The Stress Response and What Foods Lower It

The Stress Response and What Foods Lower It

The Stress Response and What Foods Lower It

How we react to the stress response is important. We all deal with stress differently. Some people can get over it quickly, while others take their time.

But why is that? Is there a way to help reduce anxiety? Does food play a role in this? Find out more by reading about it in our post.

What is Stress

Stress is your mental and physical reaction to pressure from a certain situation. But remember, not all of the stress response is bad.

Certain stress helps you and gives you the strength to do more. Negative or harmful stress is referred to as distress, and on the flip side, positive or good stress is referred to as eustress. 

The Stress Response 

The stress response begins in the brain, starting with the cerebral cortex, amygdala, and hypothalamus.

When someone comes into contact with a stressful situation, the cerebral cortex identifies it and sends the information to the amygdala.

The amygdala interprets the senses, and if it perceives it as dangerous, it sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. 

When someone experiences a stressful event, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus.

This area of the brain functions like a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that the person has the energy for fight or flight.

The hypothalamus controls such involuntary body functions as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, and the dilation or constriction of blood vessels and bronchioles in the lungs.

The autonomic nervous system has two components; 

  • Sympathetic nervous system: functions like a gas pedal in a car. It triggers the fight-or-flight response, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers.
  • Parasympathetic nervous system: acts like a brake. It promotes the “rest and digest” response that calms the body down after the danger has passed.

After the amygdala sends a distress signal, the hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system by sending signals through the autonomic nerves to the adrenal glands.

These glands respond by pumping the hormone epinephrine into the bloodstream. As epinephrine circulates through the body, it brings on a number of physiological changes. 

  • The heart beats faster than normal, pushing blood to the muscles, heart, and other vital organs. 
  • Pulse rate and blood pressure go up. 
  • The person starts to breathe more rapidly. Small airways in the lungs open wide. This way, the lungs can take in as much oxygen as possible with each breath. Extra oxygen is sent to the brain, increasing alertness. 
  • Sight, hearing, and other senses become sharper. 
  • Triggers the release of blood sugar (glucose) and fats from temporary storage sites in the body. These nutrients flood into the bloodstream, supplying energy to all parts of the body.

The Body’s Stress Response Process

All of these changes happen so quickly that you won’t be aware of them right away. The body’s wiring is so efficient that the amygdala and hypothalamus start this cascade even before the brain’s visual centers even have a chance to fully process what is happening.

That’s why people are able to jump out of the path of an oncoming car even before they think about what they are doing.

As the first surge of epinephrine subsides, the hypothalamus activates the second component of the stress response system, the HPA axis.

This process consists of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. The HPA axis relies on a series of hormonal signals to keep the sympathetic nervous system going [1].

If the brain continues to perceive something as dangerous, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which travels to the pituitary gland, triggering the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).

This hormone travels to the adrenal glands, prompting them to release cortisol. The body thus stays revved up and on high alert. When the threat passes, cortisol levels fall.

The parasympathetic nervous system, the brake, then dampens the stress response.

Cortisol is also responsible for:

  • Increased urea production, appetite suppression, suppression of the immune system, exacerbation of gastric irritation, an associated feeling of depression, and loss of control.

In addition to the HPA axis, some other hormones, such as Growth Hormone (GH) and thyroid hormones, also play a significant role in stress. 

  • Growth hormone is a peptide hormone released from the anterior pituitary gland. GH raises the concentration of glucose and free fatty acids.
  • Thyroid hormones, the Thyroid releases thyroxin and triiodothyronine. The main function of thyroid hormones is to increase the overall metabolic rate.

Thyroxin also increases heart rate and also the sensitivity of some tissues to catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine).

Negative Effects of Stress

When you are unable to efficiently cope with stress or if the stress persists over a long period of time, it leads to negative systemic effects. Stress affects the body in many ways.

Stress affects both physical as well as mental health.

Some of the prolonged effects may be individualized, but some of the effects are common to every individual.

Most of the effects are associated with increased concentrations of corticoids and adrenaline. Some major effects on the body’s systems are [2]:


Inconsistent eating habits, acid reflux, diarrhea, or constipation are the common symptoms seen in stressed persons. Chronic stress is also associated with obesity leading to many other negative effects.

Though there is no clear evidence that stressful life events promote the development of diabetes in children or in adults.

In addition to that, hormonal changes occurring during acute and chronic stress can also affect glucose homeostasis in both healthy people and those with diabetes.

Several studies have reported a negative effect of acute stress on the maintenance of blood glucose concentrations in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.


Both adrenaline and cortisol affect heart and blood pressure when active over long periods of time. Too much adrenaline makes blood pressure go up, which in turn affects the functioning of the heart since the heart has to pump harder and faster. 

This can produce coronary heart disease, strokes, and sudden cardiac arrest. Stress has been reported to be a predictor of incidents of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and hypertension.

Stress can cause increased oxygen demand on the body, spasms of the coronary blood vessels, and electrical instability in the heart’s conduction system. 

Chronic stress also leads to increased blood cholesterol levels 

The persistently high levels of cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood may cause atherosclerosis and sometimes may be a reason for a heart attack. 

Cortisol also plays a role in the accumulation of abdominal fat, leading to obesity. Occupational stress also has a significant influence on the onset of CHD.

Schnall PL, Landsbergis PA, Baker D (1994) Job strain and cardiovascular disease. Annu Rev Public Health 15: 381-411.

Eaker ED (1998) Psychosocial risk factors for coronary heart disease in women. Cardiol Clin 16: 103-111.

Torpy JM, Cassio L, Glass RM (2007) Chronic Stress and the Heart. JAMA 298: 1722.

Fumio K (2004) Job Stress and Stroke and Coronary Heart Disease. JMAJ 47: 222-226.


The persistent activation of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis in chronic stress response impairs the immune response leading to several types of infections.

Studies have shown that people under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. 

Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Skoner DP, Rabin BS, Gwaltney JM Jr (1997). Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold. JAMA 277: 1940-1944.

The high levels of stress hormones suppress the release of cytokines and chemicals secreted by Th cells. Cytokines regulate both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in the body.

Chronic stress may dysregulate cytokines that can lead to suppression of both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses, as well as systemic inflammation.

Proinflammatory cytokines produce symptoms of fatigue, malaise, diminished appetite, and listlessness, which are the symptoms usually associated with depression.

Segerstrom SC, Miller GE (2004) Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychol Bull 130: 601-630.

Neil S, Ironson G, Siegel SD (2008) Stress and Health: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants. Annu Rev Clin Psychol 1: 607-628.

In some cases, stress could also be a cause of cancer. The persistent activation of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis in the chronic stress response and in depression probably impairs the immune response.

It can also contribute to the development and progression of some types of cancer. Studies have indicated that stress can promote breast cancer cell colonization of bone.

Reiche EM, Nunes SO, Morimoto HK (2004) Stress, depression, the immune system, and cancer. Lancet Oncol 5: 617-625.


Since sex life depends on the fitness of both body and mind, chronic stress may decrease libido.

It may even cause erectile dysfunction or impotence in men. In the case of chronic stress, testosterone levels can drop to the extent that can interfere with spermatogenesis (sperm production).

In women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle. It can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful periods [3].

2 Foods That Decrease Stress

Many foods can help you with stress. The reason many foods decrease stress is that they usually help rev down the stress response. Many common foods will help you get through your stressful times.

Chronic stress leads to poor food choices that further increase inflammation. This is why it is important to eat healthily and dial down on nutrition. 


The main reason why oatmeal helps with stress and anxiety is that it boosts serotonin. Serotonin is a natural feel-good neurotransmitter. Oatmeal increases serotonin due to the fact that it is a good source of tryptophan.

Tryptophan is a precurses to serotonin, and studies are looking at whether levels of tryptophan have an impact on mood.

Oats are also a complex carb, high in fiber, and rich in vitamin B, magnesium, and potassium.

Those nutrients play a key role in blood sugar stabilization, mood, and energy. Fiber has been shown in some studies to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation.

Stable electrolyte levels help with heart function and blood pressure. 


Tea has been around for thousands of years. There is a wide assortment of teas, but specifically, black tea has been associated with calming and relaxing properties.

There are 2 major players when it comes to tea having these beneficial effects. L-theanine and catechins are responsible for the destressing functionality of tea [4]

L-theanine is an amino acid commonly found in tea and certain mushrooms. L-theanine facilitates relaxation by boosting GABA, serotonin, and dopamine.

It also reduces the amount of cortisol in your system.

What is really interesting is that l theanine increases alpha brain waves which are associated with wakeful relaxation while promoting attention and creativity. 

According to a study shown on WebMD, tea drinkers showed a drop in cortisol levels and decreased platelet aggregation after a stressful situation [5].

Catechins are naturally occurring phenols, also known as antioxidants. It helps combat oxidative stress. It has also been linked to the inhibition of corticosteroid-induced anxiety and stress [6]. 

Learn more about stress response by watching the full Episode 82 here 👇


0:00 Introduction
0:45 Cup of Nurses Introduction
2:28 Episode Introduction
2:45 The Stress Response
16:33 Negative effects of stress
16:46 Effects of Stress in Digestion
19:02 Effects of Stress in Circulation
20:49 Effects of Stress on Immunity
27:12 Effects of Stress in Reproduction
33:00 2 Foods that Decrease Stress
33:25 Foods that decrease stress: Oatmeal
35:23 Foods that decrease stress: Tea


EP 144: What to do After You Graduate Nursing School

EP 144: What to do After You Graduate Nursing School

Things to Know After Nursing School

Life after you graduate nursing school seems a bit overwhelming, but with proper guidance and helpful tips, you can manage it too.

Where do you want to work? What are the key takeaways from nursing school? What do you need before you step into the unit? It can be tricky to find the right opportunity.

To ensure you are happy with your first decision, take your time and explore the market to learn about the types of opportunities that will be best for your career goals.

Understanding Different Opportunities

Finding a hospital to work in after you graduate from nursing school is often the main goal of many nursing graduates to start their careers.

A common misconception for new graduates is that hospitals are the only options available to them. 

Healthcare settings can include:

  • Home care
  • Long term care
  • Clinics

Other career opportunities (non-bedside): Legal Nurse Consultant, Hospice Nurse, Public Health Nurse, Occupational Nurse, Dialysis Nurse, Nurse Educator 

Research the facility you will be applying for to learn more about the role you’re applying for. Answer the following questions:

  • What are the facility’s mission, vision, and values? 
  • Do you know what the facility’s designation is? 
  • What population do they serve? 
  • Do you know if they have been awarded or recognized?

Different Units – What Unit Do You Want to Work On?

  1. How would you describe yourself? 
    • Lead the team?
    • Do you love to collab?
    • Do you work best alone?
  2. What does your ideal workday look like? 
    • Consistent, likes to plan ahead?
    • Something new every day to keep you on your toes?
    • A mix of this and that?
  3. Who is your ideal patient?
    • Elderly, acutely ill, new mom and infant, children?
  4. When it comes to patients, the best way you can help is?
    • Training and educating other nurses
    • Face-to-face interactions

When you land your first job after you graduate from nursing school, it might be your ideal unit.

You can use this opportunity as a stepping stone to advance internally up the specialty ladder.

For example, starting in Med/Surg, then working up to PCCU, and then ICU. Other managers and supervisors can notice you and help you cross-train to their unit. 

Utilizing your Network and Resources 

Since you can’t rely on years of professional experience to land your new gig, using your network to get your foot in the door is your next best option.

After you graduate nursing school, many nursing schools also have a network to help with different employment available for you before deciding on your first job. While doing clinical rotations, you can also inquire about opportunities. 

Build your support network early on, as they can offer advice, guidance, and job leads. You can start by getting all your classmates and professors’ email addresses. 

Job fairs are another great way to look for opportunities. At a nursing job fair, you can meet with dozens of prospective employers in a single day instead of sending out stacks of resumes and waiting weeks for a response.

If you’re unfamiliar with which facilities are hiring, you can consider major job boards such as Indeed, Linkedin, and Hired. 

Tips on using jobs board effectively:

  • Make sure your Linkedin profile and resume are congruent. 
    • Adding new responsibilities and new volunteer opportunities you’ve taken
  • Be attentive to the language you’re using in your profile resume
    • Mirror the language of job listings that interest you in your profile and resume/
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out directly
    • Most job boards won’t list direct information to employers but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out with a follow-up email about your application. The human connection can be the deciding factor.

Clean Up your Social Media Account

Have appropriate profile photos on all accounts.

  • Edit the biographies, headings, and descriptions to reflect a professional manner.
  • Run a Google search on your first and last name. Make sure all photos are appropriate. 
  • Change your privacy settings to private if you do not want potential employers to view your social media profiles and photos. 

Preparing for Your Interviews

The purpose of the interview is to determine if they like you and whether you’re a good fit for their team. Nursing is a team effort.

They also want to see if you’re as good as you seem on paper and can help them reach their goals as an organization.

Tip: Treat the interview like a conversation where both candidate and employer have a shared goal of getting to know each other. 

You’ll be spending a lot of time at work, so make sure your core values align, and it’s an enjoyable work environment – not just tolerable. 

Prescreen phone interview for nurses – Usually the first step of the hiring process. The goal is to reduce the number of candidates and invite the best-fitting candidates for the next step. 

They’ll ask basic qualifying questions about:

  • Education
  • Employment status
  • Clinical experience
  • Goals

Tip: Know your availability, as the goal is to invite you for an in-person interview. Also, ask about the next steps, don’t get off the phone and wonder what’s next. 

The Interview 

This will be your first opportunity to meet the hiring manager or the unit. Ultimately, they are determining if they personally like you.

No one wants to work with a negative Nancy. This includes a number of things:

  • How they feel about you
  • How you’ll fit within their unit
  • Your level of enthusiasm
  • How your strengths can help them reach their goals

During this time, or maybe for the next interview, you will undergo a panel/peer interview which will include multiple people, usually from the unit, to help the hiring manager pick the best candidate.

We advise maintaining good eye contact with everyone, engaging in conversation with the entire group, sharing your personal stories, and smiling. 

Before the interview, make sure you understand yourself.

Your strengths and weaknesses, the experiences you’ve had in clinical settings. 

  1. What is your 5-year goal? 
  2. Teamwork: Talk about a conflict within your healthcare team. What was the conflict, and how did you handle it?
  3. Patient care: Tell me about a time when a patient’s family was dissatisfied with your care. How did you handle that situation? 
  4. Time management: Talk about a time you worked in a fast-paced setting. How do you prioritize tasks while maintaining excellent patient care?

Tip: Be a storyteller. Storytelling is powerful and memorable. Most importantly, it provides evidence to support the assertions made in your resume.

It gives the employer a glimpse at the type of nurse and human being you are.

What to Buy Before You Enter the Unit

  • Click pens
  • Penlight 
  • Nursing scissors
  • Good scrubs
  • Right shoes
  • Stethoscope

Giving End of Shift Report

An end-of-shift report is a detailed report of your patients and their overall care and medical status.

nd-of-shift reports include medical history, recent procedures, lab values, medications, head-to-toe assessment, pain management, and plan of care. 

Episode 115: Goes in-depth about the end of shift duties and gives a report

After you accept your position, remember that getting off orientation is not a race.

If you are hired with other new graduates, it is common to look at them and feel like you are competing in the race of who can be the best new grad nurse.

Who can take care of higher acuities quicker? Who will be let off orientation earlier? Your work culture can bolster this, especially if your manager starts making comments that make you feel like you’re behind. 

Tip: You must focus on your journey and fill in the gaps you need. It’s not about winning a race. 

Don’t forget about self-care days!

Treat yourself, take yourself out, get massages, and buy something nice.

Get those feel-good endorphins pumping. The Self-care culture is at an all-time high with talks about the pandemic and burnout.

Here are the things you need to know after nursing school. Click here for the full episode 👇👇👇


0:00 Introduction
0:57 Sponsor Ads
1:34 Cup of Nurses Introduction
3:51 Episode Introduction
6:39 Understanding different opportunities
11:35 What unit do you want to work on?
18:46 Utilizing your Network and Resources
23:29 Tips on using jobs board effectively
24:30 Clean up your own social media account
25:50 Preparing for your interviews
31:01 What to buy before you enter the unit
34:24 Giving end-of-shift report
37:01 Don’t forget about self-care days

EP 141: 4 Problems in Nursing

EP 141: 4 Problems in Nursing

EP 141: 4 Problems in Nursing

Problems in nursing have been there since the beginning, but not a lot has been changed or resolved.

Nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with over 4 million registered nurses nationwide. Yet it feels like nurses have no voice, no say in what goes on in healthcare.

The struggles nurses face seem to be a nationwide occurrence.

Nurses are plagued with the same revolving problems nationwide. Management in nursing seems to be driven by politics.

The idea of healthcare is centered around patient care. It looks more like hospitals are centered around money.

Top 4 Issues in Nursing We Are Facing

Slowly nursing and healthcare are becoming more of a business. Patient ratios, nurse retention and recruitment, burnout, and patient satisfaction are the current nationwide issues that nurse managers are facing.

Here are some of the problems in nursing we face:

Patient ratios are among the problems in nursing

Currently, California is leading with the best and most complete nursing union. The whole state is union-based, meaning that every hospital in the state is required to have a nursing union.

Some people are anti-union, and it is understandable why but as nurses who have worked in both union and non-union hospitals, we see some major differences.  The main difference is patient ratios.

California has the best nurse-to-patient ratios because its nursing union sets strict guidelines on how many patients a nurse has.

It also states that based on a certain level of acuity, a patient might need closer monitoring. These guidelines are clear-cut and strictly adhered to. 

When there are good patient ratios, this increases nurse satisfaction. It is hard to understand that nurse managers don’t seem to address this issue.

If you were to ask nurses what would make their job less stressful and empowering, they would all say better staffing ratios. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it is a common problem in nursing.

With appropriate nurse ratios, care would be more personal to the patient and patient-centered.

Let’s face the facts, nurses are overworked, and the amount of tasks they have to do decreases the nurse-patient experience.

This means nurses have less time to get to know the patient, and the concept of holistic care fades because we only have time to treat the body, leaving out the mind and the soul. 

Nurse Retention and Recruitment

Another problem in nursing that we face is nurse retention and recruitment. Retention and recruitment are something managers struggle with all the time.

Especially during a pandemic with increased demand for nurses finding and keeping them is tough. If your hospital was already short prior to the pandemic, it is most likely in an even worse state.

Trying to keep a nurse is always a struggle because there is endless opportunity for the nurse.

They don’t have to be tied down long-term to one area because almost every staff position has openings, meaning nurses can almost come and go as they please. 

The struggle with nurse retention is related to job satisfaction. Nurses don’t just leave because they feel like it. There is a reason for them wanting to work somewhere else.

Job satisfaction seems to be the biggest motivator for a change in employment. This means that nurses are unhappy. It can be due to many things, such as unit politics, working conditions, stress, workload, and pay.

There shouldn’t be a surprise that nurses are leaving a unit to pursue travel jobs. They pay more, allow you to travel, and explore different units.

If you can’t pay your nurses fairly, don’t expect them to pass up opportunities. 

Tough on Managers

Recruitment is also tough on managers. Finding nurses to hire in your unit is a mission in itself. New grad nurses are easier to hire but usually more expensive and use up more resources upfront because they are fresh out of school and need a lot of training.

New nurses are an investment. Nurses from other positions need to be sold on the new job because they don’t want to leave their current job and get stuck with a worse one.

Higher pay and a better working environment are the best way to maintain nurse retention and increase recruitment.

It may seem impossible to provide those, but as we’ve seen during the pandemic, there is money for nurses in healthcare.

Burnout is one of the most common problems in nursing

Another problem in nursing that plagues nurse managers is the burnout of their nurses. Being burnt out leads to less productivity and a weaker work environment.

There are two culprits to nurse burnout, one is related to the work environment, and the second is related to overtime,

Stressful work environment

Nurses get burnt out because of poor work environments. This means an environment where the nurse is overworked mentally or physically.

Unit politics plays a big part in this because no one wants to work at a job where there is constant negativity.

Nurses talk about other nurses, day shift vs. night shift mentality, and a lack of teamwork deafly to a unit. It is important to foster cohesiveness in the unit to promote a better work experience.

A lot of this also has to do with ratios and proper staffing. It is hard to be happy in a career where the expectation is to always do more because there is a lack of support. 

Too much overtime

Some nurses work a ton of overtime. For whatever reason, a lot of nurses pick up too much overtime.

This leads straight into burnout because, many times, the reason why nurses pick up is to help their coworkers due to staffing issues.

It’s great to help out your peers, but there comes the point where you start to forget to help yourself. You lose touch with yourself and your emotions, get stuck in a fog, and slowly fade from your true self.

You start feeling tired every day, and in a slump you cannot get out of; that’s how burnout feels.

Nurses also pick up overtime for financial benefit because they can earn more. This can be due to college debt that many nurses suffer through.

Making more money is always good, but money isn’t always the root of happiness.

Many nurses that pick up overtime to make more money don’t even enjoy that money because they don’t even put aside the time to spend it on themselves and take care of themselves.

It’s just more numbers in the bank. And it’s a growing problem in nursing that we all face. 

Patient Satisfaction

We hear about patient satisfaction scores during our huddles and monthly meetings. Are we hitting the quota for the month?

The medical industry puts continuous emphasis and patient satisfaction and positive care experience.  Nurses have proven essential for driving patient satisfaction.

It’s ironic because if you’d like to increase patient experience, we would need more time to deliver holistic care, which does not happen in our current healthcare system.

Making time for patients, listening, and having empathy take time; our time is only so finite in work. Nurses are currently busy charting on the cash registers instead of giving empathy to patients. 

Topics covered in HCAHPS Survey:

  • Nurse Communication
  • Doctor Communication 
  • Responsiveness of Hospital Staff 
  • Pain Management
  • Communication About Medicines 
  • Discharge Information 
  • Cleanliness of Hospital Environment
  • The Quietness of the Hospital Environment

What are these nursing issues we face? How can we solve the problems in nursing? Watch the full episode here 👇👇


0:00 Introduction
0:49 Sponsor Ads
2:34 Episode Introduction
2:58 Issues in Nursing We are Facing
6:48 Patient Ratios
11:17 Nurse Retention and Recruitment
20:00 Burnout
20:24 Stressful Work Environment
23:16 Too Much Overtime
27:24 Patient Satisfaction
28:02 Topics covered in HCAHPS Survey

EP 139: The Funny Side of Nursing with Jessica Sites

EP 139: The Funny Side of Nursing with Jessica Sites

EP 139: Nursing with Jessica Sites

The nursing world is a place of wonder and awe in terms of caring for patients. We meet all kinds of people, young and old.

We also help bring them into this world. This week, another wonderful guest in the podcast, Nurse Jessica Sites, joined us.

Jessica Sites has been a labor and delivery nurse for over 20 years, social media personality, and a voice for the nursing community.

We talk about the impact of poor management on nursing and how healthcare has changed over the years.

  1. How did you start off as a nurse? What was your calling?
  2. How was your time as Labor and Delivery nurse?
  3. What are some day-to-day things you do in labor and delivery?
  4. What was one challenging day or night or a memorable experience on the unit that you can remember?  
  5. Share the toughest part about being a labor and delivery nurse
  6. How was the unit culture?
  7. What made you leave the profession?

Want to know what nurses find funny? Click here for the full episode 👇👇👇


0:00 Cup of Nurses Introduction
1:53 Episode Introduction
2:24 Jessica’s Nursing Background
8:30 Day Flow of a Labor & Delivery Nurse
12:30 What are the difficulties in L&D?
17:56 What are the nurse personalities in L&D?
19:35 What part of L&D Struggles you the most?
47:54 Advise to Nursing Students
50:48 What made you leave the bedside?
55:43 What are your future goals?
1:04:00 Where to find Jessica Sites?

No Nut November

No Nut November

Benefits of Sex

In this episode, we will talk about no nut November and if it is something we should practice. We’re all adults here, so we can admit that sex is great. It’s something that everyone has the urge to do, it’s programmed in nature, and it’s in our genes to procreate. It’s something that we do to keep our species going.

Sex During the Pandemic

We took a look at how the pandemic has impacted no nut November and sex worldwide. When the pandemic hit, it forced many businesses to close; many of those businesses were where people went to socialize, so one can hypothesize that there would be a decline in sex [1]

We looked at a meta-analysis that included a review of 34 articles from 18 countries, and their finding was quite stunning.

  • About 43% of people had a worsening or a decline in sexual intercourse.
  • A 28% increase in solo masturbation has been reported.
  • Increase in desire but no increase in sexual intercourse.
  • 32% of people that had planned on having children abandoned the idea. 

We also took at birth trends from March 2019 to 2020, and there was a decline of 0.91%, about 1.5 million less than the prior year. It makes sense because people were not sure about the effects of Covid-19 on newborns and pregnant women [2]. 

The Health Benefits of Sex

According to the American Sexual Health Association, being sexually healthy means :

  • Understanding that sexuality is a natural part of life involves more than sexual behavior.
  • It is being able to experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when desired.
  • It is about being to communicate about sexual health with others, including sexual partners and healthcare providers.
  • Having access to sexual health information, education, and care.

1. Headache relief

One observational study looked at 800 migraine patients and 200 cluster headache patients, asking for experience with sexual activity during a headache attack [3].

  • In total, 38% of the migraine patients and 48% of the patients with cluster headaches responded. In migraine, 34% of the patients had experienced sexual activity during an attack. Out of these patients, 60% reported an improvement in their migraine attacks.
  • In cluster headache, 31% of the patients had experienced sexual activity during an attack. Out of these patients, 37% reported an improvement in their cluster headache attack. 91% of them reported moderate to complete relief.
  • Researchers concluded that sexual activity could lead to partial or complete relief in some migraine. It can also help a few cluster headache patients.

2. Good cardiovascular exercise

The objective of this study was to determine energy expenditure in kilocalories (kcal) during sexual activity in young, healthy couples in their natural environment.

  • The energy expenditure and intensity during the 30 min exercise session in men were 276 kCal or 9.2 kCal/min and 8.5 METS, respectively, and in women, 213 kCal or 7.1 kCal/min 8.4 METS, respectively.

Just like any physical activity, healthy sex is good for your heart. A study published in January 2015 in the American Journal of Cardiology found that men who had sex twice weekly or more had less risk of cardiovascular diseases, like stroke or heart attack than those who had sex once a month or less [4].

3. Helps with menstrual cramps

One study took a look at if there is any benefit of sex for menstruating women.

  • We hypothesized that pain relief evoked by viewing pictures of a romantic partner would be associated with neural activations in reward-processing centers. This functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study examined fifteen individuals in the first nine months of a new, romantic relationship.
  • Greater analgesia while viewing pictures of a person’s romantic partner was associated with increased activity in several reward-processing regions, including the caudate head, nucleus accumbens, lateral orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – areas not associated with distraction-induced analgesia. The results suggest that the activation of neural reward systems via non-pharmacologic means can reduce the experience of pain [5].

4. It makes you happy 

One study we looked at examined how long does the post-sex glow last.

  • We explored how long sexual satisfaction would remain elevated following sex and predicted that stronger sexual afterglow would characterize more satisfying partnerships.
  • 214 couples were surveyed
  • Spouses reported their daily sexual activity and sexual satisfaction for 14 days and their marital satisfaction at baseline and 4 or 6 months later. Results demonstrated that sexual pleasure remained elevated approximately 48 hr after sex, and spouses experiencing a stronger afterglow reported higher levels of marital satisfaction both at baseline and over time [6].

Effects of Porn

It has been reported that porn addiction has risen here in the US. The internet is vastly used. The ease of access to any search puts almost no limitation on what you can view. Porn addiction has become natural for 5-8% of men. 

What is Porn Addiction?

Thanks to the internet, everyone has access to porn sites these days. If you are addicted to porn or have a developing porn addiction, you should watch out for the warning signs and seek help before it’s too late [7].

  • People addicted to porn spend at least 11 to 12 hours per week viewing porn.
  • Most people who have a porn addiction say that porn hurts their relationships.
  • Many conditions co-occur with porn addiction, including anxiety, depression, sex addiction, social anxiety, and substance use disorders.
  • The prognosis for porn addiction is good with cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling.

Effects of Porn Addiction

The purpose of one study was to examine the relationship between men’s pornography use. It also shows their frequency and problematic use. This study also showed the effects on their heterosexual female partners. It includes the psychological and relational well-being among 308 young adult college women.
Results showed that women with male partners who view porn often have a negative impact on their relationships. It has affected their self-esteem, relationship quality, and sexual satisfaction.
Additionally, a woman’s self-esteem and their partner’s problematic porn use affect the quality relationship [8].

Have you participated in the No Nut November? Watch here for more 👇👇👇


0:00 Cup of Nurses Intro
1:45 Episode Introduction
4:00 Sex During the Pandemic
8:03 Health Benefits of Sex
10:24 Headache Relief
13:49 Good Cardiovascular Exercise
15:40 Helps With Menstrual Cramps
17:23 Makes you happy
20:57 What is Porn Addiction
25:15 Effects of Addiction