This is Your Brain on Love
Guest Post by Heather MacAyeal Hardy
It’s February! The shortest month of our calendar year and right in the middle is the 14th, Valentines Day when, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St.Valentine. The history of Valentine’s Day and its patron saint is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. We participate in Valentines Day customs with the hopes of feeling loved and loving another fully.
It is well documented in science that the state of being in love is in fact a genuine chemical process in the body! In brain scans of people “falling in love” compared with those in “mania” states, scientist see that the chemicals released at both these times are very similar. So there really is something to the sayings “crazy in love” and “mad about you”. But what are these love chemicals that make us feel so good and what can you do to maintain this great feeling all year round?
Oxytocin is considered the “love” hormone. It is a very important neurotransmitter (aka. brain chemical). This lovely hormone is what literally and biochemically bonds lover to lover.
We are all familiar with that feeling when your happy brain chemicals are in overdrive in a new relationship? Some say it can’t last forever, but what if it could… The Oxytocin hormone keeps couples bonded and strengthens the intimacy in relationships. This hormone must be fertilized (with organic fertilizer of course!). Yes, love is just like a garden. So how do you get some (Oxytocin that is)? Well, Oxytocin peaks after orgasm, HOWEVER, it is further enhanced when you cuddle and have physical touch with your lover! Positive interaction between couples on a day-to-day basis involving warm touch, massage and psychological support promotes those feel good brain chemicals. Lost that loving feeling (or that lover) no worries you can feel the love too. You don’t need a lover, studies have shown that Oxytocin increases from massage therapy and certain foods promote it as well! Especially for moms, Oxytocin peaks at birth in the mother. This may be why moms instantly fall madly in love with their baby. Gotta love those brain chemicals!
FEED YOURSELF TO FEEL THE LOVE: Foods that promote a variety of feel good brain chemicals (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin) include: Protein rich foods like eggs, chicken and beans. Also apples, bananas, beets, watermelon and wheat germ. To promote Dopamine include almonds, avocados, dairy products, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Dopamine is easily oxidized, which means you want to be sure to have a diet rich in foods that are full of ANTI-OXIDANTS such as fruits and vegetables. Which will help protect dopamine-using neurons from free radical damage also consider supplementing with vitamins C, vitamin E, and other antioxidants!
Avoid the SUGAR… Say it with me people SUGAR IS A NEUROTOXIN!
Nature has an amazing way of working doesn’t it?