The health benefits of eating outdoors

-Aug 7, Hannah Hargrave , Health -

Picnics are not only a fun way to dine out they’re good for your health too. To celebrate National Picnic Month this July we’re looking at the benefits of eating outdoors!

There’s way more to a picnic than cutely cut cucumber sandwiches and a neatly packed hamper  because the pros of al fresco dining are abundant. 

Eating outside brings with it a whole host of physical and mental health benefits which you may not have even considered.

So if ever you needed an excuse to pack up a picnic this summer, here are five for you.

Related: Going green – why spending time outside can add years to your life

It’s social 

Meal times should be social occasions but all too often breakfast, lunch or dinner becomes more about wolfing down your meal rather than appreciating who you’re eating it with. A picnic brings people together and encourages a relaxing and chat filled dining experience without the distraction of TV or the immediate washing up either! 

Sitting down – even if it’s on a picnic blanket – with your family and loved ones and sharing conversation and food can boost self esteem and even reduce anxiety. 

It boosts your vitamin D

You might not link lazing around in the sunshine, gorging on cheese and grapes to building strong bones, maintaining a healthy immune system and many other health benefits. But since vitamin D is made in the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight being outside while you’re eating can ensure you’re getting your daily dose.

While it’s important to protect your skin with sunscreen exposing your natural skin – without SPF – for ten minutes means you can benefit from the sunlight too.

Related: Are YOU at risk of severe vitamin D deficiency?

It reduces stress

If you’ve got young children then mealtimes can be manic and far from relaxing. In fact if you have teenagers, fussy eaters or you’re reeling from the woes of the day then dinner often isn’t exactly fun either. But there’s something about heading out for a picnic which makes it all just that bit more manageable. Ditching the formalities of a meal at the table once in a while can make for less stressful dining and since just being outside has been shown to reduce stress too, it seems like a picnic is a win win situation. 

It makes you more focused

Being outside can improve your concentration levels, your memory and your attention too so a brief lunchtime picnic could do wonders for your productivity at work. 

You don’t have to pack a lavish lunch spread to reap the rewards, just take time away from your desk and get outside for your sandwich or salad and see how much more focused you are when you get back to the office. 

It lowers risk of chronic diseases

Just 20-minutes outside can help lower the stress-hormone cortisol, high levels of which have been linked to health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and stroke too. So it’s well worth connecting with nature to reduce your cortisol levels and give your body and it’s future a healthy helping hand.

If you found this article interesting you might also like to read why Sunday family dinner is so important and learn how to walk your way to inner peace.

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