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Sexual health

 

Sexual health

There are many natural foods, herbs and spices that can provide the same effects as the ‘Viagra’ drug, used to cure impotence, but without the side-effects suffered by some people such as diarrhoea, dizziness, headaches and stomach aches. Viagra can also lead to blindness especially in individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. It should not be taken with alcohol or recreational drugs as this can increase the risk of the above side-effects.

Factors that can reduce the sex drive

  • Alcohol, so often used to relax, actually has a debilitating effect on the sex drive of both males and females.

  • Anxiety and depression.

  • Consuming too much sugar may lower the ability to produce the hormone endorphins in human which can lead to bad moods and depression and will greatly decrease the sex drive.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Menopause and andropause are the female and male change of life that upsets the hormone balance and can reduce the sex drive.

  • Stress uses up many nutrients such as the B vitamins and minerals leading to deficiencies that can then lead to a loss of the sex drive and energy.

Nutritional factors are important to consider when trying to improve the libido, mood and sex drive. Consuming fast foods with little nutritional value and over processed and refined foods with additives can have an adverse effect upon the hormones and the mood which will contribute to a low libido. Adding some natural whole foods and spices and herbs to the daily diet can have a powerful effect that will improve your sex life very quickly.

 

Spice up your sex life

  • Cardamom: Regarded as a potent spice for treating impotence, cardamom has long been used as a powerful aphrodisiac. It contains high concentrations of 1,8-cineole,a compound that increases blood flow and releases muscular tension.

  • Chilli peppers: Capsaicin is the bioactive ingredient in chilli peppers that can relax arteries and facilitate better blood flow to the muscles, heart and other organs, including the sexual organs. It can also improve physical performance and reduce fatigue.

  • Cloves, cinnamon and cumin: Powdered cloves with a little cinnamon and cumin can be sprinkled into meals and will act as a powerful aphrodisiac.

  • Coriander seeds: are the one of the oldest herbs and spices on record and have been found in ruins dating back to 5000 B.C. As an aphrodisiac, coriander is famous from its mention in the “Arabian Nights” where it was used in a concoction to cure a merchant of impotence. It is also mentioned in the bible comparing it to ‘manna from heaven’ and the Greeks and Romans used coriander in their love potions. The coriander leaves also contain compounds capable of increasing the libido.

  • Fenugreek: The fresh or dried leaves and the seeds contain compounds that can help to intensify sexual arousal and orgasm and improve the sex drive and energy levels.

  • Garlic is rich in allicin that helps boost the blood flow to the brain and the body, including the sexual organs. Garlic is very effective at boosting the libido in both men and women. Because allicin is only produced when garlic is damaged, it should be chopped and left to stand for 10 minutes before cooking and consuming.

  • Ginger thins the blood and reduces blood pressure as effectively as aspirin without damaging the stomach lining. This can help to improve blood flow to the pelvic region and enhance arousal.

  • Nutmeg can effectively stimulate the brain, reduce anxiety, depression and stress and eliminate fatigue which can help to improve the libido.

  • Turmeric has been found to increase the expression of glutathione and protect neurons exposed to oxidant stress. Low levels of glutathione can lead to depression and other neurological disorders and low sex drive.

  • Vanilla: In the 18th century, vanilla was prescribed by doctors to increase male potency and its aroma and taste has been tested and it was found that it did increase sexual arousal in men.

Natural foods that improve the mood, energy levels and sexual function

Algae and seaweed provide many of the elements that are lacking in today's intense farmed land-based food crops. Many of these minerals are required for fertility and mental health as well as hormonal balance and sexual health. Rubidium is one example as it enhances the production of many hormones and various other enzymes. The working of the pituitary gland, as well as the salivary and lachrymal glands, is encouraged with the presence of rubidium. It is also useful in the synthesis of serotonin and ensures presence of enough serotonin in the body which alleviates depression and mental imbalances and, in turn, can enhance the libido. Magnesium is another often lacking in the modern diet and so the consumption of a small amount of algae or seaweed per week can help to reinstate these important mineral levels. Algae and seaweed can be purchased in dried flake form and this can be sprinkled on to salads, fish and vegetable or egg dishes a few times a week to help improve the sex drive.

Anchovies are a rich source of omega-3, protein and other nutrients required for the manufacture of sex hormones in the body. They are also one of the rare foods to contain the omega-7 fatty acid, known as palmitoleic acid, which has additional benefits as it can lower blood pressure and help to prevent vaginal dryness.

Angelica calms the central nervous system and nourishes the brain. It also balances and strengthens the female organs and regulates their functions and is therefore good for the sexual health especially of females.

Apples (red) contain boron in the skin as do red beans, red grapes, red pears, red-skinned potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as almonds, avocados, bananas and broccoli. Boron helps to keep the hormones balanced and can raise the testosterone levels in men. It is also involved in the metabolism of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Asparagus: is a rich source of vitamins B6 and B9 which can help to boost orgasm and arousal.

Avocados are a rich source of many nutrients that can improve the sexual libido of both men and women.

Bananas are a rich source of the vitamin B complex and potassium that can help boost energy levels and libido.

Beetroot: The nitrates in beetroots are converted into nitric oxide in the body, which opens blood vessels and improves blood flow which in turn enhances sexual stamina.

Broccoli is one of the best foods to increase libido in men. Women should eat broccoli sparingly as its high Indole-3-carbinol content could lower oestrogen and have the opposite effect.

Celery works like ‘Viagra’ as it increases sexual stimulation. For men, eating celery can enhance the pheromones in sweat and make them smell more attractive to women.

Cherries: The sour (Morello) cherries are rich in powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds which can help to increase circulation and relax the body which can help with sexual arousal.

Cacao: The cacao been, in its raw form, helps the body produce serotonin, providing feelings of euphoria, pain relief and high energy. In addition to abundant magnesium, raw cacao beans contain significant amounts of the essential amino acid, tryptophan. Both are needed by the body to create the stress protective neurotransmitters, serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is considered a primary neurotransmitter that plays a powerful role in mood regulation. Many believe that consuming chocolate can increase the sex drive but heat and cooking destroy tryptophan and therefore processed chocolate and roasted cocoa beans are very low compared to raw cacao, which typically contains 33% more tryptophan.

Coconut water contain the same electrolytes as human blood, and because of this, it improves blood flow which can act as an aphrodisiac.
Egg yolks are rich in the vitamin B-complex and other nutrients that help fight stress and balance hormone levels; the two factors that are crucial to libido and sexual health in both males and females.

Figs are rich in amino acids and magnesium that are said to boost libido as well as sexual stamina in both males and females.

Greens: Leafy greens are rich in minerals and phytochemicals that are energy boosting and can improve the sex drive. Alfalfa sprouts and water cress are the best nutritionally but cabbage, cress, kale, rocket, spinach, sprouts and all the variations of lettuce also contain an abundance of health and energy-boosting nutrients. At least one portion of these should be consumed every day. Peas are rich in alpha-lipoic acid which is a nutrient that also helps to enhance the sex drive.

Green tea has compounds that can help to increase blood flow to the brain and sexual organs and helps to enhance focus, mood and memory. Consume three cups a day with the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon to benefit from this.

Hemp seeds can help to boost libido in both men and women as they are rich in protein and other nutrients required for sex hormones. They are also one of the rare foods that contain the correct balance of anti-inflammatory omega-3 to inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.

Hawthorn berries have a powerful and beneficial effect on the circulatory system which can help to increase the sex drive.

Mussels are a rich source of vitamin B12 and provide a readily absorbed source of vitamin C, amino acids, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. They have more omega-3 fatty acids than any other shellfish and far more than any other popular meat choice today. Another benefit is that they are much lower in the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than any other meat choice. As an extra-lean meat, mussels are also low in sodium, fat and cholesterol and high in protein. Fifteen mussels provide the equivalent protein of a 170 g (6 oz) steak. All of this makes them an ideal food to help boost the energy and sex drive.

Nuts are rich in vitamin E which helps the body to produce the neurotransmitter allopregnanolone that increase sexual desire. It is often called the "sex vitamin" due to its youth-boosting antioxidant properties and ability to increase oxygen and blood flow to the genitals. Certain nuts contain minerals that can enhance sexual performance and the amino acid, L-arginine, that increases blood flow to the sexual organs. Five almonds, five cashew nuts, seven raw hazelnuts, two Brazil nuts, a small handful of pistachios and five walnut halves can greatly improve the love life. Cashew nuts are very rich in important minerals and vitamins including vitamin B17 and other compounds that protect the brain and nerves and can improve the mood. They are also lower in fat than other nuts. One small handful should be consumed every three days. NOTE: Pre-salted cashews should be avoided especially by those with high blood pressure. If salt is required, then use Himalayan pink salt crystals or unrefined sea salt on unsalted cashews. Soak all nuts overnight in the refrigerator, then strain and consume. They can be blended more easily into a smoothie after soaking which also helps the nutrients to become more easily absorbed.

Oily fish: are a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, DHA and DPA which helps to raise dopamine levels in brain and, this in turn, can trigger sexual arousal.

Oysters are the most concentrated natural source of zinc, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system, healing wounds, preserving senses of taste and smell and boosting the sex drive. Inadequate supply of this mineral leads to health problems such as poor appetite, loss of hair and impaired senses. They are also rich sources of two amino acids, D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, that can help to increase levels of sex hormones. Oysters are also rich in dopamine which is believed to work for increasing arousal.

Peas, spinach and watercress are rich sources of alpha-lipoic acid which helps the body turn glucose into energy. It can also rehabilitate other antioxidants like glutathione and vitamins C and E that wear themselves out and dissipate. It can also help to protect brain and nerve tissues as it is able to enter all parts of the nerve cell and this can help to increase sensitivity and sexual arousal. Other rich sources are flaxseeds, organ meats, rice bran, Swiss chard and tomatoes.

Pineapples are rich in the bromelain enzyme that is believed to boost libido and reverse impotence in men. They are best eaten separately from other foods or this enzyme will be used up to digest food instead.

Pine nuts have compounds that can help to improve sexual health and have been consumed since Medieval times to enhance the libido.

Pomegranate juice is a potent natural aphrodisiac for both men and women due to its ability to lower blood pressure and increase testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that stimulates sexual appetite as well as improves the mood and memory and reduces stress.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and zinc which can all help to increase sexual libido and mood.

Raspberries contain compounds that can help to improve sexual arousal in both men and women.

Rocket leaves have been known for their libido-boosting properties since the first century AD and ancient Romans gave rocket ‘fertility god’ status.

Sweet potatoes are a very good source of potassium that helps reduce high blood pressure levels associated with the risk of erectile dysfunction in men. Like carrots, they are also rich in beta-carotene so that they provide the body with vitamin A which can improve fertility in women.

Truffles contain androstenol, a pheromone secreted by male pigs (and humans, but at lower levels) to induce mating-like behaviour in females.

Watermelon contains beta-carotene, citrulline and lycopene that can relax blood vessels, lower blood pressure and improve libido by improving blood flow to the sexual organs. It has been scientifically proven that watermelon delivers a ‘Viagra-like’ effect on blood vessels which can quickly boost the libido.

Herbs that improve the mood, energy levels and sexual function

Basil (Ocimum basilicum): The scent of basil has long been associated with arousal and women used to rub basil powder and oil on their skin to attract men. Components in basil have a balancing effect on the nervous system and hormones and it is a rich source of magnesium which relaxes muscles and blood vessels, all of which can help enhance the libido and only a few leaves need to be consumed to benefit.

Gingko biloba (Gingko biloba) can help to improve circulation and brain activity which can improve the libido.

Ginseng (Panax spp) contains ginsenoside chemical compounds in the root which have been proven to act as powerful aphrodisiacs in both men and women.

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica): can help to support the nervous system, especially the brain, improve memory and enhance vitality throughout the body which can in turn improve sexual libido.

Horny goat weed (Epimedium): Legend has it that the name came from a herder who noticed his goats becoming more sexually active after eating it. This herb contains a compound called icariin that can block an erection-inhibiting enzyme but without the side-effects caused by conventional drugs for impotency.

Iporuro (Alchornea castaneifolia) is a powerful aphrodisiac and the leaves are used to increase fertility for the impotent male.

Land caltrop (Tribulus terrestris) contains a saponin which is known to help stop premature ejaculation and improve sexual function by increasing sperm production, motility, survival time and the quality of the sperm. Land caltrop also helps to promote recovery after physical exertion and is popular with athletes. NOTE: Land caltrop can cause foetal miscarriage and must be avoided by pregnant or breast-feeding women or individuals with breast or prostate cancer. Excess consumption of land caltrop can cause sleep disturbances and irregular menstruation and high doses may adversely affect the eyes and liver.

Lavender (Lavandula spp.) works as a vasodilator by relaxing and expanding the blood vessels, thereby causing the blood pressure to lower which can improve libido and can be taken as a tea. A few drops of lavender essential oil can be added to a warm bath with Epsom salts to help improve the sex drive. Epsom salts contains magnesium that can be absorbed through the skin in a warm bath and magnesium helps improve the sex drive too.

Moringa (Moringa oleifera) is a herb well known for its ability to treat sexual dysfunction in men.

Nettles (Urtica dioica) are very rich in vitamins A, B complex and C and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron that can greatly improve the sex drive. Nettles should be avoided if suffering from heart or kidney problems.

Pepperwort (Lepidium meyenii): Also known as maca root, pepperwort is useful to treat hormone imbalances, menstrual problems and symptoms of menopause and can improve fertility and sexual health and treat erectile dysfunction due to its compounds that can balance the sex hormones. It has a reputation for being a powerful aphrodisiac and, as it is rich in minerals like zinc and iodine and essential fatty acids, it can improve the mood and overall brain health.

Red raspberry leaf (Ubus idaeus) strengthens the uterus wall and regulates menstrual flow by nourishing the reproductive organs, especially the uterine muscles and can be taken as a tea.

Rhodiola (Sedum roseum) elevates the capacity for exercise, enhances memory, aids with weight reduction and increases sexual function. It is used extensively by Russian athletes because it improves energy levels, supports physical strength and can shorten recovery time after prolonged workouts.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) can help to strengthen the libido for men and relax and stimulate the brain for both sexes which can enhance sexual arousal..

Saffron (Crocus sativus) has been grown since the 10th century BC and is known for its ability to improve the libido in both men and women but is an expensive herb because of the difficulties in collecting enough crocus stamen threads to produce any significant amount. To produce just 28 g (1 oz) of the spice takes 4500 crocus flowers.

Schizandra chinensis (Chisandra chinensis) has compounds that can maintain sexual energy and sexual functions in both men and women.

Squaw vine (Mitchella repens), as the names suggests, is good for women’s sexual health as it has compounds that strengthen the uterus and helps relieve congestion there and in the ovaries.

Suma (Pfaffia paniculate) this herb, also known as Brazilian ginseng, has powerful properties that can enhance endurance, hormone balance and sexual performance.

Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) is very effective at lowering blood pressure and has an uplifting effect on mood and induces feelings of joy which can enhance sexual pleasure. Some cases of sensitivity, nausea and headache have been observed when taken in excessive amounts. Otherwise, when taken in recommended doses, it is non-toxic and is not reported to cause any irritation, however, it should not be taken by pregnant or breast-feeding women. It can be very beneficial for those people who have lost interest in sex due to work load, professional stress, depression or the effects of pollution. The loss of libido or frigidity is a growing problem in modern life which can be resolved by using ylang ylang as a massage oil, in an oil burner or a few drops in a hot bath and blends very well with the essential oils of bergamot, lavender and sandalwood.

Natural foods that help the body produce and balance the hormones

  • Alfalfa sprouts

  • Algae and seaweed (richest mineral source)

  • Apples

  • Apricots

  • Artichokes

  • Avocado

  • Beans

  • Beef (grass-fed)

  • Beetroot

  • Berries

  • Coconut oil

  • Cod liver oil

  • Cucumbers

  • Eggs

  • Krill oil

  • Leafy vegetables especially asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach and watercress

  • Lemons and limes

  • Lentils

  • Melons

  • Nuts (soaked overnight or sprouted)

  • Oily wild caught fish

  • Olives and olive oil

  • Quinoa

  • Peppers (all colours)

  • Pheasant (hen)

  • Rabbit (wild)

  • Red cabbage and onions

  • Root vegetables especially carrots, Swede, sweet potatoes and turnips

  • Seeds and their oils especially flaxseeds, hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds

  • Squashes

  • Tangerines

  • Tigernuts

  • Tomatoes

  • Venison

Note 1: Always consume any red, orange or yellow vegetables with avocado, butter, coconut oil, fish, nut seed or other plant oils or yoghurt as fat-soluble nutrients such as carotenoids and vitamins A, D, E and K cannot be absorbed unless consumed at the same time as some fat or oil.

 

Note 2:Always consume vitamin E-rich foods, such as nuts and seeds, at the same time as vitamin C rich foods such as fruit and vegetables. Too much of one or the other will cause an imbalance of iron, manganese and zinc as they have opposite effects upon these minerals.

 

Correct balance of intestinal flora can help to balance the hormones

 

Fibre is one of the most important dietary components to consume regularly when it comes to balancing the hormones and is often removed by refining and processing techniques. The skins of fruit, grains, seeds and vegetables are not only important for fibre they also contain the richest sources of vitamins and other important nutrients such as coumarins, flavonoids, lignans and other plant phytochemicals.

 

A well-balanced gastrointestinal flora environment is also vital and can be maintained by regular consumption of the following prebiotic and probiotic foods.

Prebiotic foods that feed the existing beneficial bacteria

  • Agave

  • Apples

  • Asparagus

  • Banana

  • Beans

  • Bran

  • Broccoli

  • Burdock root

  • Cabbage

  • Cauliflower

  • Celeriac

  • Chicory root

  • Cocoa (raw)

  • Coconut flesh

  • Dandelion root

  • Elecampane

  • Elephant foot yam

  • Garlic

  • Jerusalem artichoke

  • Jicama root
  • Kale

  • Leeks

  • Lentils

  • Mashua

  • Mugwort

  • Oats

  • Onions

  • Parsnips

  • Peas

  • Radish

  • Rampion

  • Salsify

  • Turnip

  • Swede

  • Sweet potato

  • Whole grains

  • Yacon root

  • Yams

Probiotic foods that contain beneficial bacteria

  • Brine pickles (eggs, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables that have been fermented by lactic acid bacteria)

  • Kefir (fermented milk drink)

  • Kimchi (a fermented, spicy Korean side dish)

  • Kombucha (fermented black or green Asian tea)

  • Miso (a Japanese fermented seasoning made with soya beans, salt and a type of fungus called koji)

  • Sauerkraut (finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria)

  • Tempeh (fermented soya beans)

  • Yoghurt (plain with live cultures)

Nutrients that help the body produce and balance the hormones and improve sexual health and libido

 

Follow the links to find the highest natural food sources of these nutrients.

The importance of the vitamin B complex

 

Probably the most important of all nutrients for a satisfying sex life is the B complex of vitamins. The B vitamins work together in teams with other nutrients and most are involved in the energy production process. Vitamin B6 also helps to promote the production of male and female sex hormones. Often the body can be lacking in the B complex particularly B2 and B12. This can be due to intense physical exercise but smoking tobacco or consuming alcohol, caffeine and many types of drugs can cause deficiencies as can any digestive disorders or bouts of diarrhoea. Those that limit their meat and fish intake or consume too many carbohydrates are especially at great risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. To ensure that the B vitamins are in good supply choose at least one different food each day, from the following list, to consume through out the month.

  • Algae (chlorella, dulse or spirulina)

  • Almonds

  • Ashitaba

  • Barley grass powder

  • Beef (lean grass fed)

  • Brazil nuts

  • Brewer’s yeast and yeast extract

  • Eggs (chicken, duck, goose or fish)

  • Flaxseeds

  • Game birds

  • Hemp seeds

  • Kelp

  • Nori seaweed

  • Octopus and squid

  • Oily fish

  • Organ meats

  • Poultry

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Rabbit (wild)

  • Rice bran

  • Shellfish

  • Shiitake mushrooms

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Venison

  • Walnuts

For disorders affecting the hormones and natural remedies see: Human glands

 

For disorders affecting the nerves see: The nervous system

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"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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