Five ways your family keep you healthy

12:00AM, Dec 3 2012

You might not always be as merry as the Brady Bunch, but your fam' can be surprisingly good for your health... Group hug, anyone?

They make you laugh
Whether your siblings have you in stitches, your dad's cracked a so-bad-it's-funny joke or your mum accidentally let one rip, laughing with — or, ahem, AT — your family will do wonders for that body of yours. Laughing reduces stress, protects your heart, boosts immunity and triggers the release of feel-good endorphins, so next time you’re about to roll your eyes, crack a smile instead!

They make you cry
Yep, even when your folks refuse to budge on a curfew Cinderella would baulk at, they're actually doing your health some good. Research has found that crying helps the body to detox* and those emotional tears of yours are actually releasing stress hormones.** No wonder most people say they feel better after a good cry!

FACT: Girls cry an average of almost three times a month, compared to just once a month for guys.***

They send you to bed...
...even when you don't want to go! Your folks know how important sleep is to a growing body so when they force you to get your ZZZs, they're actually helping boost your immunity, improve your brain function and increase your creativity (not to mention get radiant skin and fight off acne).

They're your go-to dinner companions
Yup, they're the dinner date that will never stand you up. The nightly ritual of sitting down and sharing a nutritious meal will set you up for a lifetime of healthy eating, not to mention give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs right now. So instead of turning your nose up at your mum's vegie casserole, be thankful for the health boost (and take your turn in the kitchen to shake the menu up).

They boost your immunity
Your four-legged family members, that is! Research shows that owning a pet can strengthen your immune system, lower your blood pressure and help fight depression and loneliness. Growing up with a cat or a dog can also mean you're less likely to have allergies later in life. (Plus they're always up for a mood-boosting cuddle!)





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