Dr.’s Orders: Go To Church!

Does going to church leave you feeling relaxed, grounded, and generally happier? If you answered “Yes”, you’re not the only one. Check out this great story about the link between religious practice and good health!

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BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, M.D., AND MEHMET OZ, M.D.
The YOU Docs

Like all physicians, we’ve seen things we can’t explain. Every now and then, we spot new research showing that religious faith is good for more than your soul. We believe that somehow spiritual health improves physical well-being. When faith is strong, it seems to keep your heart, blood vessels, brain and immune system younger.

But talk about tough things to study!

Still, inventive scientists find ways (one of us, Dr. Oz, is a pioneer in this area). New research from Norway confirms a connection already seen in North America: The more often you attend religious services, the healthier your blood pressure is. That’s true for women and men. Supreme Beings don’t discriminate.

The chicken-and-egg question remains: Do people who frequently attend religious services already have low blood pressure? Or does having a strong, active faith somehow lower your blood pressure? Who knows. But the relationship is clearly there. People who are religiously active have healthier arteries.

There’s a lot of other intriguing evidence that faith is good for all of you. Attending services soothes stress, increases your connections to others, creates a sense of goodness in the world, makes you much less vulnerable to depression and helps you remember more.

Not that into religion? Keep smiling. The same large, long, ongoing Norwegian study (120,000 people, nearly 25 years) has also linked good humor with long life. You don’t have to be Jay Leno. Just keep that twinkle in your eye. Do you get more points if you laugh at the jokes in sermons? We haven’t studied that yet.

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