The love hormone! February is the month of love and here at Little Cooks Co we are celebrating, not just romantic love, but the love we have for our little cooks and all the other people around us. “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth”. This quote from pioneering family therapist Virginia Satir is one of our favourites and the evidence for the health benefits of hugging if pretty compelling.

Hugging produces the ‘love hormone” oxytocin. The more hugs, the more oxytocin, but what does it actually do? Oxytocin is an important hormone in the body for happiness and stress reduction. It is produced in the brain and released into the body when certain triggers are met such as hugging, but also child birth and breastfeeding. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure, stress and anxiety as well us help us feel calm, safe and happy.

So go forth and hug!  

The food of love...

Another hormone that is important to our feelings of love and happiness is serotonin. Interestingly this hormone is nearly all produced in the gut rather than the brain! The gut is often referred to as ‘the second brain' and there’s good reason for that - the number of nerves in our gut outnumbers our spinal cords! There is evidence to show that the bacteria in our guts (known as our microbiome) play a crucial role in the production of serotonin, so keeping them happy will help keep us happy! And one of the best ways to do that is to eat fibre, which feeds our microbiomes:

  • Fruit such as berries, pears,  melon and oranges
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn
  • Peas, beans and pulses
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Potatoes with the skin
  • Wholegrain such as brown rice and oats
Seratonin is synthesised via the amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid is found in certain foods, and we’re not talking about, chocolate and oysters!
  • Eggs (particularly the yolks)
  • Cheese
  • Pineapples
  • Tofu
  • Salmon
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Oats
  • Milk
  • Banana

All of these are great sources of tryptophan and have been shown to help the body produce serotonin. Eating these foods can lower levels of depression, help our sleep and genuinely make us feel happier!  

Some happy heart jam tarts

We get a lot of love from baking with our little cooks, and we've created a lovely recipe that we hope will bring lots of joy to you too! It's full of fibre and tryptophan (obvs!) and is best enjoyed after a big cuddle. You can find the recipe here.  

Spreading the love

For those of you who receive Little Cooks Co boxes this is a good opportunity to mention our Refer a Friend Scheme. For every friend you refer you receive £10 credit and your friend receives a 50% discount off their first box. One of our amazing customers has referred over 40 friends and has £400 in her Little Cooks Co account! She tells us it's all her birthday gifts and party boxes sorted for aaaaages!! Head to the refer a friend page on our website and thank you to everyone who has been sharing the love so far!

February 08, 2020

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