How To Kick Start Your Libido… Naturally!
60 is…..supporting each other through the changes
Having been through menopause and out the other side, I know what chaos it can cause in your mind, your body and your relationships. (More from me on this in my next blog) Heck, I even know couples who have divorced because of it.
So, this Wellness Wednesday, I hope that you'll find Jenni’s expert advise inspiring and that she helps get you back on track and feeling like your fabulous self again!
How To Kick Start Your Libido… Naturally!
By Jenni Rivett
As a personal trainer I work closely with my clients and often become a confidante, a sounding board, someone they feel they can discuss personal issues with; aka a therapist!
One question I am asked all the time is:
“How do I get my mojo back?”
Many women are juggling being a busy wife, mum, grandma, running a household and often a business too.
By the end of the day they're exhausted and sex is the last thing on their mind!
Add menopause symptoms, such as weight gain, low self esteem, hot flushes, anxiety, depression, fatigue, vaginal dryness and dramatic hormonal shifts, well, it’s no wonder women can lose interest in sex.
But ladies, the great news is, you can reignite your sex drive by making a few healthy lifestyle changes.
Balance Those Hormones!
At the crux of any great sex life lie two crucial hormones; Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone, both of which are significantly influenced by the lifestyle factors listed above.
Testosterone And How To Boost It
Having personally experienced the natural effects of testosterone through exercise and healthy eating, I have to admit it is my favourite hormone!
One of its many benefits is the boosting of neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals. It lifts depression and increases optimistic, positive thinking. A lack of it can leave us feeling forgetful, disorientated and “fuzzy.”
It also builds muscle, burns fat, boosts energy, strengthens bones and increases sex drive.
BUT, testosterone drops dramatically by the time we hit forty, causing major hormonal and endocrine havoc resulting in a flagging libido!
Women with low testosterone levels often experience chronic fatigue, low libido and a decreased sense of well-being. So, its vital we keep this hormone in check!
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
(HGH) levels are intrinsically connected to a healthy libido due to the impact it has on circulation and exercise capacity.
In both sexes, the sex organs require unimpeded blood flow to support and sustain sexual desire and ability.
Blood flow also makes the clitoris and the millions of nerves throughout the vagina significantly more sensitive, increasing your pleasure and satisfaction.
In females, HGH also promotes lubrication, ensuring your vagina is ready for sex which can be another menopausal
Therefore HGH deficiency not only creates discomfort, inhibiting a close and enjoyable love life, but it also significantly reduces the desire for sex and romance.
Reclaim A Healthy Fulfilling Sex Life By Implementing These Lifestyle Strategies To Increase Your Testosterone, HGH And Increase Libido
Increase Collagen-rich foods: Collagen production naturally declines with age which makes it difficult to keep your skin firm and healthy, and can lead to a looser vaginal wall in women. Consume bone broth and take a collagen supplement. Vitamin C also helps to increase collagen production.
Consume more quality protein in your diet. Eat a small source at every meal, such as lean red meat, poultry, cold water fish, tofu, legumes and nuts.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase testosterone by nearly 200% and even up to 400%. Bonus tip to increase your libido!
Foods to boost testosterone levels and increase your libido naturally; pomegranate, olive oil, oysters, coconut, cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts), bananas, dark chocolate, brazil nuts, whey protein, garlic, fenugreek, ginger. Healthy fats, healthy fats, healthy fats! Eat an avocado a day, olive oil, walnuts, almonds, flax and chai seeds. Consume fatty fish, and add a flax or fish oil supplement to your diet. The body requires these types of fat to stimulate the production of testosterone, so make sure 20 to 30 percent of your caloric needs are met with these types of fat.
Limit your intake of alcohol. Alcohol disrupts many of the body's natural hormonal processes and too much alcohol blunts testosterone production. Overdoing it on alcoholic beverages is known to decrease sexual desire, arousal and sensitivity. If you’re going to imbibe, opt for one glass (yes, just one) of polyphenol-rich red wine. The antioxidants in red wine can help widen blood vessels and increase blood flow to key arousal areas.
Limit your tea/coffee intake.Coffee and teas can be great additions to a healthy life, but keep it under control and avoid caffeinated products at least six hours before bedtime.
Avoid foods that are very high in sodium, like canned foods and processed foods, which can contribute to high blood pressure, and decrease the flow of blood to the sex organs. In addition factory-farmed meats and conventional dairy, which can contain synthetic hormones known as phthalic acid esters (PAE's) that have a negative effect on estrogen and testosterone levels. Opt for organic wherever you can to support a healthy libido.
Eliminate sugar from your diet. It plays no healthy role whatsoever! Sugar, in general, negatively affects sex hormones. Studies have shown specific and concerning impacts on testosterone levels, which remained low hours after glucose consumption.
Dehydration can cause a number of negative side effects that can easily dull sexual desire, cause fatigue, headaches and vaginal dryness so drink up ladies!
Try and have sex once a week as it will help keep naturally occurring testosterone levels up which will help your libido in the long term. Use lubrication to help with vaginal dryness. The age-old 'use it or lose it’ saying applies!
Minimise stress and cortisol levels wherever possible. Stress clearly affects health and hormone levels. Unnatural elevations in cortisol can significantly reduce testosterone since these hormones work in a see-saw like manner; as one goes up the other comes down. The knock on effect will negatively impact your libido.
Optimise your Vitamin D levels. A vitamin D deficiency can cause low estrogen levels and a low sex drive.
Get Into The Sunshine. Just an hour in the sun is enough to heat things up in the bedroom for both men and women. Try to get regular sun exposure or supplement with 3,000 iu of Vitamin D. A 12-month study found that this increased testosterone levels by twenty five per cent.
Sleep! Research suggests around 7 - 10 hours of sleep per night is best for long-term health and boosting your testosterone levels. BUT if you are still not sleeping well then it’s critical that you at least rest, take a nap in the day and/or listen to sleep meditations to help ease insomnia.
One of the most profound sleep tips I can give you is to get some daily exercise before 5pm. The release of endorphins into your body has a calming effect which will really help you hit that pillow with your snooze button on.
I would recommend 20 -30 minutes of anything gentle where you are raising your heart rate into a comfortable 120 – 130 BPM. A light jog, dancing to your favourite tunes, a swim or game of tennis are all good examples.
Supplements to increase your libido:
Both Ashwagandha and Panax ginseng have been shown to increase sexual desire in women going through menopause.
Maca - research shows this adaptogen herb helps increase sexual desire in women, particularly those whose low libidos have been caused by drugs such as antidepressants.
Gingko biloba has been particularly effective in treating antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in women with a huge success rate.
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to increase your testosterone and HGH. Resistance training and short burst training (HIIT) boost testosterone both in the short term and long term, which can greatly improve blood flow to the genitals, mood and your own body perception.
It's a known fact that resistance training changes the hormonal environment in your body for the better. Too little exercise can be a cause of low libido, but you also don’t want to overdo it either. Overtraining puts you at risk of having a low libido, so keep the 'it's all about balance' mantra when it comes to exercise.
How Much Exercise Should We Be Doing?
Exercise is often the last thing we feel like, especially when we are stressed, tired and menopausal but, amazingly, it is the one thing we really need to do!
To encourage those healthy testosterone and HGH hormones, I would recommend doing strength training exercises 2/3 times a week.
Cardiovascular exercise 4/5 times a week for 20 – 30 minutes which will release happy hormones into your body – but even short ten minute bursts of exercise will go a long way.
In addition, yoga and stretching will help to calm your mind and keep your muscles lengthened.
In the menopausal battle of the hormones, your number one line of defence should always be a lifestyle strategy and ladies, the good news is that you have the power to increase your libido dramatically and enjoy sex again!