Busting Food Myths with Nicole Senior

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Myth: Some foods are aphrodisiacs.

Nicole Senior

Fact: If aphrodisiac foods are those which get you in the mood for love (improve your libido), then the hype surrounding foods such as oysters may be more folklore and fun rather than scientific fact. Human desire is rather more psychological than nutritional. It is probably the care and devotion involved in sourcing, preparing and sharing special foods, and the sensuality of eating them that set the scene for love, rather than the nutrients they contain. However, if the spirit is willing, the equipment must also be in order and this is where food can help.

Physical problems in the bedroom are far more common in men, and erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common culprit. Unfortunately, it occurs far too often. In a study of more than 31 000 men in the US (The Health Professionals Follow Up Study), moderate to severe erectile dysfunction was reported by 12% of men younger than 59 years; 22% of men aged 60 to 69 years; and 30% of men older than 69 years. So what can be done to avoid this distressing problem?

The blood vessels ‘down south’ become blocked just as they do in the heart because of atherosclerosis. Erectile dysfunction is an early warning sign of high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. It is also much more likely in men with the metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Young men take note: maintaining a healthy weight, lowering LDL (bad) blood cholesterol levels, maintaining ideal blood pressures and NOT smoking are important ways to look after your blood vessels and keep you loving for longer. And the same principles apply to reducing the problem once it occurs. Studies show that lifestyle changes such as lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, losing weight, and exercising can enhance sexual function by up to 70%!

So, a heart-friendly diet and lifestyle can keep your heart beating strongly in more ways than one. So what’s on the menu when it comes to food for love?

  • Colour his world with plenty of different types of vegetables and fruits
  • Make him whole again with plenty of wholegrains like oats, wholewheat breads, pasta and breakfast cereals, barley and brown rice
  • Feed him like a Greek God with Mediterranean fare such as legumes, fish, fruit and nuts
  • Grease his wheels by replacing butter, cream, pastries and fast foods with healthy oils and trans-free margarine spreads based on sunflower, canola, soybean and olive oils.
  • Give him longer lasting energy with lower GI foods such as reduced-fat milk and yoghurt, grainy breads, pasta, legumes and fruits.

It’s official: men who ‘eat to beat cholesterol’ and exercise more have better sex. Oh, and gentlemen: surveys of women suggest if you help with the housework she’ll be more receptive to your amorous advances so don’t forget to help with the washing up!

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Dietitian Nicole Senior is author of Eat to Beat Cholesterol available online at: http://www.eattobeatcholesterol.com.au/