Hugs: An Ancient Superfood


Fun February Facts: Feb 3rd marks the approximate halfway point of winter (or summer in the Southern Hemisphere), in 1690 the colony of Massachusetts issued the first paper money in the Americas and in 1947 the lowest temperature in North America, −63.9 °C (−83.0 °F), was recorded in Snag, Yukon.

Ok, on to hugs…

Apologies to some but I’m not talking about Hershey’s Hugs. I’m talking about good old fashioned hugs. When we talk superfoods, we usually think of some exotic rainforest fruit that most our our ancestors never came close to eating or some leafy green vegetable that’s the newest rage. We’ve already talked about nourishing movement so why not keep expanding our horizons? Hugs. A food as we typically think of it? No. Nutritious? Absolutely. One of the most nourishing things we can experience. If you want to feed your body something healthy, look at the enrichment value of touch.

The Nutrition of Hugs

We often look at food for its nutritional value, its inherent benefits, or, how it feeds and nourishes our body. The more beneficial components a food provides the more nutrient dense we consider it to be. If it really provides a health value to the body, we call it a superfood. We are a culture obsessed with superfoods. What if we looked at other things in the same way? How does ________ nourish you? Food for the body/soul/mind. Nourishment for the greater human. What else in life is “nutritious”? What else feeds our human nature? What else is a “superfood?”

Sleep. Movement. Sunlight. The earth. Conversation. Laughter. Water. Touch. Love.

And potentionally the ultimate superfood: hugs.

Hugs have been around a long time and come in all shapes in sizes and can mean all sorts of things but what they all have in common is they enrich and nourish the body. The ability of touch to feed our mind, body and soul has been long known and the power of an embrace is even greater. People have been measuring the “benefits” of hugs scientifically for years and the real world benefits are undeniable. Here are some of the literally dozens of benefits to hugs…

The Benefits of Hugs

Activates the entire body

Enhances blood flow, particularly to the brain

Increases oxytocin (the bonding hormone that also reduces feelings of isolation)

Balances the nervous system (stimulates the parasympathetic and calms the sympathetic)

Enhances the immune system

Reduces blood pressure

Lowers heart rate

Relaxes muscles

Reduces fear and anxiety

Improves trust, communication and safety

Helps boost self esteem

Allows for energy exchange between people (both literal and figurative)

…and maybe most importantly it connects you to another human being and simply just makes you feel good.

Now get out there and hug somebody!

Thanks for reading, have a great day!


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