Love, With Benefits

I love, love. It has always been at the heart of many decisions, for most of my life.

You can love many things (I hope you do). Family, food, friends, animals, art, music, the rain. You generate a feeling of well-being when you allow yourself to ‘be’ and ‘feel’ love.

But why does LOVE feel so good?

According to a team of scientists led by Dr. Helen Fisher at Rutgers, romantic love can be broken down into three categories: lust, attraction, and attachment.

  1. Lust: Releases testosterone and estrogen, stimulating ‘sex’ hormones and attraction is intense and well quite frankly, ‘sexy’ and ‘powerful’.
  2. Attraction: Stimulates brain pathways that trigger the “reward” mechanism. This is the release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine – the hormones that give us those warm and fuzzy feelings.
  3. Attachment: Long term relationships, parent-child bonding, and other intimacies such as friendships, is where the brain releases oxytocin and vasopressin, “the cuddle hormone.” Attachment is a top common reason that the ‘Blue Zone’ communities have increased longevity, not only food and lifestyle but because of long term, meaningful friendships. If you blend the chemistry point of view with a life experience, they are feeling hugged all day long.

That’s the chemistry of LOVE but most of us know that LOVE just, well, feels good.

It has healthy effects on our bodies. No food or supplement can replace the ‘act’ of falling in love. But healthy foods, nutrients, and lifestyle can support your rich and long love life.

Everyone has their own journey of what “love” means to them and how it affects our relationships but please remember to start with loving yourself first. This act enables you to be able to love others more!

With love,

Sandra Millward, CNP, ROHP