Good’s nutrition columnist Ben Warren of BePure suggests ways we can support our relationship hormones
Words Ben Warren. Illustration Janelle Barone, Makers MGMT
I believe experiencing full relationships with the people around us is one life’s most fulfilling experiences. We all know how good it feels to be in the presence of vibrant, positive and happier people, it just seems to make us feel better too. So what’s the key to being one of these people?
It lies in our hormones and neurotransmitters. These are the chemical messengers that tell our cells what to do and everything that’s fun in your life is dependent on these, from cortisol for your daytime energy to sex hormones for a healthy libido.
Neurotransmitters and hormones are made from the foods we eat through a variety of metabolic processes. So the better the nutrition we are ingesting the more able our body is able to make these molecules and the better our experience of life and our relationships are.
Try the following diet and lifestyle tips to improve energy and hormone synthesis so you can get the maximum enjoyment from your relationships and life:
Eat a whole food diet
This will give our bodies the nutrients they need to make vital neurotransmitters and hormones and involves eating fresh, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and meats.
Support your adrenal glands
They are responsible for making daytime stress hormones but also the building blocks for other steroid hormones. Hormones share the same building blocks and if there aren’t enough to go around something has to miss out. That is often our sex hormones – our bodies prioritise survival over reproduction – and our intimate relationships can suffer as a result.
I like to take a two-pronged approach to supporting the adrenals. Firstly by reducing stress through techniques such as mindfulness and meditation and secondly, nutritionally by including plenty of supplemental vitamin C as the adrenal glands use a large amount in hormone synthesis. I also like to support the adrenal glands with adrenal glandular extracts, which help stimulate the gland and provides ‘plug-and-play’ peptides.
Improve your gut
any people don’t realise that the gut is where much of our neurotransmitter precursors are synthesised as well as a large part of our serotonin – our key feel-good hormone. Therefore, maintaining a healthy gut flora with a broad range of beneficial bacteria strains is key. Eating fermented foods such as yoghurt and kefir assists with this, while a whole food diet is the foundation to feeding the beneficial bacteria.
Take vitamin D
n some aspects of function vitamin D acts like a hormone – in a comprehensive meta-analysis study it was shown to have a similar effect on improving depression as medications. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a well-established condition that manifests in increased feelings of depression in winter from low vitamin D so taking a vitamin D supplement could improve how we feel.
This is a key component to balancing our day-time activities against the rebuilding processes our bodies go through at night. Melatonin, our sleepy-time hormone, is tied into our body’s exposure to sunlight and peaks in the early hours of the morning. Many people go to bed too late – after 10.30pm – and miss out on the highly restorative couple of hours of sleep when our melatonin levels are at their highest.
Ben Warren is a nutrition and holistic health expert. For more visit bepure.co.nz