21 February 2011
Don’t pop a Viagra if you can’t get it up. Yoga and diet changes can do the needful
It’s probably a bigger trigger for relationship bust–ups than infidelity, but most men prefer to hush up erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence than face it. However the secret to fix your sex life lies not in dubious magic pills but in yoga and diet believes Shonali Sabherwal, macrobiotic nutritionist and yogalates instructor. She explains why: Why it Happens
- Vascular disease: Erections happen due to a build–up of blood in the penis’ shaft. Poor blood flow to the penis results in erection problems. Blood vessels can be damaged due to arteries hardening or due to trauma.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy):
Nerve damage can result from diabetes, prostate surgery or damage to the spinal cord affecting erections.
- Psychological factors: Wondered why stress, depression, anxiety, guilt or fear wrecks your sex life? Firstly, physical problems make "performance anxiety" worse. Secondly, your mind and body are connected through neural pathways. During stress, the sympathetic and para sympathetic nervous system get imbalanced. For the penis to function well, both need to be in balance.
- Medication: Drugs prescribed for high blood pressure, depression, heart disease and prostate cancer can hinder sexual performance.
- Hormones: Abnormal levels of certain hormones like testosterone, thyroid and a pituitary hormone, prolactin interferes with libido.
- Diseases: Such as neurological disorders, hypothyroidism, anaemia, depression, arthritis, endocrine disorders, diabetes and more can affect libido.
Viagra, and to a certain extent penile implants, are the most popular course of action for ED. The alternative routes are also familiar:
- Regular exercise.
- Limiting fat and cholesterol intake
- Drinking in moderation
- Not smoking
- Weight control
- Sleeping well.
- Having more sex. (Yes, it actually works. Having sex thrice a week can do wonders to tackle stress levels).
But nothing is more effective than yoga and pilates. Firstly, they relax the body, relieving stress. Secondly, the poses aid cardiovascular conditioning helping to maintain heart rate, blood pressure and neural structure and supply of oxygen. All of which affect your erections.
- Every muscle below the navel is exercised.
- The pose cures stiffness in the hip, knee and ankle joints.
- It restores sexual energy and aids digestion.
- Opens the hips and groin. Helps increase blood in pelvic area.
- The pelvis, the abdomen and the back get good blood supply.
- Keeps the kidney, prostate and urinary bladder healthy.
- The plank exercise strengthens your abs and core making them more muscular and toned. These muscles then start demanding more blood supply.
- This improves blood supply to the groin because the arteries that supply blood to your ab and core also lead to the groin.
- You are naturally doing a plank if you have sex from the missionary position without resting on your woman.
- It’s a stress buster
- Usually acts as a therapeutic aspect at the end of a Yoga–lates class.
From a macrobiotic standpoint a vegetarian diet is advocated, as it is less mucous causing and does not clog up arteries. The basic problem with ED is that there is no blood flow to the penis primarily due to clogged arteries. A good diet keeps the blood condition strong and prevents chances of a penile problem.
- Eat natural foods diet that focuses on whole grain, fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Eliminate processed and refined foods (e.g., white flour), junk food, sugars, alcohol and caffeine alcohol, artificial sweeteners.
- Avoid saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (e.g., margarine); use olive oil or sesame oil.
- Use sea salt or rock salt instead of regular table salt.
- Pumpkin seeds are naturally high in zinc and essential fatty acids which are vital for healthy functioning of the male reproductive system.
- Watermelon contains citrulline, a phytonutrient that helps open and relax blood vessels.
- Lycopene in tomatoes helps maintain prostrate health.
- Coenzyme Q10 – Take 10 mg daily. Increases sperm count and motility.
- Flaxseed oil – Take 1 tbsp daily. Is a source of essential fatty acids.
- Multivitamin–mineral – Take one serving size.
- Vitamin C – Take 500 mg twice daily. Is an antioxidant. Known to improve fertility in men.