You Are What You Eat: Smokin’ Hot Love

My ex husband smoked. I had never even dated anyone who had smoked before. Ultimate, it created a huge schism between us. He is now with someone who smokes too. I think their relationship works because when they get pissed, they go have a cig. JJ is the only other person I have ever had a relationship with who smoked. He held his friendship with his room mate up as a model for how to work issues out, told me how it just flowed naturally. What I saw is that they smoked together.

This is not to say that people who smoke can’t live with someone who doesn’t and vice versa. I do think that it makes it much easier if you can both understand the effects it has on you so that you can address them in a way that doesn’t strip the other person. Truthfully, I didn’t mind that JJ smoked. I decided that I just didn’t know what made him start. Genetics? Environment? Stress? I did know he should have only quite for himself, that it was his struggle, that he needed my support, not my critique.

From the Times of India: A new study has suggested that low dopamine levels that occur as a result of withdrawal from smoking actually promote the relapse to smoking. Indeed, dopamine is released during many rewarding experiences, including taking drugs, smoking, having sex, and eating food. Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, – neurotransmitters in the brain act in the love-struck phase when you lose your sleep and appetite and you begin to daydream. Norepinephrine causes the heart to pound and the palms to sweat while dopamine gives you pleasure. According to Dr Ashit Sheth, consultant psychiatrist and honorary professor of psychiatry, Bombay Hospital, “When you fall in love, the brain is aroused and there is an increase in the dopamine secretion, which motivates a person thus developing an attitude towards the partner.”

I’ve been researching these things for a few months and I have come across lots of different studies. The main things I have learned are these:

  • If a person is depressed or otherwise un-emotive, they are more likely to become smokers because nicotine artificially raises the levels of oxytocin, vasopressin, and dopamine, chemicals which help you relax and make you feel good. These are the same chemicals that are responsible for love, attachment, pleasure, lust and overall happiness. A brain on nicotine is the same as a brain in love.
  • Although cravings and other physical effects may be gone in weeks to months, it can take many months for your body to be able to readjust and begin producing those hormones at higher levels on it’s own. Particularly during the winter when your serotonin levels might be lower.
  • Nicotine changes the way your body uses and processes food. From WebMD – A Duke University study shows that fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods make cigarettes taste terrible. But meat, coffee, and alcoholic beverages make smoking much tastier, find Duke University psychologist F. Joseph McClernon, PhD, and colleagues.

Much like health disorders that effect your chemistry, foods can greatly help regulate your system when you are trying to quit or reduce smoking. Almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, pumpkin and sesame seeds and lima beans are good sources of dopamine. Maybe JJ and I should have cooked more together.

The Diet MOOD Relationship

Neurotransmitter Effect Nutrient Support Where to Get it
Dopamine Supports Alertness, Cognitive, Learning, Motivation, Memory and Mood Protein Organic Pasture-Fed Meats, Organic Soy, Lentils, Beans, Quinoa, Spinach
Norepinephrine Supports Mood and Concentration, Improves Moods, Relieves Stress Protein Organic Pasture-Fed Meats, Organic Soy, Lentils, Beans, Quinoa, Spinach
Serotonin Relieves Stress and Supports Relation and Calmness, Associated with Pleasure Carbohydrates Whole Wheat, Brown Rice, Fruits and Vegetables– Especially Plantains, Pineapple, Kiwi, Plums and Tomatoes

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