(Natural News) If you thought that kissing was nothing more than a sign of affection with little value beyond foreplay, you might be surprised to learn that it has several important health benefits. In addition to deepening your connection with your partner, it can trigger a number of physiological processes that can boost your immunity, and that’s just the beginning. With hatred around the world seemingly reaching a fever pitch, the news couldn’t come at a better time. Here is a look at how kissing can improve your health as well as your mood.
Did you know that the human mouth has more than 700 different types of bacteria? While this thought might actually deter you from kissing, the truth is that exchanging saliva with someone else introduces new bacteria to your body. If that still doesn’t sound very appealing, consider this: Scientists have discovered that higher bacterial diversity in the body, specifically microbiota, correlates with better health. One kiss might not be able to transform your microbiota entirely, but researchers have found that couples who kiss longer have similar microbiota, granting them the ability to fight off similar infections and to digest similar types of food. A study in the Netherlands found that a French kiss of just 10 seconds can exchange as many as 80 million bacteria between partners.
In a similar vein, Japanese allergist Dr. Hajime Kimata discovered that half an hour of kissing could reduce allergic reactions. After participants with skin and nasal allergies kissed for 30 minutes while soft romantic music played, their body’s production of IgE, the antibodies produced in response to an allergen, went down. It can also help lower blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels in your lips. When the blood gets directed away from the rest of your body toward your face, it can reduce the demand on your heart, thereby bringing blood pressure down.
Kissing also has a positive effect on anxiety. It reduces the stress hormone cortisol and boosts serotonin levels in the brain, which is a chemical that helps keep your mood in balance. It also releases oxytocin, which is sometimes referred to as the “love” hormone for its ability to induce a sense of bonding and calmness. In fact, its benefits are similar to those of meditation. If you’re having trouble relaxing, kissing can help impart that sense of calm you crave.
Kissing not only helps you feel good, but it can also help you look good by delaying the signs of aging in your face. Kissing boosts the flow of blood to your face, thereby stimulating collagen production. As we get older, this important skin component can break down, leading to wrinkles and other signs of aging. Moving your lips to kiss involves many of the muscles in your face, increasing your skin’s elasticity. This is also the idea behind the recent trend in “facercises” and face yoga, which are being touted by dermatologists as an alternative to getting a facelift.
Finally, kissing is good for your teeth. When you kiss, the flow of saliva in your mouth increases. This removes particles of food from your teeth and gums, washes bacteria off of your teeth, and reduces the buildup of plaque. In addition, some experts believe that the mineral ions found in saliva might help to repair tiny lesions in tooth enamel.
It might not be the answer to world peace, but kissing’s benefits beyond intimacy are clear, so share this information with your partner and take the opportunity to start locking lips more often!