Did you know that oxytocin is considered the hormone of love?
Oxytocin, nicknamed by some experts as “the hormone of care and friendship”, is a hormone that helps us experience well-being, pleasure and affection, in addition to helping us with our mood and with relationships with others.
According to the American Psychological Association, oxytocin is released in response to a positive social connection and stressful conditions. Levels have been found to be higher when someone is under stress, such as when exposed to social isolation or when in an unhappy relationship.
We normally think of it as a female hormone, but do men also produce oxytocin?
Yes, although it was originally considered a hormone that was only found in women due to its link to labor and breastfeeding, it is now known to be present and important in both men and women. For example, it helps with male reproduction, as well as female reproduction, by supporting testosterone production in the testes and sperm motility.
Why is oxytocin called “the love drug”? It is responsible for many aspects of the social bond and sexual pleasure.
Situations that make us feel safe, happy, and connected tend to trigger the release of various “feel-good hormones,” such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.
Oxytocin also has similarities to endorphins (opiate chemicals) in that we release more to calm ourselves in response to sources of pain and stress.
How does oxytocin make you feel?
Various investigations indicate that the effects of oxytocin are basically the opposite of those related to our “fight or flight” response. Higher levels are related to feeling calmer and having a better ability to cope with stress, new research suggests that increased oxytocin can also increase feelings of generosity, forgiveness, trust, joy, and security.
What are its benefits?
It favors the construction of social relationships
Increases our ability to cope with stress
Abnormal oxytocin levels can lead to a person’s predisposition to depression or lack of empathy, in addition to affecting their social relationships.
How can I increase my oxytocin levels? Are there ways to naturally increase production?
Physical contact such as hugging, massage, intimacy, handshaking, and breastfeeding all cause the release of oxytocin.
Other ways to increase your production:
What foods help us increase oxytocin levels?
This hormone by itself is not found naturally in food, however, there are foods that stimulate its production.
Most of them are mainly herbs. Among them rosemary, parsley, thyme, peppermint or dill. However, these are consumed in very small amounts in our diet.
Chocolate is another example, due to its high magnesium content, which is responsible for more than 300 actions within our body, favors the production of oxytacin, this food has a great aphrodisiac power and contains exorphins, a type of natural painkiller that also contributes to a greater state of relaxation and well-being.
Foods rich in vitamin C, in addition to having a high content of antioxidants, which will function as a protective shield for our body against free radicals, will favor the production of oxytocin, which we can include in citrus fruits such as guava, mandarin, orange, kiwi, strawberry, grapefruit, etc.
Eating aphrodisiac foods, such as chocolate, shellfish, fish, avocado, and some spices like cinnamon, can also improve our mood and family connections, leading to increased release of love hormone.
Only 3 minutes is the time in which oxytocin is present in our body after its release, with which this wonderful hormone is capable of having lasting effects on these important aspects of life.