Monday, February 13, 2012

Sex and Health

Valentine's day- a day of romance dedicated to lovers all around the world.
There are 3 major myths on the origin of St Valentine.
Valentine was a Christian priest in Rome. Emperor Claudius ll outlawed marriage for young men as he believed that single men made better soldiers. Valentine defied Claudius and secretly performed marriages for young lovers. When Claudius found out, Valentine was sentenced to death.
The 2nd legend is that Valentine helped Christians escape from Roman prisons where they endured terrible cruelty. When caught, he was executed.
The 3rd legend is that Valentine fell in love whilst in prison with the jailer's blind daughter. He gave her back her sight and before his death, he sent her a note signed "from your Valentine".

 Today's health and beauty buzz is on how sex can benefit           health.
        1. Stress is reduced. Endorphins and oxytocin are released        during sex and these feel good hormones create feelings of relaxation and help to stave off anxiety and depression.
        2. Sleep- The same endorphins that help you de stress, also relax the mind and body. Prolactin is released during orgasm. Prolactin levels are naturally higher when we sleep.
         3. Pain- The surge of hormones after orgasm can help to ease a headache. Gone are those headache excuses! In clinical trials, migraine sufferers reported relief after orgasm. The endorphins released during orgasm closely resemble morphine and can   
                                    effectively ease pain.
4.   Colds and flu- people who have regular sex were found to have higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A. These antibodies help combat disease and enable the body to stave off colds and flu.
5.   Glow- Those enjoying lots of sex were perceived to be 7 – 12 years younger than their age. Regular sex promotes the release of hormones including testosterone and estrogen which help to keep the body young.  Estrogen promotes soft skin and shiny hair.
6.   Menstrual cramps- Orgasm causes the uterus to contract and this process rids the body of cramp causing compounds.  It also helps to expel blood more quickly helping the period to end faster. Going horizontal during menstruation has been shown to help decrease the risk for endometriosis (uterine tissue growing outside the uterus).
7.   Exercise-Sex counts as cardio and can burn between 85 to 250 calories.
8.   Guy benefits- Studies have shown that men who had sex at least 2 times a week had ½ the risk of suffering a fatal heart attack.
Regular sex can bring down the chances of developing prostate cancer.
Regular ejaculation (with or without a partner) can help rid a man’s body of potential carcinogens.

Sexual desire fluctuates throughout life. Lack of libido is more common in women than in men. Some of the major milestones effecting libido are pregnancy, nursing your baby, menopause and illness.

There are many other reasons which may be responsible for low libido:
  1. Obesity- Results from a study at Duke found that obesity impacts sex drive, desire and performance. Obesity leads to a deficiency of certain sex hormones in both men and women. Poor body image can also impact desire
  2. High cholesterol – Cholesterol can build up on the walls of the arteries of the body including the arteries in the pelvic area. When blood flow is restricted, there is less sensation which can lead to frustration. Unfortunately many statins lower libido as cholesterol aids in the production of sex hormones.
  3. Diabetes is a serious disease and can cause kidney damage and even blindness. It can cause erectile problems and nerve damage due to reduced blood flow. It lowers testosterone levels affecting mood and sex drive.
  4. Pain- Painful sex can be caused by a number of reasons.  Infection of the pelvis or vagina, a cyst, an STD or lack of estrogen resulting in dryness. Consult with your gynie immediately.
  5. Psychological problems stemming back from childhood or an unresolved traumatic event such as your house being broken into, being attacked or raped or a death of a loved one.
  6. Problems in your relationship, depression, anxiety, low thyroid levels and anemia.
  7. Difficult circumstances such as juggling a career, taking care of children, having an in-law or parent living with you, financial worries and many others.
  8. Alcohol is a depressant and diminishes sex drive, performance and desire.
  9. Some prescription drugs including birth control hamper arousal and the ability to achieve orgasm.                       
                                        Foods that can help boost sex drive.

There are many foods that have the reputation of boosting libido.
These are a few of them:-
  • Pomegranate juice- pomegranates are rich in polyphinols and antioxidants that allow blood to flow through your veins- a component of good sex.
  • Zinc- Healthy levels of zinc boost sex drive. Foods rich in zinc are oysters, crab, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, chick peas and steak. Legend has it that Casanova ate dozens of oysters daily.
  • Cocoa (unsweetened) or dark chocolate (70% dark) contain a chemical which stimulates the sense of well being.
  • Bananas and pineapple have an enzyme in them called bromelain which boosts libido. Bananas are rich in potassium which increases energy levels.
  • Avocado increases libido. They contain high levels of folic acid, vitamin B6 and potassium.
  • Chilies contain capsaicin which triggers the release of endorphins. Good for weight loss too.
  • Figs- supposedly Cleopatra’s favorite food are high in amino acids which are found to increase libido and also stamina.
  • Tests reveal that foods that are rich in L Arginine improve sexual function in men. These foods include oatmeal, cashews, walnuts, garlic, soybeans, chick peas and dairy. There has been no definitive proof that these foods work effectively in woman. They are healthy foods and certainly cannot do any harm.
  • Asparagus is high in vitamin E which has long been considered “a sex vitamin”.
  • Watermelon contains citruline which is an amino acid that helps to relax blood vessels that increase sex drive.
     There are many supplements, medications, devices, toys and special lubricants on the market today said to increase libido.

 Some of the supplements considered to be safe include:
  • Maca- The maca root plant is native to the Andes in Peru. It is related to other root vegetables. It is thought to increase stamina, fertility, energy and libido. It can be purchased in powder or capsule form.
  • Ginseng- Ginseng has long been touted for improving sexual function in men. Studies performed were on "Korean red ginseng" at a dose of 1,800mg daily. 66% of men saw an improvement. Red ginseng tested in women was found to increase arousal with no severe side effects.
  •  L Arginine- Arginine might offer benefit for sexual dysfunction in men. Arginine alone has not been studied as a treatment for women, but a trial found evidence for benefit with a combination formula of L-arginine as well as other herbs and vitamins. Arginine in healthy individuals has shown no adverse effects. High levels may increase acid reflux, stomach ulcers and should not be used by diabetics on medication or patients with a heart condition.
There are still some contraindications linked to the supplements listed above. 

Safety concerns over some of the more popular enhancement supplements-
  • Epimedium(horny goat weed)- Rapid heart rate and mania in people with bi polar disorder was reported.
  • Yohimbe- In 2005 there were more adverse reports for Yohimbe than there were for ephedra(a herb banned in the USA for safety concerns).
 *Do not take any medications including supplements and herbal remedies before first consulting your doctor. You could be putting your life in danger.*

                                         Wishing you all a happy Valentines Day.

                                                  Keep healthy, happy and safe.

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1 comment:

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