How to show the love on Valentine’s Day without the sugar rush

This Valentine’s Day show your other half some love and you will also activate a cascade of feel-good hormones that can influence your wellbeing, writes Angela Attwood, Fertility Nutritionist at Bourn Hall, in this guest blog.

There are many hormones that influence the way we feel, but oxytocin and endorphins are perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Oxytocin is a hormone made in the brain by the hypothalamus and released into the blood by the pituitary. It has many functions and is often referred to as ‘the love hormone’ as it is suggested that it is released in response to being in love and is produced after sex. Research has suggested that it reduces stress and anxiety, pain and inflammation and induces feelings of well-being.

Endorphins are also produced in the brain in response to pain and pleasurable activities such as laughing, exercise, singing, dancing, sex and eating specific foods such as chocolate.

They too help to reduce stress and anxiety, increase pleasure and reduce inflammation which may support a healthy immune system.

So, this Valentine’s Day you have the perfect excuse to cuddle up to your partner, binge watch comedy on Netflix, sing, dance, go for a romantic walk and eat chocolate (but make sure it’s over 70% cocoa!).

Angela Attwood

At Bourn Hall we recognise that your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing all play an important role in boosting fertility and the success of treatments – take a look at more tips and advice on how to boost your health and fitness for fertility treatment.

Valentine’s Day usually means treating ourselves with food – these recipes will hit the spot without giving you a sugar overload!

Smoothie bowl

  • 100g mixed frozen berries
  • 100g frozen banana (1 small ripe banana)
  • 2-3tbsp unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla or plain protein powder (optional)

Add the frozen berries and banana to a blender and blend on low until small bits remain.

Add a little coconut or almond milk and protein powder (optional), and blend on low again, scraping down sides as needed, until the mixture reaches a soft serve consistency.

Scoop into serving bowl and create your topping!

Choose from shredded coconut, granola, seeds, nut butter, chopped nuts or additional fruit.

love on Valentine's Day, fertility nutrition

Brownie Bites

(Makes 25ish bite size brownies)

  • 240g tinned black beans
  • 3tbsp cacao powder
  • 40g oats (whizzed in blender)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil.
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g 70%+ choc chips or squares chopped into small pieces.
  • ½tsp baking powder & a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180°c (160°c fan oven).

Place everything, except the chocolate, in a blender and mix until smooth.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon into a 20 x 20 cm greaseproof lined tin.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until skewer comes out cleanly.

These will freeze for a couple of weeks if they last that long!

More information

A consultation with Angela Attwood, Bourn Hall’s Fertility Nutritionist, is now included within IVF treatment to help you get fertility fit and to promote wellbeing during treatment. Angela will provide a personalised plan for you both to follow.

For those at an earlier stage of their journey, nutrition and lifestyle advice is also included in the Fertility Health and Wellbeing package of fertility tests.

For some more tasty recipes from Angela take a look at these blogs: Festive recipes to enjoy + Antioxidants and fertility health

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