Oxytocin is more than just “the love drug.” This hormone is known for making women forget all about their painful experience in childbirth, only to feel complete love and awe over their new bundle of joy.
We know oxytocin when released, will make us feel love, happiness or maybe more peaceful and relaxed. Oxytocin can be released more than just through childbirth. Oxytocin is a hormone, and scientists have discovered this hormone is incredibly beneficial to new mothers, helping to aide in the stress of a new baby. If a mother is able to breastfeed, scientists discovered oxytocin was released during lactation; but it is also released when moving our bodies, sexual pleasure and even social bonding.
So what is oxytocin? According to Cleveland clinic: “Oxytocin is a natural hormone that manages key aspects of the female and male reproductive systems, including human behavior. Your hypothalamus makes oxytocin and the posterior pituitary gland stores and releases it into your bloodstream.” To understand this information in it’s entirety, you need to know your hypothalamus is a part of your brain controlling blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature and digestion. Oxytocin is vital to our well being, acting as a messenger in your brain, aiding in human behaviors and social interactions such as recognition, trust, romantic attachment and parent-infant bonding.
Oxytocin contributes to our emotional well being, but can also be affected with stress. When you are stressed your cortisol levels go up and oxytocin levels go down. Managing your stress is a critical part of keeping your hormones healthy. According to Evolve :”Physical touch is one of the fastest ways to increase oxytocin levels, so go hug your favorite person right now. Relationship building can also assist oxytocin levels even by making eye contact or shaking hands. Fun fact, even playing and hugging your pet increases oxytocin levels! Exercise is a great way to keep stress down and oxytocin levels up. When you need a little boost in happiness try taking a walk outside where you can increase your heart rate and absorb some vitamin D! A healthy diet can go a long way in keeping you happy as well. Increase your intake of Vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin C to help in the production and function of oxytocin and other hormones.”
Lastly, the food and vitamins we put in our body can support the positive release of oxytocin.
Here are 5 foods to support our oxytocin hormone:
1- Fatty Fish
Here are 3 vitamins supporting our oxytocin:
1- Vitamin D
2- Vitamin C
When we are mindful of the nutrients we are giving our bodies each day, our body will want to work for us. So the next time you are with your friend, and feeling happy to see them remember social bonding creates the release of oxytocin. Give your friend a hug and get more oxytocin release. If you live in a state that is months of grey clouds it is even more critical you are taking your vitamins and minerals to help boost those oxytocin levels and fight seasonal depression and anxiety!
Oxytocin is a vital hormone in both men and women. We know this hormone can even effect our blood pressure, heart rate and more! This hormone is released when we are doing things that are good for the human body and brain. So get out there and hug family/friends more, socialize with people, scratch your pet, take a walk and eat foods that will support increasing the levels of oxytocin. If more people were mindful of this hormone and doing things to keep their brain and body happy, imagine the kind of world we could create.