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You can never be too rich or too thin, they say. Nor too hot. The quest for potions, foods, herbs or supplements to increase a sagging libido is never ending. Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects 30 million men in the US and half the male population between 40-70. The introduction of Viagra raised drugmaker Pfizer, Inc’s profits 38% on the strength of huge demand, and was followed by the introduction of Cialis and Levitra, each hoping for a share of the approximately 1.6 billion dollar US market.
And that’s just the guys. While those drugs don’t work on women (believe me, they’ve tried), that doesn’t mean everything is OK with the gals. According to a recent survey reported by sexologist Laura Berman, MD, 43% of women reported having some kind of sexual dissatisfaction, and 1/3 of them specifically reported low sexual desire.
What’s up with that? And can food help? Read on.
Back in the 70’s, there was a famous erotic entertainer named Seka. When asked to name the most erogenous zone in the body, she wisely answered “the area between the ears”. Fact is, flagging libido can have a lot more to do with the brain than with the areas down below. Stress, lack of energy, fatigue, depression, anger and worry are all sexual appetite killers, and few foods- even the erotic staples like oysters and chocolate- are going to make much of a dent if your mind is somewhere else. On the other hand, sometimes a lack of desire (or the ability to perform) for men or women has a physical base. As often or not, it’s a mix of both- desire plus the ability to do something about it.
To make sure the body is able (assuming the spirit is interested), we have to make sure circulation is A-OK. Best way to improve overall circulation? Exercise. Almost any kind will do- as long as your heart is pumping, blood is flushing through your organs and oxygen is cleaning out the cobwebs in the brain. Exercise also raises feel-good chemicals in the brain called catecholemines, making it far likely that you’ll feel amorous rather than exhausted. Certain yoga postures are said to be fantastic for before sex, notably a shoulder stand for men and the butterfly pose for women.
Then there are the sexy foods. Though the reputation of some of these foods is based on folk wisdom and tradition, there’s good science behind others. Here’s my top seven list of foods that may increase libido naturally:
Almonds (or nuts) contain important fatty acids that help the brain work better.
Avocado: Not only are they a sensual delight, but they contain important fatty acids that help the brain and the heart.
Celery: Guys take note: celery actually contains a small amount of androsterone, a male hormone released in sweat that’s been known to turn women on.
Chili Peppers: Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which can stimulate circulation.
Chocolate: It’s no accident that chocolate is the gift of love. It contains phenylethylalamine (PEA) a chemical that’s raised in the brain when you’re in love. (Note: according to Daniel Amen, MD, author of “Sex on the Brain”, cheese actually contains even more PEA than chocolate. It’s just not as romantic!)
Oysters: High in zinc, which is essential for male sexual functioning, oysters have been associated with sex since the days of Cassanova.
Figs: Figs are high in amino acids, and are believed to increase sexual stamina. Plus they’re sensual, juicy and sweet- perfect for “food foreplay”.
Nutmeg: According to Daniel Amen, MD, nutmeg is used in Indian medicine for enhancing desire. In one animal study, an extract of nutmeg had the same effect on mating behavior as Viagra.
High carbohydrate dishes like pasta are more likely to lead to snoozing than to romancing. Go with energy producing protein and vegetables, and leave the table just a bit hungry. Some foods, by sheer nature of their sensuality, can trigger thoughts of amour- think a juicy peach, for example, or even an avocado. Foods with luscious textures and tastes are always mood-enhancing. The sheer sensuality of eating them-especially with a partner over a romantic dinner- may lead to even more sensual delights later on.
To turn on the brain naturally, think of smells. Almond and coconut are always good bets, and make great scented candles. Lavendar has been shown to be one of the most universal turn-ons, as has- believe it or not- the smells of pumpkin pie and buttered popcorn for men, and baby powder and licorice candy for women.
Then there’s attraction- the ultimate aphrodisiac. It’s better than any supplement, food or potion. You can’t buy it, eat it or create it out of nothing, but if you have it- and the body’s capable- you’re in for a good time.
There’s no aphrodisiac on earth like romantic love.
Foods rich in omega-3’s (like cold water fish) are anti-inflammatory and help with circulation and blood pressure.
ED=ED.. fix the brain, fix the heart, fix the mood
Choclate, oysters, red wine, arginine.
Supplements like horny goat weed or maca may help some men
Avoid blood sugar crashes- protein and vegetables is more likely to make you amorous than a huge pasta meal..
Get your circulation working- fish oil, protein