Top 6 Foods To Fight Depression

Top 6 Foods To Fight Depression

Juice Plus Gummies

Mental health challenges are linked to low diet quality. Research found people who ate more unhealthy food were more likely to report psychological distress compared with people that eat a healthier diet. More specifically, eating fried foods or foods contain too much sugar and processed grains is linked to depression. (Jim E. Banta, Ph.D., et. Al 2019)

A recent study posted to BMC Medicine demonstrated that even people with moderate to severe depression improved their mood and signs of depression by eating a more healthful diet. The study was the first to prove that diet alone could reduce depression symptoms. The dieters followed a specific program for 12 weeks that included one-on-one nutrition counselling. The treatment diet encouraged eating whole foods while discouraging things such as refined foods, sweets, and fried food. The results: Participants showed greatly reduced symptoms when compared to other groups. In addition, more than 32 percent of participants experienced remission, so were no longer considered depressed. Jacka, O’Neil et al 2017.

But what are the specific foods or nutrients we should be consuming to help support a healthy mood? Below are our top 6!

  1. Good fats fight depression

Research shows that people who consumed the most fish were less likely to experience symptoms of depression (the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health). Given that a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of salmon provides 2,260 mg of EPA and DHA, eating this fish a few times per week is a great way to get these fats into your diet. The best oily fish to consume to get your EPA and DHA includes salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, herring, halibut, rainbow trout and tuna.

Check out our Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast for a 3-minute recipe to help you consume for healthy fats!

A recent review of clinical studies concluded that taking fish oil supplements improved depressive symptoms in people with depression, with effects comparable to those of antidepressant medications. However, the greatest improvements in depressive symptoms seemed to occur in people who were also taking antidepressants. Additionally, people tended to see greater effects when the fish oil supplement contained higher doses of EPA (1). This might likely be due to its anti-inflammatory properties since inflammation can contribute to depressive symptoms.

The fish oil supplement that we recommend that has been formulated specifically for depression is NFH Trident SAP. Check it out in our online dispensary!

 

  1. Your morning cup of coffee “pick me up”

Although coffee has its positives and negatives there is no mistaking it is an integral part of  many people’s morning routine. But interesting enough, it might also be helping to beat off the blues.

The caffeine in coffee prevents a naturally occurring compound called adenosine from attaching to brain receptors that promote tiredness, therefore increasing alertness and attention (2). Since depression can often cause people to feel low motivation and fatigue this can help to give them that much needed boost.

Moreover, coffee increases the release of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine (3). A study in 72 people found that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee significantly improved mood compared with a placebo beverage, suggesting that coffee contains other compounds that influence mood. Researchers attributed this boost in attitude to various phenolic compounds, such as chlorogenic acid. Although still, more research is needed (3).

 

#3. Eat your Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is high in health-promoting flavonoids, which have been shown to increase blood flow to your brain, reduce inflammation, and boost brain health, all of which may support mood regulation (4, 5).

Finally, chocolate has a high hedonic rating, meaning that its pleasurable taste, texture, and smell may also promote good mood (6,7).

Because milk chocolate contains added ingredients like sugar and fat, it’s best to opt for dark chocolate—which is higher in flavonoids and lower in added sugar. You should still stick to 1–2 small squares (of 70% or more cocoa solids) at a time since it’s a high calorie food. We’ve also create this Chocolate Bark recipe, if you want to super-power your daily dose of chocolate.

 

#4 . Berries every day keep the blues away

Curiously, eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to lower rates of depression (8,9). Although the mechanism isn’t clear, a diet rich in antioxidants may help manage inflammation associated with depression and other mood disorders (10).

Berries pack a wide range of antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which play a key role in combatting oxidative stress—an imbalance of harmful compounds known as free radicals in your body (10). They’re particularly high in anthocyanins, a pigment that gives certain berries their red-purple-blue colours. One study associated a diet rich in anthocyanins with a 39% lower risk of depression symptoms (11).

A study recently concluded that blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries may block the chemicals that cause depression and anxiety (12), while another recent study found that people who drank a glass of pomegranate juice (with no added sugar) each day for two weeks had measurably less depression and anxiety, as well as lower blood pressure (13). If you find it difficult to include enough fruits and veggies in your diet, check out this supplement option.

 

  1. Go Nuts for Cashews

Cashews are high in tryptophan, which, helps increase levels of that happiness-inducing neurotransmitter, serotonin.

Cashews are actually one of the best sources of the amino acid tryptophan among all plant-based foods with 1000-2000 milligrams per 1/4 cup serving. This amino acid is critical for improving the uptake of serotonin in the brain and acts as a direct precursor to the anti-depressant hormone itself. Cashews are a tiny package of iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, protein and important amino acids, and even omega 3 fats. All of these nutrients directly ward off mild depression and anxiety naturally.

So, without tryptophan in our diets, we not only can’t produce serotonin as effectively, but our bodies also can’t use the amount of serotonin that we do have. A depletion of serotonin can make us feel anxious, stressed, and just downright sad.

Consuming just a small a handful of cashews can help boost your serotonin levels!

 

#6. Have a Go with Avocados

Avocado is a superfood when it comes to depression as it contains tryptophan, folate AND omega-3. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that helps combat inflammation in the brain and also helps regulate our brain’s neurotransmitters helping our brain to run smoothly.

Three-fourths of the calories in an avocado are from fat, mostly monounsaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid. An average avocado also contains 4 grams of protein, higher than other fruits, and is filled with vitamin K, many of the B vitamins (B9, B6, and B5), vitamin C, and vitamin E12. Finally, they are low in sugar and high in dietary fibre, containing about 11 grams each.

The high levels of folate in avocados may help keep depression symptoms at bay. Foods containing high levels of folate may help to decrease the risk of depression because folate helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.

 

In summary, you can help yourself beat the blues by reducing your intake of sugar, refined grains and fried foods and incorporating more berries, avocados, oily fish, raw cashews, dark chocolate, and a morning cup of coffee into your diet. Remember, it’s making small do-able simples changes into your diet on a daily basis that can take you a long way to a happier and healthier you!

 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4872453/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519049/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30274327/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24117885/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29539647/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24117885/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16546266/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30764679/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26691768/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29662448/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29695122/
  12. Keservani RK, Sharma AK, Kesharwani RK. Medicinal Effect of Nutraceutical Fruits for the Cognition and Brain HealthScientifica (Cairo). 2016;2016:3109254.  doi:10.1155/2016/3109254
  13. Al-Dujaili E, Smail N. Pomegranate juice intake enhances salivary testosterone levels and improves mood and well being in healthy men and womenEndocr Abstr. 2012;28:313.
Getting Your Kids To Eat Their Fruits and Vegetables

Getting Your Kids To Eat Their Fruits and Vegetables

Juice Plus Gummies

Health Canada recommends that children 11 and under consume 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily, children 12 to 13 years consume 6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and for teens 14+ that they consume 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetable a day. The scary thing is that fewer than 1 in 10 Canadian children are getting their recommended servings of fruits and vegetables; and even less are consuming enough variety of fruits and vegetables to get the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.

To give you an idea of the power of whole food, there are over 350 nutrients in just an apple alone! This is way more nutrients than you would ever find in a multivitamin… definitely food for thought!

So, what can we do to help get our child to eat their fruits and vegetables?

If your kids are picky, here are 6 great strategies to help you and your family get the required fruits and veggies into their diet:

  1. Help them to grow their own herbs, fruits and vegetables. It is amazing what kids will eat if they have grown it themselves!
  2. Get them involved in helping to do meal planning, creating the grocery list, and participating in grocery shopping. The more children are a part of the process, the more ownership they have of following through and eating the food or meal.
  3. Involve them in meal preparation. Whether they help with baking healthy muffins for school lunches, making a salad, or chopping vegetables being a part of making meals helps give them a sense of purpose with contributing to the family. Even if they don’t eat it in the beginning, it is a steppingstone in the right direction.
  4. Educate your kids about why they need to eat healthy foods and why they need to limit junk food. Understanding what affects food has on their body or mental state might really help with buy in. There are many short Youtube videos that you can watch as family and discuss. 
  5. Find their motivation hook! Whether they want to be faster or stronger in hockey, have better skin, or have more energy for running, or have better focus for school – find what will resonate with your individual child and motivate them to eat better.
  6. Read books such as Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham to showcase that trying new foods that you don’t think you will like might actually be palatable and enjoyable!

For more info on why your child may be a picky eater, please check out our previous article.

If you are really challenged to get your child to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day, or if you struggle with getting or providing enough variety, then we recommend supplementing with Juice Plus chewables!

Juice Plus chewables are whole food supplements containing 30 different fruits and vegetables in a chewable and delicious kid-friendly form.

Because Juice Plus chewables are made from whole foods, the body recognizes it and knows what to do with it. Unfortunately, many other supplements for children are loaded with artificial colourings, flavourings and even food dyes that have been banned in some European countries. So, it’s left to parents to be vigilant of what is in their children’s supplement products.

Koru Nutrition loves Juice Plus products because of their research! There are over 30 studies showing that the Juice Plus product can:

  • Reduce the severity of upper respiratory challenges
  • Increase the number and activity of immune cells circulating around the body
  • Increase antioxidant nutrients in the blood
  • Reduce DNA damage
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve skin health (circulation, density, thickness and hydration)
  • Reduced cholesterol and increase in lean body mass

BONUS:
A parent can purchase the Juice Plus capsules for themselves and receive the fruit and vegetable chewables for their child for free for up to 4 years*! That is a value of $2,400! Plus, the child gets to be a part of one of the largest children’s health study, the Family Health Study.

Since starting the Family Health Study, families have reported:

  • 60% of kids were missing fewer days of school
  • 56% of kids were taking fewer over the counter and/or prescription medications
  • 71% were drinking more water
  • 66% were visiting the doctor less
  • 71% were consuming less fast food and soft drinks
  • 61% were eating more fruits and vegetables

Koru Nutrition’s owner, Certified Nutritionist Kylie James, says: “My 4 year old loves his Juice Plus chewables and often tries to sneak more.” Her kids love making chocolate bark with the Juice Plus chewables. 

If Juice Plus sounds like a fit for your family, click here if you live in CanadaIf you are in New Zealand, click here.

*Your child must be between the ages of 4 and 18 or a full-time undergraduate college student in a four-year degree

Healthy Ingredient Swap-Outs

Healthy Ingredient Swap-Outs

White flour vs Whole grain flour

It’s a really scary fact is that this is going to be the first generation where we will outlive our kids. Our Western dietary habits are setting our children up for childhood obesity, diabetes and a whole host of diseases and health condition in their future. Children have never been afflicted with more chronic illnesses and conditions than in present day.

Many parents are unknowingly contributing to this trend . It is frightening to think that the food our children are eating are potentially laying the foundation for mental health problems, cancer, heart attacks, strokes… and the list goes on. 

Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons for this…

  • Highly processed foods tend to be cheaper and more available and these processed foods are void or limited in nutrients but loaded with saturated fats, artificial preservatives, colorings and flavourings that are detrimental to our nervous systems, organs and brain function. 
  • Portion sizes have steadily increased over the years. Do you remember as a kid getting the small cookie and now you just need look at the size of the cookies that are available at Starbucks that little kids are being fed that well exceeds their daily quota of sugar.
  • Both parents are now working in most families, and kids have multiple programs and sports after school resulting in not having time to prepare meals and relying on grabbing some fast food on the road.
  • Normalizing of consuming processed foods as a standard and staple meal or food that our children should consume, as opposed to it being a treat or viewed as unhealthy.
  • Marketing of children’s food products confuse parents into thinking it is a healthy food option, when most packaged and prepared foods are not.
  • Lack of education, understanding and knowledge of how impactful the foods that our children consume are in relation to their behaviours, cognition, mental state, physical health and long-term wellness.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming to make simple changes to your child’s diet and you don’t have to do it all at once. Making small changes over time and making your children a part of the process are two great way to start building healthier family eating habits. You might be surprised of the snowball effect of good, clean, healthy eating with better moods, energy levels, less outbursts, better sleep, weight loss, skin conditions resolving and even better and healthier relationships with one another. 

The number one goal to remember is to eat CLEAN!

Here are some Clean Eating Principles to incorporate:

  1. Eat food that looks like it has been from its original state ie eating a strawberry as oppose to a strawberry roll up (which looks nothing like it’s original form)
  2. Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day
  3. Consume fruit and vegetables on a daily basis for fiber, complex carbohydrates and enzymes. Kids minimum requirement is 5 servings a day
  4. Consume whole grains instead of refined white grained products that are processed and chemically charged
  5. For dinner stick to half the plate being vegetables (salad, cooked vegetables, cut up raw vegetables) and ¼ protein (chicken, fish) and ¼ carbohydrates (pasta, rice, sweet potatoes)
  6. Consume healthy fats each day such as avocado’s, fish, nuts, seeds, and coconut oil
  7. Choose lean proteins such as poultry, fish, wild game, non-GMO soy, legumes or hormone free, grass fed beef.
  8. Stick to healthy portion sizes
  9. Drink lots of water ideally 2-3 liters a day and avoid pop, store bought juices, energy drinks and other processed sugar laden drinks
  10. Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners, sweetened meals with stevia, swerve, xylitol, honey or with fruits such as apple sauce. 

Don’t know where to start?

Here are some healthy switch outs that you can make to your children’s lunches, whether they are craving salty chips or sugary cookies there are healthy alternatives to reduce their sugar-intake and calories and increase their vitamins, minerals, good fats and healthy proteins.

Food Item

Problem with this 

Healthy Alternatives

Health Benefits of this

Packet of chips

No nutritional value, high in sodium and calories, Acrylamide is a chemical in potato chips that forms when you cook potatoes at high temperatures and may increase the risk of cancer and nerve damage. 

· Roasted chickpeas

· Seaweed 

· Kale chips

· Trail mix of nuts (cashews, almond, walnuts, pecans) and/or seeds (pumpkin, chia, hemp, flax, sesame, sunflower)

· Potato salad

Higher in vitamins and minerals, good fats, fiber.

Chocolate bar

High in calories and sugar, no nutrient value 

· Home-made chocolate bark (link to recipe)

· Stevia sweetened chocolate chips

· 70%+ dark chocolate

High in minerals such as magnesium, low in sugar, good fats for brain health and energy, and can hep to satisfy sugar cravings.

Cookies

Loaded with excess sugar, refined carbohydrates (white flour) that will spike blood sugars, calories, trans fats (to preserve shelf life)

· Healthy muffins

· Home-made cookies sweetened with swerve or apple sauce

· Raw energy balls/bars

High in fiber, good fats, vitamins and minerals, help to feel satiated, reduce sugar cravings and binge eating .

Processed meats (deli meats, salami, lunchables, luncheon meats, hot dogs)

Contain nitrates that have a negative effect on the nervous system 

· Boiled eggs

· Leftover dinner

· Roast chicken

· Hormone free sausages

· Chickpeas or black beans

· Quinoa

· Lentils

Reduced saturated fats, no nitrates and other chemical based preservatives, high in vitamins and minerals, (legumes and lentils also high in fiber)

Ketchup

Loaded with hidden sugar

· Salsa

No sugar, helps increase metabolism 

Packaged and flavoured popcorn

Can contain preservatives, sugars, artificial flavourings 

· Plain, home-made cooked popcorn that you make in a pot or air popper

Free from artificial flavourings and colorings, can add healthy fat like coconut oil

Fruit loops, Frosted flakes and other sugary based cereals

Loaded with sugars that will offset blood sugars affecting mood, energy levels, focus, and cause weight gain

· Plain oatmeal with applesauce, or sliced banana, apples and cinnamon instead of sugar 

· Kashi cereals

· Shredded wheat

· Ezekiel cereals

· Ancient grains

High in fiber, complex carbohydrates, balance blood sugar levels to help with sustained energy and mood. Nutrient dense and high in B vitamins for energy and brain function.

Commercial sugary peanut butters (like Kraft)

Contains sugars and hydrogenated oils

· Unprocessed natural nut or seed butters

· Hummus

· Coconut oil

These spreads contain good fats, and complex carbohydrates, and no sugar or hydrogenated oils

Processed and sugar loaded yoghurts and yoghurt  drinks 

Contain sugars, artificial colorings, flavourings and preservatives

· Unsweetened apple sauce

· Plain Greek yoghurt with raw nuts, seeds and/or fresh fruit added

· Home-made smoothies

· Chia pudding

Nutrient dense with a combination of complex carbs, proteins and fats, can hide vegetable and fruits in smoothies that may not otherwise be consumed

White bread, bagels and crackers

Raises blood sugars, limited fiber, excess calories, nutrients depleted, do not feel satiated.

· Whole grain or brown rice breads, wraps and pitas

· Whole grain or brown rice crackers

Increased fiber and B vitamins, balances blood sugars for more sustained energy and mood throughout the day

Pop (regular or diet)

Both sugar and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame have been shown to increase insulin resistance, weight gain and increase appetite. These drinks provide no nutritional value, Phosphorus in pop can be detrimental to bone health and teeth. Contains caffeine that may cause hyperactivity in kids.

· Zevia drinks (stevia sweetened pop) or sparkling water

· Plain water with cut up fruit and herbs for flavour

Don’t spike blood sugars or contribute to weight gain, help to increase hydration needed for better focus memory and energy

 

 

We hope that by sharing these easy ingredient swap-outs, it makes choosing healthier choices for your child’s lunch a little bit simpler! Which swap are you going to try first?

 

 

 

 

Healthy Lunch Box Challenge

Healthy Lunch Box Challenge

Mother and son preparing lunchbox in kitchen

It has been a long time since our kids were at school and going back to school this year will not be the typical back-to-school experience. With staggered classes, online learning, COVID-19 looming, as well as kids adjusting to a “new normal” after 6 months off, it’s making for a stressful time. 

But putting lunches together should not be stressful! At Koru Nutrition we want to make sure you have the tools and some lunch ideas to help give your child a solid nutritional foundation, whether they are learning from school or at home. Healthy lunches are not only conducive to optimizing their learning experience, but also help to support healthy immune systems! 

 

Lunch Box Goals

#1. Eat the Rainbow

Health Canada recommends that children 11 and under should be consuming 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily. If your children are 12 to 13 years, they require 6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and for teens 14+ females require at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and males 14+ need 8 servings of fruits and vegetable a day. 

Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) indicates that approximately 70% of children aged four to eight years, and 65% aged nine to 13 years, do not consume the recommended minimum five servings of fruits and vegetables daily (11). Fruits and vegetables contain fiber to help regulate the bowels and support a healthy gut flora. They contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients to support brain health, mood, and immune system. So, it is vital that we ensure our kids are getting these foods into their diet—ideally at every meal!

If your kids don’t like vegetables, it is amazing where you can hide them. Check out these “Green Shrek Muffins”.

Goal: Incorporate at least one fruit and one vegetable into your child’s lunch box each day.

 

#2. Choose Healthy Carbohydrates

It’s important to avoid the temptation of putting sugar-laden processed treats into our child’s lunch box. Your kid might be happy in the moment, but you are not doing them any favours with their ability to remain focused, learn and maintain a stable mood throughout the day. Blood sugar imbalances can occur leading to behavioural and emotional challenges both during school hours and after school, which can make it tough on everyone.

Complex carbohydrates not only include the fruits and vegetables above, but they also include whole grains, legumes and lentils. Some healthy options include roasted chickpeas, a whole grain sandwich or wrap, whole grain muffin sweetened with apple sauce (not sugar), left over dinner of brown rice or whole grain pasta, brown or basmati rice (not white rice), or vegetable chilli in a thermos. You can even make some healthy sweet treats from these ingredients such as black bean brownies or chickpea blondies. Complex carbohydrates will help fuel your child’s brain during the day.

Goal: Incorporate 1-2 complex carbohydrates into your child’s lunch box.

 

#3. Don’t Forget Good Fats

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of healthy fats in your child’s diet and avoiding the bad fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, because these bad fats can displace the good fats from your child’s brain. Healthy fats make up 60% of your brain and are critical to support healthy brain function. Research shows that good fats such as omega-3 can help boost memory and cognition and help support a healthy mood. Healthy fats include raw nuts and seeds, nut/seed butters, eggs, coconut oil, ketogenic recipe snacks, raw energy balls, avocado, and olives, although you may need to avoid nut-based products on days your child is at school. The standard western diet does not tend to provide enough healthy fats for our health, but we can change this!

Goal: Incorporate at least one healthy fat into your child’s lunch.

 

#4. Eat Clean & Lean Protein Sources

Protein has many important functions for the body and the brain. It helps to make neurotransmitters to help us focus, stay motived, plan and problem solve. However, so much of our children’s options for protein are highly processed and loaded with hidden sugars, artificial colourings and preservatives that only serve to hinder their brain function and health as opposed to help it. Examples of these “unhelpful” protein foods include processed deli meats, luncheon meats, hotdogs, processed cheeses, and Cheez Whiz.

Alternatively, healthy proteins include a boiled egg, left over dinner such as chicken, steak, salmon, cans of tuna, seeds, chickpeas, hummus, seaweed, quinoa, non GMO soy, plain Greek yoghurt, kefir, hormone free sausages, protein powder etc. 

Goal: Include a healthy protein into your children’s lunch each day.

 

#5. Stay Hydrated

We all hear that we need to drink water, but it helps to know why. Just a 2% drop of hydration can cause fuzzy short-term memory and a 5% drop in water levels in the body can cause 25- 30% loss of energy. But it is important to consider what your child is drinking as most people, including children, are consuming their excess sugar intake from sugar-sweetened beverages. There is no need to pack juice boxes for kids’ lunches as the health benefits of the fruit juice has been lost in processing leaving a sugar-loaded drink with limited nutritional value. Just stick to good old plain water!

Goal: Have a water bottle packed each day for your child. If they are not partial to plain water, you can use stevia-sweetened flavourings or cut up fruit in it. If it is a hot day add in ice cubes. 

 

Putting It All Together

Following these guidelines, will be a great start to help give your child the nutrients and fuel they need to stay focused and engaged in learning as well as support a healthy immune system, which in these current times is just as important.

So, each day in your child’s lunch aim to include:

      • At least one fruit
      • At least one vegetable
      • 1-2 complex carbohydrates
      • A good fat
      • A healthy protein
      • Water

With these nutritional bases covered, not only will you be providing your child with the foundation for optimal physical functioning, but you may find other improvements such as improved mood, less tantrums, better sleep and better interactions with their peers and family members. 

All the best during this back-to-school season, and good luck with your lunch box challenge!

Top 5 Foods To Boost Your Libido

Top 5 Foods To Boost Your Libido

Woman Eating Chocolate

    Lack of libido can create problems for relationships and couple’s ability to feel connected. There can be a number of factors that impact a person’s desire to “get frisky”; including psychological reasons such as stress, depression, and anxiety, medications, self-esteem, and so on. Low libido may also be due to hormones being out of balance, or circulatory problems such as poor blood flow.

    Consuming a diet high in healthy fats, whole fruits and vegetables, and antioxidants is a good start to supporting a healthy libido; and avoiding trans fats and saturated fats, sugar, and processed foods can help too. But are there any foods that can specifically help boost your sex drive and performance?

    Yes! Here are our top 5 foods that you might want to incorporate into you and or your partner’s diet to help keep the “fire” going or to get that “spark” started.

     

    #1. Ginkgo Biloba

    Ginkgo Biloba is a a tree, native to China, that has been grown for thousands of years for a variety of uses. Ginkgo has the ability to improve blood levels of nitric oxide, which improves circulation via the dilation of blood vessels (1).

    As a result, ginkgo biloba may also be useful for treating various symptoms of sexual dysfunction by improving blood flow to those areas of the body.

    Research has been done on the use of ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. After consuming 60–120 mg of ginkgo biolba daily both male and female participants said they experienced positive effect on all 4 phases of the sexual response cycle: desire, excitement (erection and lubrication), orgasm, and resolution (afterglow), although effects appeared stronger in female participants (2). This herb can be consumed in capsule, tablet, liquid extract, and dried leaves/tea form (2).

     

    #2. Eat Chocolate

    Throughout history, chocolate has been a symbol of desire. Not just because of its delicious taste, but because of its power to improve sexual pleasure.

    Dark chocolate increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, making us happy and help put us in the ‘mood’. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, which is a compound that we have been shown to produce when we are in love. Given that low mood and stress can be strongly linked with lower sex drive, a few squares of dark chocolate daily is a good way to pump up the passion. Plus, cocoa increases blood flow, which aids in stimulation during sex. 

    As a result, chocolate can produce some aphrodisiac feelings of love and mood-lifting effects. Although the role it plays in boosting a healthy libido may be more psychological than physical (3,4).

     

    #3 Pistachio Nuts

    Pistachios may have a variety of health benefits, including helping lower blood pressure, control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease (5,6,7).

    Moreover, they may also help reduce symptoms of erectile dysfunction. In one small study, men who consumed 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of pistachio nuts per day for three weeks experienced increased blood flow to the penis and firmer erections (8).

     

    #4 Oysters

    Research shared at a 2005 conference of the American Chemical Society that oysters, clams, and scallops contain compounds that raise testosterone and estrogen levels. This is due in part to their vitamin D and zinc levels (9). A boost in healthy hormone production translates into heightened sexual desire in many cases.

    As noted above, oysters are an excellent source of zinc and vitamin D. Six raw oysters contain 32 mg, or 291% of the Daily Value for zinc, and 269 IU or 67% of your Recommended Daily Intake for vitamin D; both of which can help boost testosterone levels, and subsequently aid in blood flow to sexual organs in both genders.

    Don’t care for mollusks? Feast on lobster or crab instead. Both types of shellfish are loaded with zinc too (9).

     

    #5 Maca

    Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root vegetable that mainly grows in the Andes of central Peru. Maca is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. It has been used for years to enhance fertility and sex drive.

    A 12-week study noted that 42% of men who took 1,500–3,000 mg of maca daily experienced an increased sex drive (10). Furthermore, in a review of 4 studies in 131 people, taking maca consistently for at least 6 weeks improved sexual desire. It also helped treat mild erectile dysfunction in men (11).

    Additionally, some evidence suggests that maca may help combat the loss in libido that may occur as a side effect of certain antidepressant medications (12).

    Most studies found that taking 1.5–3.5 grams daily for at least 2–12 weeks was sufficient to boost libido (13, 14). You can buy supplements in various forms including powders, capsules, and liquid extracts.

     

    So, eat a whole foods-based diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, incorporating our top 5 foods to boost your libido, to kick your sex drive into overdrive. Feel the love!

     

    References

    1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18446847/
    2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9611693/
    3. https://works.bepress.com/emmanueloheneafoakwa/90/
    4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00236.x
    5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24980134/
    6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20833992/ 
    7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21228801/
    8. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-03/acs-oc030805.php
    9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12472620/
    10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20691074/
    11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25954318/
    12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12472620/
    13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20691074/ 

     

    Top 10 Health Benefits of Sex

    Top 10 Health Benefits of Sex

    Ketogenic Meal

    cOutside of the probable immediate pleasure, sexual activity (especially on a regular basis) has some other surprising health benefits! Sexual activity, whether intercourse or masturbation, can offer many benefits to all facets of your life – Including physical, intellectual, emotional, psychological and social advantages.

    So, here are the top 10 health benefits of having sex, whether it is by yourself or with a partner!

     

    #1. Can Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

    One great thing about sex is that it can improve your cardiovascular health by not only lowering your blood pressure but strengthening muscles, burning calories and increasing heart health. Overall, it helps reduce risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension. (1)

    Individuals with active sex lives tend to exercise more frequently and have better dietary habits than those who are less sexually active. Research shows that physical fitness may also improve sexual performance overall (1). So to support a healthy heart and great sex, remember to exercise regularly.

     

    #2 Burn Calories

    If you are someone that doesn’t like working out at the gym, maybe “working out in the bedroom” might be a better and more fun approach! In a 2013 study, 21 heterosexual couples were asked to wear SenseWear fitness trackers during their lovemaking to determine how many calories were burned. The results concluded that men burn 100 calories during the average sex session (about 25 minutes), while women burn about 69 calories (2). Harvard medical school reported that sex burns about five calories per minute

     

    #3 Reduce Pain

    Believe it or not, sex can help relieve pain. A review of peer‐reviewed literature on the associations between distinct sexual activities and various factors of psychological and physical function found having an orgasm increases blood flow, and releases endorphins and other natural pain-relieving chemicals (3).

    Another study showed how engaging in sexual activity during a headache attack can positively impact headache intensity. The results of the study found: 60 percent reported an improvement during a migraine, 70 percent reported moderate to complete relief during a migraine, 37 percent reported improvement of symptoms in cluster headaches, 91 percent reported moderate to complete relief in cluster headaches (4). So…. in reality the old “oh sorry honey, I have a headache” should maybe be replaced by “Honey, I have a headache, let’s have sex!”

     

    #5. Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer

    Research shows that there could be relation between regular sex and reduction in prostate cancer. One study found that men who averaged having 4.6 to 7 ejaculations (from sex or on their own) a week were 36% less likely to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis before the age of 70. This is in comparison to men who reported ejaculating 2.3 or fewer times a week on average (5).

     

    #6. Increase Life Expectancy

    For men, sex may even affect their mortality. One study that had a 10-year follow-up reported that men who had frequent orgasms (defined as two or more a week) had a 50 percent lower mortality risk than those who had sex less often (6).

     

    #7. Look Younger

    Research is showing that frequent sexual activity, whether with a partner or alone, can make you look younger. This is partially due to the release of estrogen during sex. Estrogen helps skin stay hydrated by boosting hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a clear, gooey substance that is naturally produced by your body. Its main function is to retain water to keep your tissues well lubricated and moist (keeps skin looking young).

    A 1997 study of 3,875 postmenopausal women concluded that estrogen supplementation helped aging women have younger looking skin and also helped maintained skin’s collagen matrix, thickness, elasticity and ability to retain moisture (7).

    Another study found a correlation between frequent sexual activity and looking significantly – up to seven to 12 years – younger (8). 

     

    #8. Improve Memory with Age

    At an older age, sexual activity may affect your well-being and ability to think. Research found that sexually active adults between 50 to 90 years old had better memory. They were also less likely to feel depressed and lonely (9).

    #9 Increase the Bond in a Relationship

    Morning sex can bring you and your partner closer together. How so? Sex produces oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” Oxytocin is the chemical in the brain that controls bonding and love. When it’s released during sex, the result is feeling more connected to your partner (10).

     

    #10: Boost Your Immune System

    Reduced stress helps to support a healthy immune system, and sex can be a natural stress reliever due to the endorphins and oxytocin produced. But researchers discovered that sex can support your immunity further by triggering your body’s natural defences against bacteria, viruses, and other germs. So, “get busy” to boost your immune system! (11)

    So, if you needed a few reasons to prioritize sex more often – that wraps up our top 10 health benefits of sex! Which one has you convinced to spend a little more time “in the bedroom”?

     

    References

    1. https://www.onlinecjc.ca/article/S0828-282X(15)01501-9/abstract
    2. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?type=printable&id=10.1371/journal.pone.0079342
    3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01677.x
    4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0333102413476374
    5. http://medcraveonline.com/MOJT/MOJT-03-00065.pdf
    6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01677.x
    7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685269/
    8. https://www.prevention.com/sex/a20438081/have-sex-look-younger/
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