When we think of romantic dinners, or the foods we hope will have an amorous affect on our objects of affection, wine, chocolate, or even perhaps a fancy steak dinner comes to mind.
But for those of us who really want to spice up our love life, a meal of steamed salmon and broccoli may be the better choice. For, although rich foods may be the way to a lover's heart, foods that are good for the heart are the way to a better time in the bedroom.
How to eat for a better sex life. Have I grabbed your attention? The subject certainly grabbed mine when FOX anchor E.D. Hill had suggested the topic for my segment on her show. But the truth is, sexual function is a health issue. We cannot enjoy a healthy sex life if we are unhealthy in other aspects of our lives, and one of the key things we can do to keep our sex lives healthy is to eat right--especially as our sexuality begins to feel the effects of aging.
As we get older, several biological changes begin to occur that can affect our sexual function. Hormone levels begin to drop. Levels of testosterone, estrogen and thyroid hormones begin to decrease as early as our late 30s. Many people also put on extra weight as they head toward middle age, which further slows our metabolic processes.
What does this have to do with sex? Well, while it may not be that sexy to think about the sex lives of individual cells, we're not having any fun if they're not. Cells need to multiply effectively to create the energy we need to feel good. Cells require one very special need to function in top form: oxygen. Additionally, to function well, cells' mechanism for eliminating waste must be working constantly. When our cells are functioning properly, so does our sexual function. And what is the key to proper cell function? Circulation. Thus, the popular saying by health professionals: "What's good for your heart is good for your sex organs."
Proper nutrition is very important to healthy circulation. There are two chemical components that have been found to improve circulation: Omega 3 and L-Arginine. These components can be found in foods like olive oil, salmon, nuts, making them excellent "sex" foods. Other foods, such as green vegetables, that are full of antioxidants, garlic, ginseng and soybeans are make the list for great foods for keeping your blood--and therefore your sex life--flowing.
Of course, eating right is just one factor in maintaining a healthy sex life. Exercising is also important. And while smoking a cigarette or having a drink may be associated with sex, the truth is that these activities, as well as drug abuse,adversely affect sexual function. The triad of eating right, exercising and eliminating such negative habits as smoking, excessive drinking or drug abuse will help keep you in the physical shape necessary to have the healthiest sex life possible.
Finally, remember that just like the body, the mind needs to be in balance. Stress or psychological issues can dramatically interfere with sexual function. The importance of "being in the mood" cannot be underestimated.
Human beings have been seeking magic elixirs to enhance their sexuality and sexual experience since the beginning of time, but there is very little scientific proof that any of the "aphrodisiacs" that have been touted over the centuries actually work. Let's just say that while the Greek gods were wrong about mythical aphrodisiacs, the Greek diet--one that is rich in fish, vegetables and olive oil--was right. The truth is that if you are severely overweight, if you drink excessively or smoke, there is no magic potion or aphrodisiac in the world that is going to help your sex life.
So tonight, I'll be having steam salmon with broccoli, salad with olive oil and warm green tea.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.