In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration approved Addyi, a prescription pill for improving female libido. Sales for the drug have been poor, and the side effects – low blood pressure, fainting, interaction with alcohol, and dizziness – make it risky for many patients. The cost of the drug can reach $800 for a month's prescription, making it unaffordable for low or middle-income women.
One-third of women in the U.S. report having low sexual desire. One in three women in the study are troubled by their lack of desire. Women who were troubled by their lack of libido usually had a partner, suffered from depression, or were between 35 and 64 years old.
If you have problems with a low libido, you don't need to resort to an expensive prescription drug. Adding certain foods to your diet or taking herbs or all-natural supplements can restore your sex drive without emptying your bank account. Here are a few foods known to boost women's libido.
Here's some good news if you love chocolate. Unsweetened dark chocolate (usually imported from Switzerland) offers libido-boosting properties. Cheap candy bars made with milk chocolate don't help your sex drive and may actually hurt it due to high sugar content.
Dark chocolate contains as much as 70% cacao. Cacao helps increase dopamine levels in the brain, increasing the feeling of pleasure. Eating a moderate amount of unsweetened dark chocolate won't hurt your teeth or waistline. (A one ounce piece of dark chocolate has 155 calories.)
Dark chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical which imitates the way you feel when you're in love. Phenylethylamine is similar to the “feel-good' hormones, serotonin and dopamine.
Eat a few pieces of dark chocolate a day to get your mojo back and enjoy other health benefits. Studies show the flavonoids and phytochemicals in dark chocolate improved heart circulation in healthy adults, lower blood pressure and sharpen cognitive function.
The magnesium in spinach increases blood flow by decreasing blood vessel inflammation. This drives more blood to your sexual organs, making arousal easier and more frequent.
Widely used as a metabolism booster and weight loss aid, green tea also increases blood flow to your pelvic region. Antioxidants called catechins fight free radicals and improve your blood vessels' ability size and ability to transport blood.
Eat pumpkin seeds instead of snacking on chips or candy, which can sap your libido. Pumpkin seeds are full of magnesium, like spinach, and also contain zinc, which provides better hormone balance, plus Vitamins E,C,K and various B vitamins. They also contain the amino acid arginine, which increases circulation and helps blood vessels relax to make sexual performance easier.
Lack of iron and B vitamins in the diet can make you tired and stressed, which make you avoid sex. Eat more liver and red meat to increase iron and avoid anemia. Help your body absorb iron more readily by adding yogurt and fatty fish like salmon to your meals.
Worry dulls your libido. If you are worrying about your kids, job or health problems all the time, you're certainly not going to feel sexy or think about sex, much less want to do it.
An article authored by researchers from the University of Texas found anxiety interfered with the psychological aspect of sexual arousal.
Of course, eliminating all sources of anxiety is all but impossible, unless you want to live a boring, uneventful life. The goal then isn't to get rid of all possible stressful situations, but to learn how to reduce and eliminate what you can, and handle the rest more efficiently.
If you're the worrying kind, do yoga, meditate or practice deep breathing exercises to stay calm. Eating an unhealthy diet (one high in sugar, salt and processed food) can cloud your thinking and make you feel anxious even when things are actually going fine.
Eat the following foods to feel calmer:
Turkey and other tryptophan-rich foods produce feel-good chemicals in your brain. The amino acid tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps keep you calm. You'll also find tryotophan in chicken, bananas, nuts, cheese, milk and oats. The change in you mood will be subtle, since researchers aren't sure whether tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier.
The Omega 3 fatty aids in salmon, tuna and other cold-water fish has been proven to improve mood and reduce anxiety. Taking high-doses of fish oil supplements rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) will help people suffering from anxiety or depression. EPA is an anti-inflammatory acid for the brain, while the second type of Omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is a structural element of the brain and a diet or supplement containing only this form of Omega 3's will not significantly improve emotions.
Whole Wheat Bread
Healthy carbohydrates, such as brown rice and whole grains, take longer for the body to break down, and slowly release sugar into the bloodstream. This steady release of sugar prevents the insulin rush that can leave you feeling restless.
It's normal to feel blue occasionally, but a constant sadness that prevents you from performing daily tasks needs to be addressed immediately.
Talk to a trusted friend or family member or visit a therapist. Your depression may be circumstantial (due to financial or health problems) or due to a chemical imbalance. Once you determine what is causing your depression, you can find the right way to deal with it.
About 13 percent of Americans are on antidepressants, with one in for women aged 50 to 64 on Prozac, Zoloft or similar medications. Unfortunately, some antidepressant medications cause or add to sexual dysfunction. Unless you've been diagnosed with severe clinical depression, manage or reduce depression by natural means, including:
A sedentary lifestyle makes you gain weight, slows your circulation and leaves you feeling lethargic. That's an anti-formula for sexy nights. To rev up your love life, get out of your chair and exercise. You don't need to run a marathon, just walk, bike, run or dance. Any physical activity will get blood flowing and endorphins, one of the feel-good chemicals in your body, working again.
Eat whole, unprocessed foods and cut down on sugar, salt and alcohol. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered or bottled water. Maintaining a diet full of natural foods and home cooking prevents high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and other physical maladies that lead to depression and sexual dysfunction.
Keep focused and happy by meditating a few minutes a day. Practicing meditation for 20 to 30 minutes a day helps you eliminate brooding thoughts that cause ongoing depression.
Sit in a straight-backed chair (or on the floor), and breathe slowly and deliberately, focusing on each breath. If your mind wanders, acknowledge and dismiss the thought and bring your attention back to your breath.
In a UK study, researchers found that on 47% of patients who engaged in mindful meditation relapsed back into depression, while 60% of people on medication alone became depressed again.
Medications that can cause loss of libido include:
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) Antidepressants
Research shows that up to 70% of people taking SSRIs (Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, etc.) suffer sexual side effects. Women may experience dryness, loss of desire or inability to achieve orgasm. If you think your antidepressant medication is affecting your sex life, ask your doctor to adjust the dosage or switch you to another drug.
Birth Control Pills
Hormonal birth control can decrease or increase your sex drive, depending on the method and brand of medication you use. If your libido has waned after starting birth control, ask your gynecologist about other types of birth control pills, or consider using an IUD.
Opiods (Percocet, OxyContin, etc.)
Although painkillers are best known for causing erectile dysfunction in men, they also cause low sex drive in women and make it tough for women to achieve an orgasm. Ask your doctor to adjust your pain medication dosage or use vaginal lubrication if dryness is a problem.
Women taking Doxepin, Amoxapine, Nortriptyline and other tricyclic antidepressants may experience sexual dysfunction, but these medications are safer than SSRI's.
Benzodiazepines (Anti-Anxiety Drugs)
Xanax and other anti-anxiety medications may interfere with sexual desire. In one study, benzodiazepines caused sexual dysfunction in bipolar patients when taken with lithium. When taken alone, lithium did not have a negative effect on sexual function.
Studies indicate blood pressure medications may cause sexual dysfunction in some women, but are safe overall.
Menopause affects most women during their late 40s or 50s, but it can happen as early as the late 20s.
Falling estrogen levels cause vaginal dryness, night sweats and hot flashes. As a result, a decrease in testosterone may also reduce sexual desire and sensation. However, low sexual desire in women hasn't been scientifically linked to reduced testosterone. Women who experience menopause due to chemotherapy or removal of both ovaries suffer from a drop in estrogen and testosterone, resulting in decreased sexual desire.
Studies show ginseng to be helpful in reviving sex drive in menopausal women, though it has limited reverence to other symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes.
A healthy diet (including more soy), regular exercise, and herbs such as black cohosh can alleviate menopause symptoms naturally, without expensive and potentially harmful hormone replacement therapy.
Some of these herbs specifically increase your sex drive, while others improve other aspects of your physical and mental health so you can feel more inclined to get frisky.
Damiana, also called Tumera diffusa, is considered a libido enhancer. It contains flavonoids, terpenoids, phenolics and caffeine to increase energy and reduce feelings of stress. Damiana increases blood flow to the pelvic area, boosting sexual feelings.
Cayenne pepper boosts the immune system and increases blood circulations, like many other hot spices. Eating foods flavored with cayenne pepper allows more blood to flow to sexual organs and releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins in your body.
Gotu kola increases energy and gives you an overall sense of well-being. It's often used to relieve anxiety and depression. This herb has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years as a cognitive enhancer and painkiller.
Clinical trials on low libido in women and Gingko Biloba show that this herb improves the sex drive in women on anti-depressant drugs. Anti-depressants, such as Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil, are associated with low libido in both women and men. Gingko Biloba works by increasing blood flow to small blood vessels
White willow bark contains salicin, a substance similar to aspirin, and it reduces pain and inflammation. If you have lower back pain, osteoarthritis, or suffer from chronic headaches, white willow can help you feel better without the gastrointestinal effects caused by aspirin.
Wheatgrass has been used for centuries for good health, and relieves many health problems, from digestive ailments to lack of concentration.
Wheatgrass can help you:
How can wheatgrass do all of the above? It contains hundreds of nutrients, including Vitamins A,C,E,K,Vitamins B1, B2, niacin, B5, B6, B12, choline, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. It also offers 20 amino acids and over 103 enzymes not found in other foods.
The nutrients in wheatgrass are courtesy of chlorophyll, the green pigment that gives plants their green color. Learn more about chlorophyll, the primary component of wheatgrass, here.
Happy Girl, from Wheatgrass Love, offers an all-natural way to restore your good mood- and your libido. One Happy Girl tablet includes wheatgrass and over 20 selected herbs to help you feel more energetic and vibrant.
The herbs in Happy Girl including libido-restoring damiana, green tea extract cayenne pepper, gotu kola, white willow bark, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, plus guarana extract, ginger and hawthorne berry.
Learn more about Happy Girl and read customer testimonials here.
Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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