February 16, 2008
Natural Ways to Boost Libido
By Bowden, Jonny
TRY THESE TIPS, FOODS, AND SUPPLEMENTS TO PROMOTE SEXUAL WELLNESSYou can never be too rich or too thin, they say. Nor, apparently, too hot. The quest for potions, foods, herbs, and supplements to increase a sagging libido never ends. Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects up to 30 million American men and one-third of American males between ages 40 and 70. And according to a 1999 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 43 percent of women reported having some kind of sexual dissatisfaction; about one- third of them specifically reported low sexual desire.
What's up with that? And can food help? Read on.
Back in the 1970s and 80s, 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 erotic staples such as oysters and chocolate-are going to make much of a dent if your mind is somewhere else. On the other hand, sometimes low libido for men or women has a physical base. As often as not, it's a mix of both-desire plus the ability to do something about it.
Assuming the "spirit is willing," we still have to make sure the body is able. First order of business: circulation. And the best way to improve overall circulation is 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 catecholamines, making it far more likely that you'll feel amorous rather than exhausted. Certain yoga postures done prior to sex are said to be fantastic enhancers, notably a shoulder stand for men and the butterfly pose for women.
Then there are the sexy foods. Here's my top list of foods that may increase libido naturally:
* Almonds (or nuts). They contain important fatty acids that help the brain work better.
* Avocados. Not only are they a sensual delight, they also contain important fatty acids that help the brain and 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
* Oysters. High in zinc, which is essential for male sexual functioning, oysters have been associated with sex since the days of Casanova.
* Figs. They're high in amino acids and are believed to increase sexual stamina. Plus, they're sensual, juicy, and sweetperfect for "food foreplay."
* Nutmeg. According to Daniel Amen, MD, author of Sex on the Brain, nutmeg is used in Indian medicine for enhancing desire. In one animal study, an xtract of nutmeg had the same effect on mating behavior as Viagra.
High-carbohydrate dishes, such as pasta, are morelikely to lead to snoozing than to romancing Go with energy-producing protein and vegtables, and leave the table just a bit hungry. Some foods, by sheer nature of their sensuality, can trigger thoughts of amour- think of a juicy peach, for example, or even an avocado. Foods with luscious textures and tastes enhcance mood. The sheer sensuality of ating 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 good bets and make great scented candles. Lavender has been shown to be one of the most universal turn-ons, as have- believe it or not-the smells of pumpkin pie and buttered popcorn for men, and baby powder and licorice candy for women.
There's no aphrodisiac on earth like romantic love-attraction is 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 in good shape-you're in for a great time.
If foods and other therapies aren't enough to awaken your libido, consider a supplement. A combination formula is a good place to start. Two examples of products available at health food stores are Natural Factors' Sex Essentials Women's Formula, and Irwin Naturals' Steel Libido (for men). Both contain the amino acid L-arginine, which has been shown in studies to help improve sexual function in males and females. Researchers believe it works by boosting circulation.
Get creative with your food combinations. For example, try pairing some of the sexy foods mentioned above: Spread celery sticks with almond butter or dip dried figs, in dark chocolate. Also, avocado and chili peppers make great additions to a Southwestern- style soup or salad.
By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, is a boardcertified nutritionist and author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth and The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC and in more than 50 national magazines as an expert on nutrition, weight management, and natural health. For his free newsletter and audio courses, please visit jonnybowden.com. Stay tuned next month for more Healthy Solutions with Jonny Bowden.