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Updated 24 December 2013

Foods that sex you up

Is your diet sex friendly? Take a look at what you should be eating to improve your sexual prowess.

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Is your diet sex friendly? Here's what you should be eating to improve your sexual prowess.

The cottage at Nature's Valley is booked. But what about your trouser furniture? Will you be able to cut the mustard? For a start, remember that sex is neither a marathon nor a contest. That said, it's nice to know you can hold up your end, as it were, when required.

Here are a few handy pointers:

Sow them and reap them: Cholesterol, as you know, clogs the arteries, including the ones in your penis. When you're aroused, your penis can hold up to ten times as much blood as normal, so any obstruction of the arteries feeding it will become apparent in its tumescence - or lack thereof. Help keep these passages clear of detritus by eating plenty of oats and oat bran, which you can sprinkle on anything.

Apart from erection trouble in the penis itself, the prostate gland plays a pivotal role in sex. If you're prone to prostatitis (Inflammation of the prostate), see your doctor. You can help relieve the swelling by eating rye bread and other whole grains and seeds. A handful of dried pumpkin seeds each day has helped alleviate some men's symptoms of BPH - benign prostatic hyperplasia.

B complex: sounds like an instruction from a Hollywood therapist, but it's the catchall phrase for three vitamins, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. The first two help your body produce energy when you need it. Niacin helps your blood vessels dilate, allowing your heart to rev up and go for broke when it needs to. It also helps your body produce testosterone. To get enough, pop some multivitamins, and eat plenty of beans and peas, and asparagus, bananas and raw nuts. Watch out for the fattening oils in nuts, though - the worst culprit? Macadamias.

Down the zinc, but no sinking feeling: It's good to knock back a couple of vitamin supplements each day, but for its effect on libido and fertility, nothing beats zinc. It's easy to obtain, but it goes as fast as it comes. One doctor estimated that you lose up to five milligrams of zinc each time you ejaculate. So, a salvo of three and your RDA has been wiped out. A single oyster (or a married one) has enough zinc to keep you going for the day. For those of us who think oysters look like the contents of a toddler's nose, you can buy innocuous little zinc tablets at any health shop or pharmacy.

Egg-shelly it's wonderful: Here's one more mineral you'll need - calcium. All your muscles, including the one inside your devilishly useful tongue and the one that controls your orgasms, need calcium. You can munch on eggshells, but they taste awful. Yoghurt, dairy products, dark green veggies, breads and fish, especially tinned sardines, have plenty of calcium. So do the pills marked 'calcium' at the pharmacy.

Eye of newt… A word about aphrodisiacs: snake oils, Tahitian mountain tuber, all work if you believe in them enough. It's called the placebo effect. Stick to the basics; spend the money on a good housesitter and enjoy the holiday. Stress is a libido's biggest downer. – (William Smook, Health24, updated April 2011)

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