost to our mental and physical health.

With the very best wishes for a season of festive cheer and a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

©  Extravitality 2017

Author: Carol Sadler PhD
Carol is a Nutrition Consultant. She counsels in diet and lifestyle change at Surrey Cardiovascular Clinic where clients have been referred by the clinic cardiologists. Prior to this Carol worked in private practice in Dubai for nine years, where she had various media engagements including Emirates Radio 2 Lifestyle Show monthly ‚Äėphone-in‚Äô on nutrition topics; Gulf News Friday Magazine (weekend supplement) monthly nutrition letter answered; City7 TV appearances on Breakfast Television and Lifestyle Show commenting on nutrition topics. Contributions to local magazines, and organizations, eg Rheumatoid Arthritis Group, Grazia Magazine, Living in the Gulf magazine. She continues to write nutrition articles and blogs, recently writing for Reader‚Äôs Digest, and HASTE Academy heart health charity and provides talks on diet issues. Carol is a member of The Nutrition Society, a Registered Nutritionist at the Association for Nutrition, Registration No. 912 and a member of SENSE (self employed consultant Nutritionists group for professional development).

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