Erectile dysfunction can be a troubling realisation for men both in and out of relationships. While a multitude of factors may be contributing to the problem, a nutritional approach to sex could assist in combatting some of these symptoms, says international nutrition expert Patrick Holford.
“There’s nothing greater than a fear of failure to ‘perform’ to put a man off sex. Profoundly relaxing and invigorating, sex is a wonderful antidote to the crazed pace of our century,” says Holford.
A lack of interest in sex, impotence and early ejaculation are all symptoms of sexual health problems that occur at any age in a man’s life. Many men shy away from seeking help for fear of judgement; however, simple lifestyle changes may be a good first step.
“A healthy sexual drive is not a simple matter of taking a magic potion, there are many factors that influence desire, including environment, emotional triggers, insecurity, past experiences and a lack of communication. Aside from these, lifestyle plays a large role,” says Holford.
The major ‘mood killer’ is stress, which when prolonged, has negative effects on hormone balance, in addition to many other health aspects.
“Testosterone and cortisol are steroid hormones, derived from progesterone. If your body is focused on producing cortisol to compensate for long-term stress, testosterone production is put on hold,” says Holford.
While sex may be the major concern, sexual problems could also be an indication of other health problems that need to be addressed.
“Erectile dysfunction could be a sign of a blockage in the artery to the penis (atherosclerosis), diabetes or nerve damage,” says Holford.
It is clear that there is no simple solution to the problem, and while many turn to quick-fix medications, Holford says this does little to solve the problem and merely conceals it. He maintains that lifestyle changes are the best way to a long-term solution.
“There are several nutrients and herbs that have been studied in terms of their aphrodisiac qualities – many of which just need replenishing,” says Holford.
- Dark chocolate – go for a cocoa content of 70% or more and choose organic wherever possible.
- Oysters – while cliché these shellfish are the richest source of Zinc.
- Strawberries – low in glycaemic carbohydrates, you can eat these romantic berries guilt-free.
- Avocados – stick to a maximum of three servings per week.
- Lentils – have two cups a day of this rich source of protein.
- Garlic – while not conducive to fresh breath, it is one of the top sources of antioxidants.
- Mushrooms – a great source of niacin and Vitamin D.
- Broccoli – rich in Vitamins B and C.
“We can’t always ensure that we are eating sufficient quantities of these foods to notice a difference, which is why it is a good idea to supplement as well,” says Holford.
For more information about sexual health, nutrition and Patrick Holford’s range of supplements, visit www.holforddirect.co.za.