On Valentine’s Day our attention naturally turns to the love in our lives. Why not use this special day as a stepping-stone to a better (love) life for you and your significant other?
What better way to say you love someone than to keep them healthy and happy with healthy food? But maybe you are looking for a little bit more this Valentine’s Day. Something that will keep the romance alive as well.
Believe it or not, the food you eat can also help with that! Beyond the obvious health factors that a proper diet brings, there are certain foods that can actually help with your love life.
Let’s face it, in the hierarchy of self survival, libido ranks pretty low in the list of necessities. In nature, an organism needs to have the proper elements (food and environment) in order to procreate and ensure offspring will survive. In times of famine, draught or other disaster, birth rates go down. It is nature’s way of ensuring that all factors are favorable for your own survival, before adding the responsibility of another human being. It’s nature’s natural birth control.
Now, circumstances have to be pretty extreme before this occurs. And, in our world, factors are pretty much in our favor. We have a constant source of food, and a secure environment in which to live, among other things.
But libido naturally lags when we don’t get all the nutrition we need. Even a deficiency in vitamins and minerals can cause fatigue, depression and low energy levels that can put a damper on passion. Other factors such as stress, aging, sleep deprivation, hormone imbalance, cardiovascular and blood sugar health, and drugs can also affect libido.
That is where foods can help. Eating the proper foods to help balance sugar levels and hormones, improve cardiovascular health for better blood flow, increase energy levels, and boost mood can ameliorate many of these factors.
These changes won’t happen overnight, but with time, you will see a positive change.
Curious as to how some foods, spices and herbs can help?
Here is just a short list and what they have to offer; some cultures might even call these aphrodisiacs.
Almonds and walnuts- Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats that serve as building blocks for hormone production in both men and women, and as you know, hormone play a huge role in the sex drive. In addition, almonds contain the essential amino acid L-arginine which is important to improving blood flow throughout the body, including the sex organs. L-arginine cannot be produced by the body, so we must get it through the foods we eat.
Ginger- This spice increases blood flow and helps in the production of testosterone. It also has a warming effect on the body that can “get the blood flowing.”
Bananas- Bananas are rich in potassium that plays a role in thyroid regulation. The thyroid helps boosts energy levels and maintain hormone balance in women. Bananas contain the enzyme bromelain that is believed to boost libido in men, and high levels of tyrosine that regulate the release of the chemical dopamine by the brain. Dopamine allows us to have feelings of bliss, pleasure, euphoria, drive, motivation, focus, and concentration. 1
Asparagus- This green vegetable is rich in folate (vitamin B9) that provides the body with more energy and helps improve sex. It also contains a large amount of vitamin E, which increases blood flow and oxygen to all organs of the body, including those involved in reproduction, and is a “key player in the production of your sex hormones to give you that sex drive boost.”2 A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E also helps the body stay young and active.
Avocado- Another great fruit especially for men, is the avocado. The Aztecs even named it ahuacatl, or testicle. It contains healthy fats and vitamin B6 that help with hormone production and increased blood flow; has high levels of hormone activating vitamin E; and is also a great source of energy boosting potassium.
photo credit: cropped from realitysadream via Flickr
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)- These delicious seeds are rich in zinc, a mineral that keeps the male sex organs healthy and productive. Zinc can also be found in other seeds (such as sesame, sunflower, chia, flaxseeds) and nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, pecans and pine nuts.) Their healthy omega3 fats also assist blood flow.
Watermelon- Although this fruit is made up of about 92% water, the remaining portion contains a significant amount of lycopene, citrulline, and beta-carotene, which have been shown to relax blood vessels and improve circulation. According to research done in 2008 by researchers at the Texas A&M Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center, watermelon has ingredients that affect blood flow and even aid in increasing libido [much the ]…same way a medicine like Viagra does.
Maca- Maca is a root found in Peru that is an adaptogen. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress. Maca is believed to increase energy levels, stamina, energy, fertility and libido in both men and women. You can find maca in a powdered form in most health food stores. It has a slightly sweet nutty taste and can be added to smoothies or your morning oatmeal to help you start your day on the right foot.
Dark chocolate- What can’t this food do?! It seems to have so many health benefits for us. Just make sure you limit the amount of chocolate candy you eat. The true benefits come from the raw cocoa powder that is naturally very bitter. Cocoa encourages the release of endorphins, our feel good hormone, that help improve our mood and give us that wonderful feeling of being in love. It also contains magnesium that helps us feel relaxed and boosts our mood. If you do indulge this Valentine’s Day, make sure you are eating a high quality dark chocolate that is low in added sugar and unhealthy fats.
photo credit: cropped from Lee McCoy via Flickr
Eggs- Yes, the incredible edible egg. For a long time this incredible food was on the U.S. government’s “don’t eat” list. The U.S. government’s recent publication eliminating the restrictions on cholesterol, has once again put eggs back in the American diet. Cholesterol is a necessary building block of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. Eggs are also a healthy source of protein that provide energy and help you focus. They contain vitamin B6 that we know helps with hormone production, and are a good source of L-arginine!
Hope you take some of these food suggestions to heart. They are just some more great reasons to eat healthy this Valentine’s Day! Your sweetheart will love you for it!
Yours in Health,