As I take a few hours to go through my pantry and fridge to clean up my eating habits, I’m pleased as punch with my bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter, the veggie drawer fully stocked, and two bottles of my favorite red wine parked next to the toaster. All that – courtesy of a trip to the local farmer’s market.
I’m also pondering recipes for a pleasurable and healthy weekend. I’m considering what comprises a tasty spread… to feel good in all the ways that matter – physical, emotional, sexual and sensual.
Shouldn’t we remember that “you are what you eat” covers the gamut of who we are, and how we feel about ourselves? Surely, food and drink can enhance or plague our love lives in far more ways than the obvious.
Food, Fun, Feeling Good
Why is it that we often discuss food in the context of how much we weigh and how we look? Both are important of course, but what about nutrition in the larger sense?
This article on women’s health and foods may not be applicable to some of us depending on our stage in life. But these words couldn’t ring more true for me in terms of healthy habits and self-esteem:
… there’s no denying that eating — emotional or not — affects our lives in ways we don’t fully appreciate.
Among other things, the article reminds us that we bond over food, we judge people by what we see them eat, and when we’re hungry, we’re more likely to fight. The social and emotional components to eating are pervasive. So naturally, the consequences flow through to our sex lives.
Taking a broader view, what about foods that might fix health problems – or at least, improve them? This CNN report on food addresses a number of common “feel bad” challenges, from insomnia to jet lag and acne to mood swings, highlighting several specific eating and drinking habits, as well as foods, that can assist.
Now we all know the mythology around aphrodisiacs – the weekend has arrived, so kindly pass the oysters…
Whatever you believe about aphrodisiacs in general – food, drink, herbs – if we’re eating well, don’t we feel better about ourselves? It follows then that we would feel better about pairing up, and there’s plenty of psychological and physiological reason to believe it.
On the libido front – hey, remember, it’s the weekend – do you know why oysters are considered aphrodisiacs?
According to the Science Channel’s list of Top 10 Aphrodisiacs, it’s the high zinc content, not to mention iron. (Zinc is good for sperm, and without iron, we’re too pooped to play.)
Libido Boosting Foods
What else makes the list?
In fact, it ranks as number two. Surely the women reading this are nodding their heads in affirmation. Doesn’t a small square of the sweet stuff cure whatever ails you, albeit temporarily?
Chocolate contains serotonin, a chemical that makes you happy and thus more inclined to show your partner some affection. It also has caffeine, which keeps you awake long enough to take care of business.
While I will leave you to explore the strange and interesting items that comprise the remainder of their list, I can’t help but marvel at this one: pumpkin pie! Studies show that the aroma of pumpkin pie increases offers significant benefits in the arousal department for men, and likewise, revs up a woman’s desire.
Green is Good!
Here’s another tasty tidbit I wouldn’t have known about: basil. According to Eat Something Sexy’s list of libido foods:
… basil’s leaves contain a variety of libido-lifting nutrients. It is considered a good source of Vitamin A. It also provides beta carotene, magnesium, potassium and C.
Color me thrilled that I came home from the local farmer’s market with a generous bunch of saucy sprigs along with my baskets of berries!
Speaking of which, Fitness Magazine’s selection of libido-boosting foods includes blackberries, broccoli, and cloves… No, not together. But the inclusion of cloves does reinforce the mention of pumpkin pie. (Perhaps I should consider a little oven action for this evening?)
Also on their list are ginseng, ginger, and saffron. These aren’t spices I typically cook with, but I’m open to the adventure of uncovering their supposed powers.
By the way, Fitness Magazine says no to the oysters, pointing out that they absorb toxins in the ocean, and apparently you can get just as much zinc out of spinach.
Foods to Lower “Bad” Cholesterol
Generally speaking, if I feel better – healthier, fitter, energetic – I’m more in the mood for whatever pleasures or problems may come my way. So while we’re on the subject of healthy eating, why not consider dietary recommendations to manage cholesterol?
Reviewing this slide show on Everyday Health, among the foods we should include to lower cholesterol are beans and legumes, green tea, tomatoes, nuts and… both red wine and chocolate!
Naturally, we need to consume in moderation. That’s the tricky part, if you’re a chocolate lover and even an occasional emotional eater, as some of us are.
Foods to Lower Blood Pressure
Our hectic lives? Its hard to feel romantic if you’re stressed and pressed, not to mention sick. So we’d better not forget to address high blood pressure.
Referencing DASH Guidelines (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), Healthline tells us to consume:
… foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In general, you should eat more low-fat protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Specifics include leafy greens, potatoes, bananas, and to my surprise, skim milk. (I adore skim milk, and have been lax in drinking it. I’m making a mental note for the grocery list.)
SNL: Saturday Night… Love?
I’m feeling desire coming on for… a nice tomato basil salad (with spinach). Hold the oysters, but bring on a full-bodied, round, slightly peppery red. Some believe wine is the secret to a flourishing sex life, remember?
Let’s not forget the importance of the “sensual” mention. For me that means awareness of scent, color and texture. (That salad qualifies on all counts!)
As for anything else on the menu for my Saturday night?
I’ll leave that to your imagination. But the bottom line for feeling sexy is simple, if you ask me. If we don’t care enough about ourselves to treat our bodies with respect and consume what is healthy, how can we possibly expect to enjoy our best selves with those we love?
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