Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Best & Worst Foods for Your Sex Drive

Simple changes in your diet will go a long way.

It's no secret that the unhealthy American diet is contributing to an epidemic of obesity. But there's another hidden epidemic that our fatty diets are at the root of: a national sex crisis.

In 1996, the average American had sex 138 times a year. Compare that to 2007, when people reported having sex just 85 times a year. That's a staggering 38 percent decrease in a little more than a decade. Furthermore, psychologists estimate that as many as 1 in 5 couples are in a sexless marriage, which means sex less than 10 times a year. In other words, our sex drive is in a deep dive.

One of the big culprits, for both men and women, is obesity. As a person's weight soars, their libido plummets due to biochemical changes that result in diminished blood flow—there's simply no sex without strong blood flow. And even when Americans do manage to have sex, the extra weight they're bringing to the bedroom also hinders their ability to have children—with men, it's damaged sperm; with women, it's ovulation problems.

The good news: With some simple changes to your diet, courtesy of Eat This, Not That!, you can revitalize your sex life and reinvigorate your relationship. How? First, as you consume filling foods with fewer calories, you'll begin to shed the weight that's dragging down your desire. Then, because these foods also contain ingredients and nutrients that strategically boost sexual attraction and performance, you'll squeeze even more satisfaction out of each and every sexual encounter.

* Reinvigorate: Impart vigour, strength, or vitality to.

For the hormone rush

Eat This: Dark chocolate

Per 1 oz: A unit of weight equal to one sixteenth of a pound or 16 drams or 28.349 grams

1 pound= 453.584 gram

  • 162 calories
  • 11 g fat (6 g saturated)
  • 10 g sugars

Chocolate is full of anandamide and phenylethylamine, two compounds that cause the body to release the same feel-good endorphins triggered by sex and physical exertion. Cocoa also contains methylxanthines, which make skin sensitive to every erotic touch. A team of U.S. and Canadian researchers found that chocolate stimulates the same brain centers that respond to cocaine, but that eating too much can eliminate the effect. Aim for dark chocolate, which packs more cocoa than lighter milk chocolates, and keep portions small.

Not That: White Chocolate

White chocolate isn’t technically chocolate, since it doesn’t contain any actual cocoa—which means no heightened skin sensitivity, or rush of feel-good hormone serotonin.

For energy

Eat This: 6-oz. sirloin steak

  • 414 calories
  • 24 g fat (10 g saturated)
  • 46 g protein

Protein has been shown to naturally boost levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, two chemicals in the brain that heighten sensitivity during sex. Your steak is also packed with zinc—a mineral that boosts libido by reducing production of a hormone called prolactin, which may interfere with arousal.

Not That: An energy drink

While the caffeine and sky-high sugar content will initially leave you bursting with energy, you’re setting yourself up for a major crash not far down the line. Additionally, Canadian scientists found that maintaining a diet high in sugar can temporarily lower your testosterone levels, which in turn can sap your sex drive—whether you’re a man or a woman. See, the more testosterone you have, the higher your arousal levels. That means greater lubrication for women, stronger erections for men. Too much sugar sends your T/ testosterone into hibernation—and your libido will go with it.

For excitement

Eat This: Chilies

Per 1 pepper

  • 18 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 1 g fiber

Pop a caliente chili pepper in your mouth to keep things hot: They contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that causes your heart to race and your skin to flush—a sure sign that blood flow is on the fast track. They dilate blood vessels and help all of that blood get where it's needed.

Not That: Non-fat popcorn

The carbohydrates in popcorn will release serotonin, which, while it makes you feel good, also makes you feel sleepy. You want to experience a rush of endorphins, not drowsiness.

For power

Eat This: Vanilla ice cream

Per half cup:

  • 137 calories
  • 7 g fat (4 g saturated)
  • 14 g sugars
  • 2 g protein

Ice cream has high levels of calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that build your muscles’ energy reserves and may help boost your libido. All that calcium—200 milligrams in the typical bowl—can also make you more sexually charged, since the muscles that control sexual response need calcium in order to contract properly.

Not That: Tomatoes

They’re great for you in other ways, but tomatoes’ lycopene and phytofluene can decrease testosterone levels. The effect isn’t dramatic, but you may be better off skipping the marinara sauce if you want to get saucy.

For performance

Eat This: Blueberries

Per 1/2 cup of berries:

  • 40 calories
  • 10 g carbohydrates
  • 7 g sugars

Forget Viagra. Mother Nature's original blue potency capsules may do even more for you. Blueberries are high in soluble fiber, which helps remove excess cholesterol from the blood before it gets absorbed and deposited on artery walls. Blueberries also relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. What that means, of course, is that more blood enters the penis to produce stronger erections. For maximum potency and performance, eat a serving of blueberries at least three or four times a week.

Not That: Soda

Soda pop will weaken your sex drive. Too much sugar will lead to spikes and crashes in your blood glucose, ultimately weakening your testosterone levels (and your sex drive).

For a sexy mindset

Eat This: Oysters

Per 6 medium oysters:

  • 50 calories
  • 1 g fat (0 g saturated)
  • 150 mg sodium
  • 4 g protein

These slippery shellfish have been shucked in the name of love for centuries, but it wasn’t until 2005 that a team of researchers identified two amino acids in shellfish that had been linked in another study to increased sexual hormone release in rats. If that’s not a tenuous enough link to love, consider that oysters are also high in zinc, which regulates some sexual hormones and boost semen production. Critics question just how potent the shellfish really are, but the history of shellfish as a heralded aphrodisiac could contribute to a small psychosomatic boost.

* Shuck: Remove from the shell; withdrew.

Not That:

Phallic foods

Suggestive staples—bananas, avocados, strawberries—can prompt provocative thoughts, but so far no scientific research has shown them to offer any physical benefits.

For relaxation

Drink This: A glass of wine

Per 5 fl. ounces:

  • 125 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 1 g sugar

It’s true: A glass of wine really does take the edge off. University of Toronto researchers discovered that one alcoholic drink caused people’s blood vessels to relax. Booze acts as a depressant in the brain’s cerebral cortex, lowering inhibitions that could otherwise restrain arousal. Cerebral cortex main function is to inhibit the emotional functions. So when the function of the cerebral cortex is inhibited there is much more emotional release or sexual arousal.

Not That: A bottle of wine

The University of Toronto researchers who found out about wine’s relaxation effects also found that drinking two glasses of alcohol began to reverse the effects. And research from the University of Washington found that intoxicated men with blood alcohol levels of 0.08 to 0.1 percent (about two or three drinks) had lower “peak erection levels.”

By : Dave Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, Men's Health

Our motto: One step ahead, everyday.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Theories and Effects of Aging


The study of aging - gerontology - is a relatively new science that has made incredible progress over the last 30 years. In the past, scientists looked for a single theory that explained aging. There are two main groups of aging theories. The first group states that aging is natural and programmed into the body, while the second group of aging theories say that aging is a result of damage which is accumulated over time. In the end, aging is a complex interaction of genetics, chemistry, physiology and behavior i.e. behaviour disposed programming of neural and genetics circuit.

By understanding and describing how we age, researchers have developed several different theories of aging. The two categories are: programmed theories and error theories.

Programmed Theories assert that the human body is designed to age and there is a certain biological timeline that our bodies follow ( and after it there is gradual depletion of body mechanism).

Programmed Longevity: Aging is caused by certain genes switching on and off over time.

Endocrine Theory: Changes in hormones control aging.

• Immunological Theory: The immune system is programmed to decline over time, leaving people more susceptible to diseases.

Error Theories assert that aging is caused by environmental damage to our body's systems, which accumulates over time.

• Wear and Tear: Cells and tissues simply wear out.

• Rates of Living: The faster an organism uses oxygen, the shorter it lives. Our respiration rate is about 12-15 times per minute and that of organism as turtles have about 4/ minutes. Certainly turtles live longer than human.

• Cross-Linking: Cross-linked proteins accumulate and slow down body processes.

• Free Radicals: Free radicals cause damage to cells that eventually impairs function.

Somatic DNA Damage: Genetic mutations cause cells to malfunction.

Genetics and Aging

Studies have demonstrated that genetics can play a major role in aging. When researchers adjust the genes in certain mice, yeast cells and other organisms, they can almost double the lifespan of these creatures. The meaning of these experiments for people is not known, but researchers think that genetics account for up to 35 percent of the variation in aging among people. Some key concepts in genetics and aging include:

• Longevity Genes: There are specific genes which help a person live longer.

• Cell Senescence (ageing): The process by which cells deteriorate over time.

• Telomeres: Structures on the end of DNA that eventually are depleted, resulting in cells ceasing to replicate.

• Stem Cells: These cells can become any type of cell in the body and hold promise to repair damage caused by aging. In recent researches, placental contents have been found high quality stem cells.

No matter what genes you have inherited, your body is continually undergoing complex biochemical reactions. Some of these reactions cause damage and, ultimately, aging in the body. Studying these complex reactions is helping researchers understand how the body changes as it ages. Important concepts in the biochemistry of aging include:

• Free Radicals: Unstable oxygen molecules which can damage cells.

• Protein Cross-Linking: Excess sugars in the blood stream can cause protein molecules to literally stick together. Alcoholic product release OH- radicals which decreases the viability of the blood.

• DNA Repair: For unknown reasons, the systems in the body to repair DNA seem to become less effective in older people.

• Heat Shock Proteins: These proteins help cells survive stress and are present in fewer numbers in older people.

• Hormones: The body's hormones change as we age, causing many shifts in organ systems and other functions.

Body Systems
As we age, our body's organs and other systems make changes. These changes alter our susceptibility to various diseases and infections. Researchers are just beginning to understand the processes that cause changes over time in our body systems. Understanding these processes is important because many of the effects of aging are first noticed in our body systems. Here is a brief overview of how some body systems age:

• Heart Aging: The heart muscle thickens with age as a response to the thickening of the arteries. This thicker heart has a lower maximum pumping rate.

• Immune System Aging: T cells take longer to refill in older people and their ability to function declines.

• Arteries and Aging: Arteries usually to stiffen with age, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood through them.

• Lung Aging: The maximum capacity of the lungs may decrease as much as 40 percent between ages 20 and 70.

• Brain Aging: As the brain ages, some of the connections between neurons seem to be reduced or less efficient. This is not yet well understood. Actually conditioning of some behaviour as a result of learning and rehearsing increases the chances of the axon and dendrite connections. This eventually increase the efficiency of brain.

• Kidney Aging: The kidneys become less efficient at cleaning waste from the body.

• Bladder Aging: The total capacity of the bladder declines and tissues may atrophy, causing incontinence (Involuntary urination or defecation).

• Body Fat and Aging: Body fat increases until middle age and then weight typically begins to decrease. The body fat also moves deeper in the body as we age.

• Muscle Aging: Muscle tone declines about 22 percent by age 70, though exercise can slow this decline.

• Bone Aging: Starting at age 35, our bones begin to lose density. Walking, running and resistance training can slow this process.

• Sight and Aging: Starting in the 40s, difficulty seeing close detail may begin.

• Hearing and Aging: As people age, the ability to hear high frequencies declines.

Behavioral Factors
The good news is that many of these causes of aging can be modified through your behaviors:

• By eating foods loaded with antioxidants, you can minimize damage caused by free radicals.

• By exercising, you can limit bone and muscle loss.

• By keeping your cholesterol low, you can slow the hardening of your arteries and protect your heart.

• By practicing mental fitness, you can keep your brain sharp.

Lifestyle factors have also been shown to extend life. Rats and mice on a calorie restricted diet (30 percent fewer daily calories) live up to 40 percent longer. Positive thinking has also been shown to extend life in people by up to 7.5 years.

By Mark Stibich, Ph.D.,