( Cebu Daily News) - IN A previous column, we discussed the several health benefits from sex, a natural human activity that is psychologically and physically essential to well-being and the relative sense of youthfulness among most people.For millennia, people have explored and experimented ways to improve their libido and sex life. The Chinese have extensively used the expensive rhino horns, the Romans, hippo snout and hyena eyeballs, as sex-enhancers. In the United States, people spent about $1.4 billions in 2005, to treat male sexual dysfunction, reported the Amsterdam-based healthcare information firm Wulters Kluwer. This does not include the trillions of dollars spent around the world by the victims of fraud perpetrated by dozens of unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies.Goaded by profit, manufacturers all over the world have introduced "sex beverages, lotions, potions, and pills" that are no better than fruit juices and sugar capsules, which are unreasonably expensive, victimizing the unsuspecting public, robbing people of their hard-earned money.
Today, the market abounds with substances claiming to be sexual "stimulants" and "libido-enhancing" concoctions and pills, which are nothing but a legal way of stealing people's money and defrauding the consumers.
Unfortunately, in spite of volumes of medical information available today attesting to the uselessness, and possible deleterious side-effects, from these "sex substances," we still have hundreds of millions of people out there who are wasting their money and risking their health, and only enriching these unconscionable companies and vendors.In contrast to these expensive and ineffective sex-enhancers on the market, there are natural foods in the grocery stores, very much less expensive, and healthier and safer, that could boost libido, sex drive, and performance in both men and women, in combination with various conducive factors we have listed near the end of this article.Helping the mood for romance, besides a healthy lifestyle, are some foods that are claimed to improve libido. Some of these sex "nutrients" from nature's own soil and water, include the following well-known and readily available items in most grocery stores: asparagus, avocado, banana, basil, bee pollen, celery, chili, fig, garlic, goji berry, maca, pumpkin seed, oysters, dark chocolates, soya beans like tofu, chick peas, carrots, cucumber, eggplants and other "phallic" vegetables and fruits, ginseng roots, and daily multi-vitamins and minerals. Fruits and vegetables, in general, is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and the sex gourmet recipe. Fried and rich foods, red meats and other high cholesterol and fatty foods make us sluggish and "too full," sensations not good for romance. Processed foods have been linked to frigidity in women and diminished sexual stamina in men. Cigarettes constrict the arteries, which reduces blood flow to our organs, and, therefore, bad for sex, and they dampen libido. And alcohol, more than a shot or two, according to Shakespeare, "increases the desire, but diminishes the performance." Bee pollen, whose role is to help fertilize is supposed to boost the sperm count, and celery is purportedly a stimulator of the production of androsterone, an odorless "aphrodisiac" found in male perspiration. Chili is said to release endorphins, the "feel good" hormone. Garlic has a high level of allicin, a substance which opens up small arteries and improves blood flow to various organs. Goji berries are dubbed as "sexual tonic" that is said to "increase testosterone, libido, youthfulness and stamina, and maca had been reported to have the ability to increase testosterone and sperm count. Pumpkin seed, which is a health food, has zinc, which is important in testosterone production. It is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids that is good our cardiovascular health. The delicious and decadent chocolates, especially the dark ones, are great antioxidants and contain phenylalanine, an amino acid that increases endorphins in the body, a potent antidepressant, a hormone that provides a great sense of "high" and overall well-being, naturally and safely. How these foods could help depends on various factors (lifestyle, belief, philosophy, attitude, etc) among the sexual partners.Obviously, the largest sex organ in the body, which is the brain, needs more than just sex foods or even pills like, Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, to work maximally for a great romantic encounter. The love for, and attraction to, one another, good health and personal hygiene, the absence of fear or distraction, the romantic words spoken to set the mood even before foreplay, the ambiance, the privacy, and the concentration, are all essential factors for lovers to have optimal romance. Naturally, the older the lovers are the more important these factors are, since their hormonal levels are much lower compared to those in younger people. But medical data abound showing that healthy men and women, even in their 70s, can outperform people in their prime of youth, who live unhealthy lifestyle.Medically speaking, one thing is clear: the healthier lifestyle one lives, the greater the person enjoys sex and maintain the ability and the pleasure longer, even in the ripe old age. After all, sex is not only for the young, but for all those young at heart with healthy mind and body.