All of our bodily functions, including sexual activity, are influenced by our state of health. We have to feel good physically and mentally to enjoy sex. Many psychiatrists and sexual therapists agrue that most sexual dysfunction is mental rather than physical and while this is true, it is also true that nutrition and exercise play an enormous role in how you perform in the bedroom. The influence of nutrition and nutritional disorders on libido is considerable and seldom seriously discussed. One study found that 29 per cent of male hyplogycemics and 44 per cent of female hypoglycemics were sexually dysfunctional.
Nourishing your sex glands
The endocrine glands and their hormones are essential to sexual potency. The sex glands secrete testosterone (male sex hormone) or estrogen (female sex hormone), indispensable for healthy sexual functioning. But they are not the only homones involved. All edocrine hormones function in harmony, as an orchestra.
Take the thyroid gland, for example. This gland controls metabolism through its hormone thyroxin. When the gland is underactive, metabolic rate slows down, and abesity, a chilly feeling, fatigue and loss of interest in sex are the result. Idodine is necessary for proper thyroid function. It occurs abundantly in seafood and kelp.
A high protein diet speeds up the activity of the thyroid by supplying the amino acid tyrosine from which thyroxin is produced. Thyroxin formation also requires choline. However, without vitamins B6 and C thyroxin will not do what it is supposed to do, speed up metabolism and thereby increase interest in sex. Lack of vitamin B1 lowers thyroid function.
So to ensure satisfactory thyroid function, the diet should be rich in vitamin B vitamins, proteins and vitamin C. Desirable foods are wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, liver, whole grains, nuts (not peanuts), beans and brown rice. Kelp is a better source of iodine than sea salt.
Since vitamin E has been reported to increase idoine absorption and hormone production, it would be worth drinking a glass of fresh tomato juice blended with 1 or 2 teaspoons of wheat germ oil and sprinkled with kelp powder on a daily basis. This may sound disgusting but it may do more for your sex life thatn wine and candlelight.
Zinc, the cruicial element
Zinc is crucial to a healthy sex life. The whole male reproductive system – prostrate gland, seminal fluid and sperm – contains high concentrations of zinc. In fact sperm contain the highest concentration of zinc of any body fluid or tissue. We’ve all heard that oysters are an aphrodisiac and thus it’s no coincidence that oysters are among the richest sources of zinc.
The most recent studies of zinc and sex show that even a mild zinc deficiency for a few months can cause serious sexual dysfunction and reduced sexual desire. Zinc supplements have been found to raise low sperm counts and increase sexual desire in people who have been living on zinc restricted diets. Some doctors recommend 20 to 30 mg of supplemental zinc a day for six months to treat sexual dysfunction.
Heavy smokers are particularly vulnerable since cigarette smoke contains toxic cadmium which interferes with zinc metabolism and can accumulate in the testes.
The best food sources of zinc, apart from oysters, are herrings, meat, mushrooms, raw wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, pumpkin seeds, eggs, nuts, pollen and molasses.
Other vital nutrients
Vitamins A and C also concentrate in the prostate gland. Vitamin C is highly concentrated in prostate fluid and also in the adrenal glands, whose secretions stimulate the testes or ovaries to produce sex hormones.
Vitamin A is essential for the production of sperm. One of the reasons why many alcoholics suffer from sterility may be that alcohol interferes with the conversion of vitamin A to its active form in the testes.
When vitamin E is inadequate, there is a decrease in both sex hormones and gonadotrophin, the pituitary hormone which directly stimulates the sex glands.
Selenium-deficient diets have been reported to increase male impotency even in young men. Magnesium and potassium are also important.
Snacking is a convenient way of boosing sexual responses. Make it a habit to snack on mixed seeds, nuts and soybeans. Avoid salt as it depletes potassium.
Frankfurters and preserved meats are loaded with nitrates and nitrites, which are sexual downers. Potassium nitrate, a common ingredient in packaged meat, was once sprinkled on prisoners’ food to reduce their sexual desire. Cigarette smoke, again, is another thing that those who care about their sex life should do without. So are alcohol and the birth control pill, both of which deplete zinc.