Why picnics are more than fun … they’re healthy too!

OK, when you think of picnics, what comes to mind?  Fun, adventure, fresh air, yummy food, family and friends, enjoying nature ….. maybe even the ants!  Now that we are past Memorial Day … it is officially summertime, and that means it’s picnic time!  Actually, June 18th has been designated International Picnic Day and has been recognized for over 200 years.  Whether we are avid picnickers or just on holiday weekends, picnics come in all shapes and sizes and they make us feel good!

One of the nice benefits of picnicking is that we tend to slow down our speed of eating. A new study shows that slower eating speed correlates with a reduced risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome.  What is Metabolic Syndrome?  Here is a quick refresher from my previous blog on the topic ….  it is a group of metabolic risk factors that are associated with markedly increased health problems and death.

The critieria for having Metabolic Syndrome (for people over 16 years old) must include at least 3 of these 5 things:

●  central obesity (fat around the mid-section)  –  for women this is defined as a waist circumference more than 35 inches and for men it is more than 40 inches …
●  elevated blood pressure of 130/85 or taking blood pressure medicine …
●  blood triglycerides level of 150 or more (done as a fasting blood test) …
●  low HDL (good cholesterol) level, or taking medicine for low HDL  …. For women this is defined as less than 50 and for men less than 40 …
●  fasting glucose (blood sugar) of 100 or more or taking medicine for high blood sugar.

OK, back to the study.   The researchers looked at eating speed for about 9,000 participants who were followed for a 3 year period.  They found that  the “fast eaters” were 30% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, and they also had increased waist circumference and decreased HDL (“good cholesterol”).

Another study showed that slow eating was associated with actually eating less calories, feeling less hungry and feeling more full.

If we put these two studies together, slow eating comfortably decreases actual calories eaten and decreases the development of metabolic syndrome.  That is a great health combo!  Whether “picnic time” or “anytime”, slow eating is good for us.  When we combine slow eating with wonderful healthy food choices, organic whenever possible, we can be amazed by the picnics we enjoy at our own kitchen tables!  Long sunny summer days are perfect for picnics.  Slow eating is perfect anytime!

Our Wild Oats bloggers are partners who love to share their passion and knowledge about better living! While we compensate them for being a part of this vibrant community, their views and opinions are their own and do not signify Wild Oats' opinions, endorsement or recommendations. Wild Oats reserves the right to moderate and remove comments that are off-topic or inappropriate, so please help us keep this community clean, fun and valuable!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Email Signup

Follow Us Online

Latest Posts

Our Bloggers