January 24, 2017

End Fibromyalgia Fatigue with Chocolate

Chocolate can help fibromyalgia sufferers by reducing inflammation, increasing energy and promoting alertness.

Let the rejoicing begin!  Eating a small chocolate bar every day helps fights exhaustion!  What?!  You mean chocolate is good for your health!?  Absolutely!

chocolate-helps-fibromyalgiaMany people who have fibromyalgia crave chocolate. One reason for this is because chocolate’s high magnesium content. And magnesium is something that most fibromyalgia patients lack.

Studies show that fibromyalgia sufferers are deficient in nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium. Raw cacao contains both of these, and thus can help you to restore those nutrients back in your body.

Calcium and magnesium both can help to regulate your muscles so that you can overcome muscle spasms and relax.

Scientists have also discovered that eating DARK chocolate (60-85% cacoa) can help relieve the chronic pain and cognitive issues associated with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia leaves sufferers exhausted with neurological problems, but they can feel better after eating dark chocolate. Imagine, benefit healing health from a candy bar!

Did you say chocolate?

Chocolate cravings are nothing new, but we’ve always been told chocolate is bad for us because it contains too much sugar.  The truth is too much refined sugar can worsen inflammation and pain in fibromyalgia sufferers (or for anyone).  However, dark chocolate with higher cacao content and less milk and sugar than milk chocolate can actually improve your health.

Here is why:

  • dark-chocolate-benefitsCacoa helps your body produce nitric oxide, which is important for blood flow and blood pressure, promoting healthy circulation.(1)
  • Cacoa also contains many flavanoids (called flavanols), which possess high antioxidant properties.(2) Flavonols relieve inflammation and prevent wear-and-tear damage on your cells. (3)
  • Dark chocolate also contains tryptophan and cannabinoids. These compounds can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
  • Theobromine, caffeine, tyramine and phenylethylamine (PEA) are stimulants in cocoa that can improve the energy level of the fibromyalgia sufferer. (4)
  • Dark cocoa may help this situation by stabilizing the nerve roots and repairing the nerves, resulting in improved neuropathy and a decrease in pain. It might take a while, but it may help.
  • Cocoa is a natural anti-inflammatory. The cocoa is an antihistamine, which stops acid production in the stomach. It also works on COX2 pathways, which does not affect the stomach.
  • The cacao in dark chocolate may also promote the production of natural opiates in the brain. These can help relieve pain and promote a feeling of well-being. (5)

This doesn’t mean that we should all binge on chocolate regularly — we do still have to worry about the sugar and calories!  However, we only need about 0.5 ounces of dark chocolate a day to get the desired benefits.(6)  Dark chocolate therapy seems to work best in the morning.

One woman claimed that by eating an ounce of cacao-rich chocolate every morning she was able to relieve her fibromyalgia symptoms. She said it helped her with muscle pains, migraine headaches etc. and she was able to go off all her “fibro meds.”  In fact, she was so convinced of the healthy aspects of natural cacao that she opened a chocolate shop dedicated to pure dark chocolate.  She recommends eating a serving of 85% cocoa dark chocolate slowly, savoring the taste and making the most of its pleasurable benefits.[7]

These days, there are dozens of dark chocolate choices, and you can spend hours poring over the cacao percentages and exotic provenances on the labels. You can pay a lot more, too. But does any of it really matter and how do you choose a good dark chocolate?

Darker chocolates, with higher cacao percentages are less sweet, but are still probably located in the candy aisle. The cacao percentage on the label of a dark chocolate bar is a total that includes both cacoa solids and cocoa butter—meaning that different chocolates can have different proportions of each and still share the 60 percent dark cacao designation.

Does the chocolate with the most cocoa butter make the best tasting chocolate?  Not always.  Sometimes, the lowest fat chocolate bars are the richest, creamiest dark chocolate to savor.  Here are some recommended brands for fibromyalgia sufferers (or anyone!) that are the best balance of cocoa butter, cacoa solids and sugar:

  • Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate, L-60-40NV (60%):
    Intense rich chocolate with an espresso flavor and caramel aftertaste, nice balance of sweetness and bitterness, complex favor, creamy and thick.
  • best-dark-chocolateGhirardelli’s Chocolate Intense Dark Twilight Delight (72% cacao)
    Balanced chocolate flavor with smoky and fruity undertones, glossy and creamy.
  • Michel Cluizel Noir de Cacao Dark Chocolate (60%):
    Nice eating chocolate that is creamy and not bitter, earthy.
  • Green & Black’s ORGANIC 85% Cacao Bar
    Cocoa butter and a touch of vanilla combines with 85% Trinitario Cacao, to produce a smooth and intensely dark chocolate experience.
  • Trader Joe’s Cacao Dark Chocolate  (72%)
    A  dark, very rich, and full-bodied chocolate imported from Belgium. Smooth, nicely balanced, and not intensely bitter.
  • Valrhona Le Noir Amer Cacao Dark Bittersweet Chocolate (71%)
    Super complex, bitter, fruity, slightly sour, with just a smidge of sweetness.
  • Chocolove (70%)
    Strong, bittersweet Belgian dark chocolate crafted primarily from African cocoa beans and a small amount of Caribbean coco beans. Intense, well-rounded cocoa flavors melt smoothly in your mouth then transition to a pleasant cocoa aftertaste.
  • Newman’s Own Organics Organic Premium Chocolate Bar, Super Dark (70%)
    Closet milk chocolate fans posing as dark chocolate fiends: this is your bar. It’s quite sweet and mildly bitter without being bland. The hints of coconut and vanilla aren’t too distracting and keep it interesting. Really creamy, too.

For some there is therapy, but for the rest of us there is chocolate.

 

 

Grandma Barton (Grandma’s Cure Corner) is mother to Joe Barton (founder of Barton Publishing), grandmother to 6 grandkids and 28 step-grandkids, and over 3,000 Home Cures That Work members. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor with the help of Dr. Saunders and natural remedies. Grandma loves finding cures within the home to treat all sorts of ailments. With tips she’s learned on the farm and along the way, Grandma Barton brings a time-tested and trusted voice when it comes to home remedies. She really is an inspiration to us all.

 

 

 

Sources:
[1] The Drs. Wolfson, “10 Foods to Boost Nitric Oxide,” December 14, 2015, https://www.thedrswolfson.com/10-foods-nitric-oxide/.
[2] Sue Ingebretson, “Fibromyalgia and Chocolate: What New Research Says about Health Benefits,” ProHealth, February 14, 2016, http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=25517.
[3] Fibromyalgia.org, “Fibromyalgia and Chocolate,” nd, http://www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/chocolate.html.
[4] Fibromyalgia.org.
[5] Fibromyalgia.org.
[6] Sharon Basaraba, “How Much Dark Chocolate Should I Eat to Live Longer?” Very Well.com, February 29, 2016, https://www.verywell.com/how-much-dark-chocolate-should-i-eat-to-live-longer-2223572.
[7] Jane Donahue, “Chocolate Changed Café Owner’s Life,” Chicago Tribune, February 12, 2016, http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/ct-nvs-dining-west-chocolat-du-bouchard-st-0219-20160212-story.html.

Foods to Calm and Lower Anxiety

Controlling Gut Behavior

by Amanda Box, N.D.

We have all felt it at some point in our lives. The feeling that paralyzes us sends us into a cold sweat and lends our heart to beat at the speed of light. Anxiety is fear incarnate. It originates from our worries, our fear of failure or simply believing worst is bound to happen.

I personally battle with anxiety. I loathe the awful sense of powerlessness that anxiety brings. But it is a battle over the mind and one that isn’t always easily won!

Releasing negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones can overcome anxiety. One important way to do this is processing through thoughts and fears on paper and with a friend or counselor.

However, what you put into your body can also affect the intensity of your anxiety. Though much of anxiety originates from thoughts and mindset, a healthy body is important for a healthy mind! Our mind, body and spirit are interconnected. So keeping all three aspects healthy is imperative for overcoming anxiety.

Food affects our mood. Particular foods create calm, while other foods produce anxiety. The key to overcoming afflicting anxiety just may be a diet that enhances a sense of peace and a calm mind.

Below are two lists of foods. The first is the list of foods to avoid that promote anxiety. These foods stimulate the nervous system or increase stress hormone production like cortisol. If you battle anxiety, then totally eliminate these foods from your diet to feel your best.

The second is a list of foods that help ease anxiety. These foods contain nutrients that promote a calm mind and help lower stress levels in the body. Make them a regular part of your diet and they will keep you calm and lower your anxiety.

4 Foods to Avoid for Anxiety

1. Caffeine

This is by far the most obvious food on the list to avoid. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant and can cause physical manifestations of anxiety, even if anxious thoughts aren’t present. It speeds the heart rate and can lead to an over-excited jittery feeling that exacerbates or creates anxiety. Some people do well with just a small amount of caffeine in the morning. However, eliminating it all together is best for calming the mind and body.

2. Sugar

When I refer to sugar, I am not just referring to white sugar. I am referring to all things that encompass sugar: fruit juice, corn syrup and honey, etc. All these sugary foods can negatively affect the body.   They spike blood sugar levels which, in turn, flood your body with cortisol, a stress hormone. When cortisol levels are high, you can feel on edge and anxious. Therefore, steer clear of sugary drinks and desserts. Instead, opt for natural sweeteners that do not affect the blood sugar such as stevia.

3. Processed Foods

Processed foods included already made meals like boxed foods and fast foods. These foods contain a plethora of ingredients that are nearly unpronounceable. This abundance of fake food is not tolerated well by your body. Chemicals from the artificial preservatives and other ingredients can aggravate the brain by exciting neurotransmitters. This creates a sense of anxiousness and overstimulation. Many of the artificial ingredients are additive as well. Your body begins to crave these processed foods and you become anxious if you’re not able to eat them. The best way to avoid processed foods is to choose foods as close to their natural state as possible and cook your meals from scratch.

Also, read labels. If you see ingredients that sound more like chemicals than food, but it back on the shelf and buy something healthier!

4. Alcohol

Many people drink alcohol to help calm their nerves. However, alcohol can backfire. It can cause an even higher level of anxiety the following day.

  • Alcohol depresses the body.
  • That depression can carry through to the following day.
  • Depression feeds anxiousness.

The short term fix that alcohol creates can also be addictive, creating a cycle of anxiety and more depression.

Foods to Eat to Calm Anxiety

Pumpkin Seeds

Green pumpkin seeds are high in zinc. Studies have found that anxiety is linked to a zinc copper imbalance. Too much copper and not enough zinc in your body can cause anxiety. Just a small handful a day of pumpkin seeds provides a daily dose of zinc! Pumpkin seeds provide a healthy balance that offers relief for people suffering from anxiety.

Fatty Fish

Fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon and sardines can increase EPA levels in the brain. EPA is the primary anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid for the brain. High levels of EPA are correlated to a calmer mood and lessened anxiety. Essentially, EPA will make you happier and better able to handle stress. If you don’t consume large amounts of fish, then purified fish oil supplements can increase your EPA.

dark chocolate can reduce stress and anxietyDark chocolate

In a study of chocolate’s health benefits, eating 40 grams of dark chocolate (74% cocoa) every day for two weeks significantly reduced stress hormone levels. Those tested also noted feeling less anxious after eating the chocolate. This is likely due to cocoas flavonol content. Flavonols are a subclass of flavonoids, natural chemicals found in plants, fruits and vegetables that repair cellular damage. Flavonoids are antioxidants so they help to lower stress and inflammation throughout the body.

Turkey

Turkey is high in amino acid l-tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps you feel calm. Tryptophan found in protein like turkey has been found in studies to lower anxiety levels!

Full-fat yogurt or kefir

The majority (95%!) of serotonin, your feel good neurotransmitter that keeps you happy and calm, is produced in the gut. Therefore it is important to eat foods that help maintain proper intestinal balance.

To cultivate proper bacterial balance in the gut, go no further than your refrigerator! Naturally elevate your mood and reverse anxiety with fermented foods. The bacteria in fermented foods create an environment suitable for proper serotonin production. Fermented foods like kefir and yogurt contain probiotics that restore your gut health. Since gut microbes may influence your behavior, this is proof that fermented foods make us happier!

Tea (chamomile and green tea)

Each of these teas has anxiety reducing benefits.

The effect of chamomile is to soothe and calm the nervous system. When feeling anxious, drink chamomile to relax. Studies showed drinking chamomile tea lowered anxiety in 2 weeks! Best of all, chamomile comes without the nasty side effects of traditional anxiety and depression medications.

Green tea contains amino acid l-theanine, which has a soothing, calming effect on people who drink it. L-Theanine stimulates production of brain waves known as alpha waves. Alpha waves indicate a person is relaxed. L-Theanine also increases the levels of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These two neurotransmitters directly affect a person’s mood and help induce a sense of calm and relaxation.

So, alleviate your mood and feel better by drinking quality green tea!

eggs induce relaxation and promote sleepEggs

Eggs contain copious amounts of choline, needed for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is essentially the opposite of adrenaline. It induces a state of relaxation and promotes sleep. Farm raised cage free eggs are the best choice. They are fresher and have higher levels of nutrients. Eggs just may give you a new reason to come out of any depressing anxiety phase!

Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are low in calories, and high in many nutrients, including magnesium. Magnesium is a natural nervous system relaxant. A lack of magnesium can cause electrical changes in your brain.

Most diets are deficient in magnesium, and stress causes our bodies to deplete this important mineral. This is why getting enough magnesium in your diet while you’re stressed is so important. This essential mineral is key to relaxation and a lowered sense of anxiety. Nutrition just may trump any other form of self-help anxiety methods!

The Gut-Brain Connection

As mentioned earlier, our gut and our brain have an intimate connection. Many refer to the gut as the second brain, and for good reason! Our enteric nervous system is the name of the nervous system that resides in our gastrointestinal tract and enables us to “feel” the inner world of our gut and its contents. It is equipped with its own reflexes and senses to control gut behavior.

Our central nervous system, which is located in our brain and spinal column, is connected through the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain stem down to the abdomen.

It is through the vagus nerve that gut bacteria transmit information to the brain. Thus, the nerves in our gut probably influence a big part of our emotions.

Also, the gut produces more serotonin in the gut than it does in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps us to feel good and it produces a sense of calm. This gut-brain connection applies to anxiety levels as well.

Dr. Kirsten Tillish, a lead author in a study of gut bacteria and anxiety stated, “Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut.”

All of this makes creating a healthy gut environment key to overcoming anxiety. I believe there are 3 keys to creating a healthy gut.

1. Probiotics

Supplementation with a daily multi-strain probiotic is important in creating a healthy bacterial environment in the gut. Fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha are also great to add into your daily diet to boost healthy bacteria.

2. Prebiotics

Prebiotics are dietary fibers that act as food for good bacteria. This allows the healthy bacteria to multiply. Some foods containing prebiotics include:

  • Chicory Root
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Jerusalem artichoke

3. Going Gluten Free

More and more research is pointing out that gluten intolerance and diseases such as Celiac, can cause anxiety and depression. Shockingly, as much as 80% of the population is thought to have some degree of gluten sensitivity!

Lectins contained in gluten can cause intestinal inflammation and permeability of the intestinal walls allowing toxic microbes to pass through the gut, into the bloodstream and to the brain causing anxiety! Some even believe that gluten itself can cause anxiety. Dr. Rodney Ford, a New Zealand-based pediatrician and author of The Gluten Syndrome, believes that gluten harms your nervous system directly and produces symptoms such as anxiety.

Going gluten free takes a firm commitment and cannot be done partially. I’ve been gluten free for nearly a year now and have no plans to go back. It has changed the health of my gut and my mind dramatically and has been worth the sacrifice. Honestly, with the rise of gluten free alternatives, I haven’t had to sacrifice much. Nearly every gluten product now has a tasty gluten free version.

Incorporating these 3 keys will create a healthy “second brain” and lower your anxiety levels. You’ll truly be amazed at how powerful the gut-brain connection is once you begin to make changes to your diet!

Below are two recipes to get you on the road to lowered anxiety and a healthy gut. The first is a salmon recipe. This incorporates the omega 3s from fatty fish and prebiotics such as garlic. Serve this with a healthy serving of asparagus on the side for even more prebiotic power. This recipe is also gluten-free!

garlic salmon with asparagusGarlic Salmon with Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb wild caught salmon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp cold organic butter, cubed
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemon juice and minced garlic; allow the lemon juice to reduce to 1 tablespoon. Add in 1 tablespoon of butter, remove pan from heat and swirl so the butter starts to melt. Place back on the heat for a few seconds, removed and continue to swirl until butter completely melts. Repeat with second tablespoon of butter. When butter is completely melted, remove sauce from stove.
  3. Place the salmon filet in a piece of foil large enough to fold over and seal. Using a brush or spoon, brush the salmon with the garlic butter sauce. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Cover with foil so that all sides are properly closed so the sauce does not leak.
  4. Bake the salmon for 12-14 minutes or until firm. Open the foil and allow the fish to broil under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, keeping an eye on it so the fish does not burn. Remove from oven, top with parsley. Serve with a side of steamed asparagus.

This next recipe incorporates the mood lifting power of dark chocolate with zinc rich pumpkin seeds. Though only two ingredients, these little bites can calm a sweet tooth as well as calm the mind.

dark chocolate pumpkin seed bites Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bites

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp of dark chocolate (at least 74% cocoa content)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (raw or roasted)

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate in the microwave for 20 seconds. Heat for 10 second intervals, making sure to stir in between.
  2. On a piece of wax paper drip chocolate from a spoon and make 8 even circles around the size of a quarter.
  3. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds into the chocolate and slightly press down.
  4. Let dry for around an hour or place in the fridge for even faster results.

Remember, what you eat can have a huge influence on the levels of anxiety you’re feeling. Don’t rely on simply medications any longer! Take your health into your hands and begin eating in a way that lowers your anxiety. I have personally experienced the power of food choices on my anxiety and I encourage you to as well!

 

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon recipe adapted from littlespicejar.com

Foods That Boost Sexual Performance In Both Males and Females

Top 10 Grocery Store Items For Improving Couple’s Libidos

Spanish fly. Rhinoceros horn. Phallic-looking foods. Throughout history, people have gone to a lot of trouble—not to mention in some cases putting their health in danger—trying to find libido boosters to improve their sex lives. Today, pleasure seekers have it easier because, as it turns out, the grocery store is the perfect place to find natural aphrodisiacs.

Bonus: In addition to making sex a little steamier, nearly all these foods have health benefits beyond the bedroom.

1. Chocolate

This dark, delicious dessert has long been associated with indulgence, but that’s not the only reason chocolate puts you and your guy in a sensual mood. The treat contains caffeine, which helps perk you up and also boosts serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness.

Chocolate brings on feelings of euphoria because it is a psycho-stimulant so it has an arousal effect.  This is caused by phenylethylamine, a chemical with an amphetamine-like affect that temporarily mimics feelings of falling in love. In fact, a 2007 British study found that letting chocolate melt in your mouth is more stimulating and raised heart rates more than kissing. Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is also loaded with antioxidants that improve circulation and lower cholesterol.

2. Pumpkin Pie

The next time you want to seduce a guy, bake a pumpkin pie. A study that measured blood flow south of the border in men ages 18 to 64 found that the scent of pumpkin pie rated the highest response—a 40% increase. Romantic lavender rated equally high, while close runners-up included donuts and black licorice, which boosted blood flow to men’s nether regions by more than 31 percent. As surprising as it may seem, when it comes to sex, scent offers a greater libido lift than ingestion: 90% of what people call taste is actually smell.   The scent of these foods may reduce anxiety, which helps remove inhibitions.

3. Licorice

You probably won’t look at the candy counter at the movies the same way after reading this: Smelling and tasting licorice-flavored candy caused a 13% increase in vaginal blood flow, according to recent research. Why? The scent may trigger olfactory nostalgia, such as positive memories from childhood as well as feelings of security and safety—a state of mind that helps make sex more relaxing and enjoyable. Oddly enough, the smell of cherries had the opposite effect on women, causing an 18% reduction of vaginal blood flow (in other words, a real turn-off).

4. Oatmeal

You may not have heard of L-arginine, but this common amino acid is a precursor to nitric oxide, a substance that “enhances the arousal response.” Good food sources of L-arginine include oatmeal and granola as well as nuts, seeds, dairy, and seafood.  So the next time you’re on a date at a romantic restaurant, suggest the pasta with pine nuts or salmon. Sexy, mutually beneficial menu options such as these will ensure your evening ends on a high note!

5.[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’ ] Oysters

.

Sea vegetables such as kelp, dulse and nori contain calcium, iodine and iron, and are also thought to boost libido.

It is a sensual experience to eat oysters, but these delicacies from the sea are natural aphrodisiacs for another reason, too. Oysters are bursting with zinc, a mineral used in the production of testosterone (and sperm), which plays a role in fueling the sex drive of both men and women. American and Italian chemists who looked at oysters, mussels and clams found the shellfish were packed with rare amino acids that triggered increased levels of sexhormones in animals. What’s more, oysters contain taurine, an amino acid with a caffeine-like effect (used in most energy drinks) for alertness and physical endurance.

6. Fish

It may sound a bit fishy and not so sexy, but foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as mackerel, wild salmon, halibut, and sardine, as well as flaxseed, nuts and oils (think olive and soybean) can take your sex life from lukewarm to hot. Here’s how: essential fatty acids are the building blocks of sexhormones in men and women and help fight the buildup of plaque in the arteries, thereby improving circulation and increasing sensation. Omega-3 fatty acids help with sexual response, by helping to raise dopamine levels in the brain that trigger arousal.  They are important for energy, memory, mood, and libido.  Not a fan of fish? Try taking 1,000 milligrams (or 1 gram) of fish oil supplements daily and be sure the supplement includes the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

7. Avocados

The deep green fruit contain vitamin B6, which helps produce serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Another bonus for you and your partner: avocados are also loaded with vitamin E, which enhances circulation and is believed to stimulate the production of passion-stimulating testosterone.  Recent research showed that vitamin E helps improve semen quality and motility.

8. Garlic

Although you’d think garlic would ruin, rather than improve, your love-making sessions, it turns out that it contains allicin, an ingredient that increases circulation, including down south, which “helps improve sensation.”   The action of finely chopping garlic releases allicin, so be sure to crush the garlic first and then add it to pasta sauce or garlic bread. The key to not getting knocked out by garlic breath? Level the playing field by eating a garlic-heavy meal with the object of your affection.

9. Seeds and Nuts

Like oysters, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts are rich in zinc, which help the body produce testosterone—and, in your man’s case, sperm. Added attraction: nuts, including almonds, are also good sources of the aforementioned omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent plaque accumulation in the arteries and improve blood flow throughout the body (including to the genitals). What’s more, nuts and seeds are powerhouse foods, full of protein and healthy fats, which give you a boost of energy both in and out of the bedroom.

10. Mint

Popping a mint before kissing your partner is not only courteous; it’s also a turn-on.   Married couples, as well as single men and women, have agreed on what they want kisses to taste like in a mate or a date. The overall sensual conclusion: the scent of mint makes people makeout-worthy, fresh, clean, and minty, like toothpaste.

Spice Up Your Night

You do not need to go to the ends of the earth to find solutions to improve your sex life. The all natural aphrodisiacs you need to improve your libido is found in a grocery store near you.  So grab a bottle of wine, your loved one and try the romantic dinner menu below. Then, retire to the bedroom!

Romantic Dinner Recipes

  • Appetizer:Oysters Rockefeller
  • Salad: Tossed greens with avocado and pumpkin seeds
  • Entrée: Pasta with salmon, garlic, pine nuts and creamy Alfredo sauce
  • Dessert:ChocolateMint ice cream

Oyster Rockefeller

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 dozen oysters in their shells, freshly shucked and drained, the deeper bottom shell rinsed and reserved for baking

Sauce

  • 6 ounces spinach, stems removed and rinsed
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Herbsaint or other anise-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod or Pastis
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cracker meal or cracker crumbs

Directions for Sauce

  1. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the spinach and cook until very tender and the water is green, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander set over a large bowl and reserve 2 3/4 cups of the cooking liquid. Let the spinach sit until cool enough to handle, then finely chop, and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium pot over moderately high heat. When the butter is foamy, add the onions, celery and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved spinach water, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped spinach, liqueur, salt and pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cracker meal and food coloring, and stir well to combine. Cool completely before using.

Directions for Oyster Rockefeller

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread a 1/2-inch-thick layer of rock salt on a large baking sheet and across the bottoms of 6 large plates.
  2. Arrange the reserved oyster shells on the baking sheet. Put 1 oyster in each shell and top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sauce, spreading the sauce evenly out to the edge of the shell to completely cover the oyster. (Alternatively, transfer the sauce to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe the sauce over the oysters.)
  3. Bake until the sauce is lightly browned and the oysters begin to curl around the edges, about 20 minutes.
  4. Using tongs or a spatula, carefully transfer the hot shells to the salt-covered plates and serve immediately.

Tossed Greens With Avocado And Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • Baby greens
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tbls pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbls feta
  • Balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Slice avocado
  2. Place greens in a bowel and toss in pumpkin seeds, feta and vinegar.
  3. Serve and place avocado slices on top of salad.

Pasta With Salmon, Garlic And Pine Nuts With Creamy Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients

  • Salmon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pine nuts
  • Alfredo pasta

Sauce

  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • Garlic, fresh crushed to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Place fillets in aluminum foil, brush with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, then seal. Place sealed salmon in the glass dish, and bake 35 to 45 minutes, until easily flaked with a fork.
  3. While the salmon is backing, prepare pasta noodles as directed on package.
  4. Soften cream cheese and butter. Add cheese and milk and garlic over low heat. Serve over 8 ounces cooked thin spaghetti noodles.
  5. Soften cream cheese and butter. Add cheese and milk and fresh garlic over low heat.
  6. To serve. Mix pasta and sauce, place a piece of salmon over pasta and garnish with pine nuts.
David Randall, diagnosed at the age of 15 with type 1 Diabetes, started to learn everything he could about living healthy. With a love for cooking, he made his way through college teaching young diabetics how to manage the disease. He then turned his ambitions towards spreading what he knows and loves to others, having ghost written for over 10 years on nutrition, vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as cooking and healthy lifestyle. David spends his free time with his family in Northern Michigan sailing, cooking and volunteering.

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God’s Prescription for a Healthy Heart

Precision Blood Pressure Design

Like the concert virtuoso who sets the tension on a violin string with precision, the Grand Maestro of the Universe determined a specific blood pressure, which would be essential to healthy human life. In the Garden of Eden, God looked at the living bodies he meticulously fashioned and said, “It is good.” In other words: even down to the diminutive details we all take for granted or never slow down to notice, all things both micro and macro, internal and external, are now perfectly set for healthy life to flourish and thrive.

Stating the obvious, without blood pressure, life is over. However, too much, or high blood pressure results in the delicate and intricate harmony of every bodily system breaking down. Vascular health determines the well-being and longevity of every cell and organ in the body.

Next time you find yourself sitting with someone both to your left and to your right, one of the three of you is likely suffering from high blood pressure. Researchers report that in 90-95% cases of hypertension (aka, high blood pressure) no known cause can be found. Of course Newton’s Law remains true that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. That being said, something is boiling the blood of millions of people even if the majority of causes are not directly identifiable as medical in nature.

Merry Medicine for the Heart

The Bible says a lot about the heart, and even about the importance of having a healthy heart. Something as simple as joy directly affects blood flow. “A merry heart is like good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) Aside from the astonishing fact that this verse was written a couple millennia before modern medicine discovered the role of the bones in making blood for the heart, there is this now documentable reality that these seemingly non-biological factors directly affect us physically. This monthly column on the Spiritual Dimensions of Wellness is devoted to what was obvious even to healing practitioners in the ancient world – that a wide range of intangible dynamics, especially emotional factors and spiritual forces, directly impact our bodies for good and for bad.

At funerals I often quote the verse which states how, “None of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself,” which in context, refers to how dependant we are on God, each other and our environment. If things are not right in any of those three areas there is a direct correlation to our bodies breaking down. Before God ever created human life, he worked for a number of days on the ideal environmental conditions.

Secondary Blood Pressure Contributors

Those who research the mysteries of hypertension often mention in their medical journal articles how, in Eden-like settings like the tropical rain forests, no one has high blood pressure. Granted, these remote tribal peoples often have high mortality rates, but the point is these unknown factors contributing to hypertension are apparently not present.

Chocolate lovers will no doubt delight to know of the 2003 Harvard Study that uncovered the relationship between the Kuna Tribe in Panama having perfect blood pressure and the fact that tribal members drink five cups of cocoa each day. Chocolate has a relaxing effect on blood vessels due to the presence of flavonoids (a type of antioxidants). Flavonoids stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which acts as a blood thinner and increases blood flow.

Dr. Don Colbert in his book The Seven Pillars of Health asserts that something as simple as water will do wonders for our blood pressure as most of us are at least mildly dehydrated each day. Aging and family history of hypertension are considered related but secondary contributors.

Even more significant, medical research has confirmed the direct link to our sedentary lifestyles here in the West as contributing factors to hypertension and a host of other related ailments. For the better part of this past year the issue of health care reform has been debated and continues to make headlines. As contentious as this topic is, we all agree costs are out of control.

What’s shocking is that two thirds of medical costs in America are incurred treating chronic disease. Chronic disease is disease caused by things like poor diets and gluttony, alcohol and smoking, and promiscuity.  One researcher made a convincing case that best way to cut healthcare costs is for people to start living as the Bible tells us to live. Hardly a politically correct plan to promote, even so, it’s not hard to establish the relevancy of the Word of God to healthy daily living.

One True Remedy for Blood Pressure

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