PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day is celebrated with cards, flowers and romance. Without all the candy, love is also heart-healthy.
You know the song — all you need is love. Doctors say it might not be everything, but research shows people in supportive relationships live longer and healthier lives.
The power of love might be curious, but it can also save your life.
“This is good data to show that married couples actually do better in terms of their cardiovascular health,” Dr. Christine Jellis said. “I’m sure it’s that benefit of being each other’s cheerleaders and motivating each other to lead happy healthy lives. But I’m sure that also applies to other committed relationships whether that’s a deep friendship or a non-married relationship.”
Sharing meals is a big part of relationships. While healthy eating together is the upside, one study found two-thirds of couples enable unhealthy habits.
“We can influence each other, but in both good and bad ways,” Jellis said. “So, I think really carving out that relationship with someone that you can call them out if they’re pigging out on that bag of chips and drag them off the couch.”
Research shows married people have fewer doctor visits and shorter hospital stays and those in happy relationships had 20% lower odds of dying early.
“People can grow old together, sharing these special relationships, memories and doing things that will proactively help themselves,” Jellis said.
Yes, love is grand. But for single people, self-love — and as the doctor said, good friends — can be just as important and beneficial.