Want to boost your sex drive this Valentine?
Besides ‘foods of love’ including watermelon, unripe plantain, alligator pepper, nutmeg, fluted pumpkin leaves, velvet bean, garlic, and avocados, researchers have found that physical fitness improves sexual function in men and women.
Exercise for better sex: The goal of exercise is to obtain a healthier lifestyle. Exercise is a powerful tool in the development of muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness, mind-body coordination and stress relief. Exercise also has been proven to increase sex drive for men and women.
Exercise has positive effects on the sex drives of men. A 1990 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior revealed that men participating in exercise (60 minutes per day, three to five days a week, with a peak sustained intensity of 75 percent to 80 percent) developed “significantly greater sexual enhancements ” (example frequency of various intimate activities, reliability of adequate functioning during sex, percentage of satisfying orgasms).
Exercise has positive effects on women’s sex drives as well. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that intense, short-duration exercise (20 minutes with a target heart rate of 70 percent) significantly enhances the physiological sexual arousal of women (that is genital arousal). An additional study published in a 2007 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine discovered a link between increased body awareness and increased perceptions of arousal. The researchers concluded: “Exercise could feasibly increase body awareness via increased bodily sensations (example, increased heartbeat and muscle tension).”
Alligator pepper: Another 100 per cent natural product from alligator pepper or grains of paradise (botanically called Aframomum melegueta) has shown promise in resolving erectile dysfunction and delaying ejaculation.
A preparation from alligator pepper has received a United States (U.S.) patent as a potent aphrodisiac.It has been shown that alligator pepper is more effective when used with Piper guineense (Uziza in Ibo), kola nut and bitter kola. In a research, this combination was used on male rats. The results showed that this combination has an ability to “turn on” male rats.
Indeed, the patented invention relates to pharmaceutical compositions based on the use of Aframomum seeds to solve the problem of male erectile dysfunction as well as premature ejaculation in men.
Nutmeg: The dried kernel of broadly ovoid seeds of Myristica fragrans (nutmeg) of the family Myristicaceae has been mentioned in Unani medicine to be of value in the management of male sexual disorders. In a study by Tajuddin et al., it was found that administration of 50 per cent ethanolic extract of a single dose of nutmeg and clove, and penegra resulted in the increase in the mating performance of the mice. It was found that out of six control animals only two males mated (inseminated) two females and the remaining four males mated one female each during the overnight experimental period. Whereas, Nutmeg treated male animals mated three females each except two, which mated five females each. In the Clove treated male animals three mated two females each, two mated four females each and remaining one mated three females each. In the Penegra treated animals four mated five females each and two mated three females each.
Watermelon juice: Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction may benefit from drinking watermelon juice, “nature’s Viagra,” to improve blood flow to the penis without the side effects of the blue pill.
A cold slice of watermelon is devoured to satisfy our thirst and hunger during the warmer months, but the juicy fruit could even satisfy us in the bedroom in between the sheets. Coined as “nature’s Viagra” by Italian scientists, watermelon juice can provide a big benefit to men who suffer from mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.
According to a study published in the journal Urology, citrulline- an amino acid found in high concentrations of watermelon- is found to improve blood flow to the penis without the side effects of Viagra.
Made up of 92 percent water, a great source of vitamin C, and only 71 calories per serving, watermelon juice has become a fad that has attracted both weight-loss hopefuls and those who want to treat their impotence.
In 2008, a team of researchers at Texas A&M found ingredients in watermelon that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels may even increase libido. “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station, according to Science Daily.
Fluted pumpkin: A study published in the African Journal of Biotechnology suggests that aqueous extract of Telfaira occidentalis could improve haematological parameters and sperm quality, and could be a potent hypoglycemic agent.
The study titled: “Aqueous extract of Telfairia occidentalis leaves reduces blood sugar and increases haematological and reproductive indices in male rats” was published by Toyin M. Salman, Luqman A. Olayaki and Wahab A. Oyeyemi of the Department of Physiology, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State.
According to the study, the significant increases in the sperm motility, viability and counts could also be attributed to the actions of some of its active ingredients, which have well-documented spermatogenic activities.
The researchers noted that the ability of T. occidentalis to increase sperm motility, viability and counts, as observed in this study, is of great interest because these parameters are determinants of the fertilising capacity of sperm cells.
Velvet bean: Another study published last year in BioMed Research International identified Mucuna pruriens as one of the plants used for improvement of sexual performance and virility.
Mucuna pruriens belongs to the plant family Leguminosae. Velvet bean or Cowhage is called werepe in Yoruba and agbala in Ibo. Researchers have shown that Mucuna pruriens enhances fertility by producing a dose dependent increase in follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone which in turn increased the number of eggs released at ovulation possibly through its rich source of L-Dopa and its metabolite, dopamine.
The total alkaloids from the seeds of M. pruriens were found to increase spermatogenesis and weight of the testes, seminal vesicles, and prostate in the albino rat.
M. pruriens stimulated sexual function in normal male rats which was observed by increase in mounting frequency, intromission frequency, and ejaculation latency.
Unripe plantain: A meal of unripe plantain with local spices like cloves, onions, garlic and ginger could be the answer to erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, ulcer, kidney problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Unripe plantain cooked or roasted has been proven over the years to induce, sustain and maintain erection. It also helps to make semen thick and increases sperm volume.
“Roasted plantain fruit is good for men with weak erection and low sperm count. Make a habit of eating one or two roasted plantain daily. If you wish, you can eat it with vegetable soup. Enjoy yourself while you improve your health the natural way. The ripe plantain fruit can be used to treat indigestion. Mash some ripe plantain to make a paste. Take one tablespoon twice daily,” said Director, Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Centre Ewu, Edo State, Rev. Fr. Anslem Adodo.
Adodo added: “Take more plantain or unripe bananas. They help to rejuvenate the sexual organ with high level of potassium. Include garlic in every meal. Garlic is generally a good anti oxidant and a good remedy for impotence in particular. Include ginger in every meal too. Ginger has healing properties to treat erectile dysfunction. Include onion as much as possible in all your meals. It has been taken fresh by ancient Greece to lighten the balance of blood and to firm up their muscles. Fresh green vegetables, all kinds of nuts, grains and fresh fruits, which are rich in mineral are generally good to impotence cure.”
Avocados: Avocados are rich in vitamin B6, a vitamin that helps regulate our hormones. Avocados also contain a trio of heart healthy nutrients – vitamin E, a key antioxidant to help maintain healthy cells; potassium to help reduce high blood pressure and counteract the effect of salt, and beta sitosterol, a phytochemical which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated ones, such as monounsaturates, helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and a healthy circulation is necessary to supply nutrients and oxygen to all parts of your body, including to your sexual organs.
Garlic: Not good for garlic-breath, but garlic contains high levels of allicin, which is good for boosting blood flow to the sexual organs. A small three month study found that eating four cloves of raw garlic every day helped to improve men’s chances of maintaining an erection, in those who were experiencing erectile dysfunction.
Dark chocolate: Studies have shown that dark chocolate increases the levels of dopamine – the feel-good chemical that affects the pleasure centres in the brain.
Research published in the Journal of Proteome found that eating 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for a period of two weeks reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol and also lowered blood pressure – obesity and high blood pressure are risk factors for erectile dysfunction, and in turn a low level of sexual desire.
Oily fish: Protein and omega-3 rich oily fish can help boost the feel good brain chemical dopamine, and in turn get you in the mood for sex. Don’t like fish? Try taking a supplement like Seven Seas Simply Timeless Cod Liver Oil, which contains vitamin D to support normal bones and is a rich source of essential Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps maintain normal vision and brain function.