Laughter Can Increase Your Appetite
According to ScienceDaily, a private research was conducted in the 1970s by Norman Cousin, a normal person who have experienced the benefits of laughter. He concluded that humor and happy laughter can improve health, and his conclusions are released in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr. Lee S. Berk from Loma Linda University, in collaboration with Dr. Stanley Tan are interested to follow up Cousin’s reaserch.
The result is, laughter is proved able to optimize the production of hormones in the endocrine system. The cortisol and epinephrine level are reduced, and this is what causes the stress is reduced as well. Laughter also can enhance the immune system to stimulate antibody production.
In the study they also introduce Laughercise, a series of laughter that is claimed to have an effect equivalent to mild exercise. In addition to improving mood and reducing stress hormones, Laughercise is able to enhance the immune system. The other effect is to reduce levels of bad cholesterol (HDL) and blood pressure and raise good cholesterol (LDL).
Affects Your Appetite
Recently, Berk re-examined the effects of laughter on the human body. This time he called on his colleague at Loma Linda University, Dr. Jerry Petrofsky. The goal is to see the impact of eustress (happy laughs) and distress (difficult feelings) on appetite.
In a three weeks study, they involved 14 volunteers. Randomly, participants were shown a 20 minute video with a one week pause duration to eliminate the effects of the previous video.
To create an effect of distress, Berk plays the first 20 minutes of footage from the film Saving Private Ryan. While for eustress, volunteers freely chose any humor video, with the same duration of 20 minutes.
Before and after watching the video, pressures and blood samples of volunteers were observed. Two hormones that influence appetite, namely leptin and ghrelin have been observed from the serum separated from blood samples.
From observation of the volunteers who watch distress videos, Berk did not find any change in blood pressure and hormone levels. While in the volunteers who watched eustress videos, blood pressure and hormone levels changed.
These changes are, leptin levels fall while ghrelin increases. According to Berk, the same effect was also obtained when people do a little exercise so-called beneficial to increase appetite.
Berk did not conclude that laughter can increase appetite. But according to this research, it opens the possibility to find solutions of troubleshooting appetite, especially for those who can not regularly exercise.
For example the elderly, depressed and lack of physical activity often resulted in a decrease in appetite. This often triggers chronic pain, and reduces general health condition.