Sunday Herald Sun - Body and Soul

Five foods to spice up your

Can eating the right foods really help things along in the bedroom? Nutritioni­st Michele Chevalley Hedge reveals it’s not just about the aphrodisia­cs

- With Oscar Cainer

When it comes to libido, many experts agree it has more to do with what is in your head, rather than your stomach, that matters. That said, happy neurotrans­mitters, a healthy self-esteem, deep sleep and energy – all vital for good mental health – are influenced by what we eat.

Low sex drive is more common than is talked about among friends. About 40 per cent of women will begin to experience a decline in libido well before menopause, when our ovaries start slowing down production of our key sex hormones – testostero­ne and oestrogen.

There are other influencin­g factors, too, such as physical and mental illness, exercise and stress levels. A healthy diet can improve your wellbeing on every level. And when all of those factors improve, so does your self-esteem. And that is the sweet spot: feeling good about yourself.

However, how you feel physically can also go a long way toward putting you in the mood for sex – and also your enjoyment of it once you’re in the moment. Here are five nutrientde­nse foods to add to your shopping list today to help spice up your night:

1 Pink fruit and vegetables

Move over, chocolate. There are two new passion enticers emerging. Scientists have recently been studying how the nutrients found in watermelon­s and beets relate to sexual arousal. Watermelon­s contain lycopene, beta-carotene and citrulline, which are said to have a Viagra-like effect on the body’s blood vessels. Citrulline is converted to an amino acid that improves heart and circulator­y health both above and below the belt. And the humble beet contains nitric oxide, which serves as a vasodilato­r that opens up blood vessels to erogenous zones.

Spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli and green beans are packed with iron. One out of four female patients in our nutrition practice presents with iron deficiency or anaemia. These women are exhausted and can barely make it through the day, let alone think about feeling sexy. Iron is also a key nutrient in keeping our neurotrans­mitters happy – which we’ve already establishe­d is vital for your overall wellbeing and in turn, your sexual health.

3 Dark-green vegies Seafood

While it can be a bit pricey, seafood provides quality protein and essential nutrients. Fish, clams, seaweeds and shellfish contain iodine, which is an important nutrient in thyroid function, but is low in the Australian food supply. Iodine and selenium are also the most important nutrients in the production of the thyroid hormone T4, and hypothyroi­dism is on the rise. This is when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, which leads to extreme fatigue, brain fog and impaired sexual function in both arousal and satisfacti­on.

Allicin foods

Garlic and its cousins – onions, leeks and shallots – aren’t known for freshening the breath, but they do help your blood flow. Allicin is a bioactive compound helpful in heart and coronary disease, which can affect the arteries that supply blood flow to the pelvic area. Restrictiv­e blood flow to this area for both men and women can reduce your chance for arousal or orgasm. Tip: Consume garlic well before intimacy!

Pumpkin seeds

Zinc is the Chris Hemsworth of the nutrient world: strong, powerful and dead sexy. Everyone thinks oysters are the only answer to improving zinc (and libido) levels, but zinc-rich pumpkin seeds are readily available, easy to crunch and don’t polarise people the way oysters do. Whether you choose crunchy seeds or slippery shells, zinc consumptio­n is vital to the health of both women and men – especially when it comes to the testes, testostero­ne and erectile dysfunctio­n.

In the name of love, just eat real food – unpackaged, unprocesse­d, no added sugar and full of nutrients that improve, well, just about everything, including your libido. Michele Chevalley Hedge is a nutritiona­l medicine practition­er, founder of A Healthy View and author of Eat, Drink & Still Shrink.

PISCES (Feb 20 – Mar 20)

Just because something’s big doesn’t make it more important. Sometimes the little things have far more influence. The issue you face concerns working out what size of challenge you’re dealing with. You’re wondering whether it’s still appropriat­e to instigate a decision you reached some time ago. Is it still relevant? Rather than tying yourself up in knots this week, trust your instinct.

ARIES (Mar 21 – Apr 20)

We live on a spinning ball of rock that orbits the sun at a speed that creates gravity to keep us all from falling off!

Yet we see our lives as being stable and imagine we know all there is to know about where we’re going. It isn’t easy to keep this extraordin­ary situation in mind every day. We should never forget that existence is a miracle. This week’s new moon brings one or two of those your way.

TAURUS (Apr 21 – May 21)

Things don’t always work out as we want them to. We often end up having to deal with the repercussi­ons of unexpected events. That’s not to say that your week will be full of reasons to think on your feet, but you should be alert to an issue that comes out of the blue and has significan­t implicatio­ns. Something surprising­ly good has the potential to turn part of your life around this week.

GEMINI (May 22 – Jun 22)

Although people who win arguments think they come out on top, real winners understand the power that comes from compromise. Logic may beat down the doors of intellectu­al resistance, but it doesn’t win friends or encourage harmony. This week brings a time of thoughtful reflection. Rather than focusing on proving a point, if you seek reasons to co-operate, you’ll find them.

CANCER (Jun 23 – Jul 23)

Some people think you’re overly sensitive. While it’s true that you can easily be hurt, this is a sign of your insightful qualities. You sometimes identify opportunit­ies that may not be quite so obvious to anyone else. This week, your ability to see the significan­ce in something subtle but crucial works in your favour. It gives you a real advantage. Pay close attention to your feelings, and then trust them.

LEO (Jul 24 – Aug 23)

There are certain aspects of your life that seem to be out of your control.

When encounteri­ng this kind of energy, you have a choice: you can either respect it or resent it; what you can’t do is change it. Or, at least, not at the speed you’d like. You’re a Leo – you know that what some people call “impossible” is just “difficult”. This week, if you just do as much as you can, you’ll see progress.

VIRGO (Aug 24 – Sep 23)

You’re under no obligation to live through the repetition of a familiar drama. Even though you may feel as if you’re going around in circles, if you look carefully, you’ll see that you’re not passing the points you’d expect to see. When we think we’re going round and round, we just make ourselves feel dizzy. If you reflect this week, you can straighten out a few key facts and make significan­t advances.

TURNS

63 ON MARCH 10

LIBRA (Sep 24 – Oct 23)

Imagine you’ve got a container full of liquid, but you need to have more than the pot contains. Now, suppose the contents are a concentrat­e? Then, you’d be able to add water and easily make the volume you require. There’s no reason to shy away from a situation this week, just because it looks as if it’s going to be challengin­g. The cosmos brings innovative ways to find solutions.

SCORPIO (Oct 24 – Nov 22)

Though few of us have the ability to read minds, we all have psychic powers. We’re all born with such sensitivit­y that we build defence mechanisms. One of the side effects is that we tend to gloss over subtle signs and signals. We decide that it’s hard enough dealing with our own feelings without feeling what others feel. This week, if you “pick up” a message from the ethers, you can really help someone.

SAGITTARIU­S (Nov 23 – Dec 21)

It’s frustratin­g when you can’t do what you want to do. You’ve had enough of feeling exasperate­d and thwarted at every turn. If it feels as if someone

(or something) is working against you, a change of attitude will help. There’s a chance that you’ve struggled to understand a sensitive situation because you’re not treating it with enough respect. The cosmos encourages you to seek insight from someone wise.

CAPRICORN (Dec 22 – Jan 20)

Sharon Stone

You know the story of David and Goliath. It describes how someone little can stand up to someone gigantic. If only it were so easy in real life. It may not be obvious to you, but someone views you as immensely powerful, and it’s having an effect on your relationsh­ip. If you take advantage of the celestial insight on offer this week, you’ll be able to set their perspectiv­e right and have them as a friend rather than a foe.

AQUARIUS (Jan 21 – Feb 19)

You go out of your way not to let people down and would rather be thought of as unhelpful from the start of a project than disappoint someone. The problem is that you’ve got so much on your plate, it’s hard to weigh up all the options. This week brings extra insight: it’s OK to be impulsive. You have the experience to assess any challenges and will be able to prioritise. You know what you’re doing.

Visit bodyandsou­l.com.au/ horoscopes to see what the stars have in store for you, each and every day

For horoscope forecasts by phone … Call 1300 017 319. Max call cost $1.32 per minute, including GST. Higher charges from mobiles/payphones may apply. Customer care: 1300 366 702.

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