Thursday, February 10, 2011

Be My Healthy Valentine

Improving health can improve romance
Valentine’s Day is Monday.  Are you ready for some good lovin’?  Turns out that a few healthy alternatives to the standard roses and chocolate may improve your love connection and your love making!  Even I, a confessed cynic when it comes to love, enjoy knowing that I could have a stronger relationship – mentally and physically – should my Prince Charming come calling.  So, let me offer you a few ways that could not only improve your health, it could improve your relationship with your significant other. 

Numerous studies show that exercise can improve sexual function & satisfaction for both men & women.  The basic principle is that exercise helps the body pump and circulate blood more efficiently.  So, every single body part is more, well, alive.  According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), men and women who exercise regularly have increased levels of desire, enhanced confidence, enhanced ability to achieve orgasm, and greater sexual satisfaction.  Need proof that working up a sweat is like natural and free Viagra?  A Harvard study has shown that as little as 30 minutes of walking a day can alleviate a man’s erectile dysfunction (ED).  Researchers have found that there is a correlation between a man’s waist size and his odds of having ED.  The larger the man's waist size, the greater his chance of having ED because of a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.  And ladies, we aren’t left out of this!  According to a 2004 study in Run for Life, 40% of women who ran for exercise reported greater arousal, 31% had sex more often, and 25% found orgasm easier to achieve. 

Want even more of a health boost?  Workout together.  Sweating together is actually sexy.  Yep, scientists say that male sweat contains a compound capable of lightening a woman’s mood and heightening her sexual arousal.  When humans sweat they give off pheromones – scents that affect the body of the opposite sex.  Further, couples who work out together cite stronger bond and better health.  Plus you are more likely to stick to your exercise regime.  Studies have shown that couples who exercise together increase their chances of sticking to their program by a whopping 90%!  

Whether you workout together or individually, the quality and quantity of your action between the sheets will improve.  And, there’s a bonus – you get an extra workout because you could burn about 100 calories in 30 minutes of getting busy!

In addition to exercise, eating and preparing healthy food can improve your relationship with your significant other.  Antioxidants found in produce can fight off free-radicals and help improve blood flow to all our organs.  The darker varieties of produce contain the most antioxidants and phytochemicals which can lead to improved sexual function.  Opt for blueberries, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, cranberries – eat the rainbow!  Also, bananas contain the enzyme bromelain, which can reverse impotence in men.  Heart-healthy fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, cod) and nuts (almonds, walnuts) contain arginine, which can improve blood flow and hormone production.  In addition, fish and nuts are a prime source of essential fatty acids, which are vital as they provide the raw material for healthy production of hormones.  And finally, crack a few to get your vitamins B6 and B5, which help balance hormone levels and fight stress, two things that are crucial to a healthy libido. 

Heat up romance in the kitchen
Just like with exercise, you can chow on these healthy foods individually or together.  However, I suggest making and eating a healthy meal or snack together.  The experience will bring you closer together and you can talk and flirt while in the kitchen together.  According to a poll conducted by Kenmore appliances, of 1,500 couples asked, 82% who cook together described their relationships as “excellent.”  Only 25% of those who do not cook together could say the same.  So, turn on the stove and you are sure to heat up the romance. 

While I am not a doctor or a licensed sex therapist, I would have to think that I have provided you with some incentive to work up a sweat and cook up a healthy meal.  I personally feel confident and empowered after a great workout, and feel secure about my body when I fuel it with healthful food.  And the occasions when I find a man most irresistible: working up a sweat pumping iron, keeping up with me during a run, cooking a great meal with me, and cleaning up the kitchen while I finish my wine.  I would think most women would have similar thoughts.  So, have a healthy and happy Valentine’s Day and go get yourself some good lovin’!

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