By Rebecca Ramdeholl, RHN
As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I often come across a very common complaint, especially among women. The juice is just not flowing anymore. The energy that used to be there has totally disappeared, as real life just zapped everything! The fatigue just seems to become overwhelming as it seeps into every aspect of your life – your relationships, your work, your home life. Your zest for life is zilch and you just can’t figure out why something as awesome as sex can’t do the job anymore. Even playing with your toys alone just seems pointless, because you just can’t get into it.
This overwhelming fatigue is such a prevalent issue, that the pharmaceutical industry has hopped on to this new cash crop by using the Direct-to-Consumer Advertising route – check out their pros and cons here. Along with fatigue, depression/anxiety is not to far behind, and studies have confirmed that depression is on the rise (source). Is anyone surprised that this is the case? In our race to keep up with our careers, our kids, our finances, we usually start sacrificing our mental and physical health during the run. That coffee is very enticing when you’re feeling super tired from another crappy night of non-sleep. That drink after work is the ONLY thing that will make you forget that unproductive day at the office. Kids down for a nap, or finally out of the house at school? CHOCOLATE binge! When you finally slow down to take a breath, you realize that you haven’t had sex in AGES!! Does any of this sound familiar?
Stress and fatigue can be amplified by poor nutrition. It’s a terrible cycle where poor nutrition increases your risk of developing fatigue and reducing your ability to cope with every day stresses, and at the same time, being in stress and fatigue makes you eat poorly. Eating on the run, or under stress, is a sure way to give yourself a messed up digestive system, and when your digestive system doesn’t function properly, the resulting issues may arise:
- Hormonal imbalances (balance is needed to manage weight, deal with stress, regulate period, and energy)
- Weight issues
- Improper function of colon, leading to constipation
- Poor absorption of vitamins and minerals needed to build and maintain an awesome reproductive system – as well as deficiencies in protein and essential fatty acids through malabsorption
When this starts happening, no one feels sexy. Stress is one of the key emotional factors in an underactive stomach. When you’re stressed, your digestion shuts down. It’s going into Fight or Flight. Energy and processes reserved for the digestion gets re-routed to energizing your limbs, accelerating your heartrate, and directing your body to get ready to run away from the Lion baring down on us! Wait. What lion? Yes, this is what our Fight/Flight system is meant for. To run away from actual physical danger and survive. Your body is so amped up and ready to go – therefore you’ll hear about people who can lift cars up off the ground in a moment of sheer strength. Your Fight/Flight system gives you immediate strength and speed to get the hell out of Dodge! But it’s a fleeting strength. It wears the body out so much, that we are meant to rest for a few days to recover. It is also meant to be used sparingly and in dire times of need, due to its exhausting nature. Three of your body systems take a beating due to the involvement in this survival technique – the Nervous System, the Glandular (Hormonal) System and the Cardiovascular System, in that order. Our body still pretty much works the same way it did ages ago, when this system of survival was particularly useful. Now, fast forward a few thousand years……we are now going through the Fight/Flight System two or three times….A DAY! Going through this so many times a day, sex is the LAST thing that the body is thinking about. But it’s all LIES! We are not in a state of our evolution that we need to be utilizing this process of survival every day. Serious stress management is needed here, and of course, there’s always some amazing nutritional help to ease the stress and dull the edge.
By managing the stress a little better, this will lead to better digestion of your food, absorbing those important building blocks of hormones that you need to have a more fulfilling, energy-filled, sexy life again.
Foods to Help Your Sex Life:
1 – Avocado – a great source of essential fatty acids, one of the macronutrients that are poorly absorbed when you have an underactive stomach. EFAs are needed for regulating periods, and it’s one of the building blocks of hormones, and an important component of the nervous system, so it may help reduce anxiety/depression occurrences (source).
2 – Bananas – a wonderful source of Zinc. When zinc is not properly absorbed in men, its decreasing levels can result in poor sperm production, reduced testosterone, and impotence. When zinc is introduced, studies have shown an increase in semen volume, progressive sperm motility and total normal sperm count were increased (source). Along with zinc, bananas also are a good source of B vitamins and Bromelain, both of which can increase desire in men (source).
3 – Replace caffeine – with a non-caffeinated beverage. Caffeine is known as a diuretic, which push water out of the system. Makes you pee a lot! So, not only is dehydration on the horizon, but caffeine is a known trigger of the Fight/Flight system. Now you’re peeing all the time, and you’re stressed. Not exactly a situation conducive to chill, love-making. This addictive substance is hard to give up for those who depend on it to stay alive, but there are alternatives. There are some great coffee substitutes out there, such as my favorite, DandyBlend – very reminiscent of coffee, but with ingredients that the body is much happier with, such as Dandelion, and Chicory Root (the coffee substitute). You can also try switching to Green Tea to make the transition to a caffeine-free life easier. Green Tea has caffeine still, but much lower quantity than coffee. So, if you find that you are going through headaches while in withdrawal, grab the Green Tea or even water to take the edge off.
4 – Water – drink water with lemon in the morning to initiate digestive juices and stimulate appetite (source). If you don’t like lemon, you can use papaya, mango or limes. Water is a great way to start lubrication, and getting your blood moving in your body. Remember, for an erection or clitoral erection (glans and shaft) to occur, it needs blood to accumulate there, and if your bodily fluids are not up to par, you might not be getting the best accumulation. Lemon water is also a great way to get some extra Vitamin C in your system to replenish its stores, as it becomes depleted trying to alleviate the stress (source).
5 – Pumpkin seeds – Another nutritional powerhouse, with its star performer being Zinc. Pumpkin Seeds have shown in research to have a positive effect on Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (enlarged prostate) and Prostatitis (Wolfe, 2009). Total buzz kills! Aging men typically experience a decline in zinc levels, which leads to a testosterone deficiency. Age is a silly reason to not have sex, since studies have shown that older people who are regularly sexually active have better mental health (source). While pumpkin seeds are well-known for their benefits to male sexual health, such as building seminal fluid and increasing sperm count, women also stand to benefit as zinc helps with the building of hormones, and increase in sexual fluids as well. It also has the added bonus of being effective in reducing depression in women (source).
Your body is meant to be active, vibrant and beautiful in all its naked glory. Our bodies are amazing and it’s always looking out for us and working its magic to help get us to that state again. Did you know that it only takes 2 weeks for your taste buds to change? Every 60 seconds, 200 million cells in our bodies are renewed, revitalized or re-formed? 300 billion new cells are created every day! Given the good raw materials that are provided by whole, fresh, clean foods, every day is an amazing opportunity for you to renew yourself and re-ignite an amazing sex life!
Wolfe, David. Eating for Beauty. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley. 2009.