Zinc is an essential mineral that carries out numerous functions in your body, including promoting a healthy immune system, protecting the liver from damage and it even helps you to heal from wounds. Find yourself deficient in this mineral and your libido will be screaming out to be fed. Zinc is vital for testosterone production, which affects sexual desire, vigor and stamina in both men and women. Zinc deficiencies in men can cause sexual performance problems, which can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Zinc also helps to prevent PMS symptoms in women and plays an important role in the function of the prostate gland in men. Semen also contains zinc; not enough zinc in your diet and those little guys may be too weak to get to where they need to go. On the other hand, in Chinese Medicine it is believed that excessive ejaculation can reduce the amount of zinc in your body, leading to a loss of sexual desire. It’s a vicious cycle isn’t it? Zinc also allows acuity of smell and taste and a deficiency could lead to a loss of those senses. What a bummer it would be if you couldn’t smell and taste all the sexy food you have been working so hard on.
So how do you know if you are deficient? Some common signs of a possible major deficiency in zinc are acne, fatigue, white spots on your fingernails, hair loss, high cholesterol, prostate trouble, irregular periods, impotence and infertility. However, even a minor deficiency can affect your sexual desire and function, so taking the time to make sure you are getting enough of this mineral during the day can have a positive outcome on your romantic evenings. If you are concerned, there is an oral test that can be done at a doctors’ office, as well as a blood test to determine if you are zinc deficient. Vegetarians and vegans need about 50% more zinc in their diet then meat eaters. Since there is an array of plant-based zinc sources, there is no need to panic and since most Americans are believed to be deficient in this vital mineral, it’s time to eat up people!
Sexy Veggie Food Choices: tempeh, beans including lentil, adzuki beans, chickpeas and lima beans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts including cashews, pecans, pine nuts, almonds and Brazil nuts, tahini, flax seeds, flax oil, peas, blackberries, kiwi, peas, summer squash, corn and sweet potato, oats and seaweeds including kelp and dulse.
Try this recipe for my “Just Can’t Get Enough Granola” to start boosting your zinc today.
Just Can’t Get Enough Granola
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 quarts
3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
¾ cup raw slivered Almonds
¾ cup raw chopped Walnuts
1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup Coconut flakes
¾ cup Pure Maple Syrup
½ cup Olive Oil
½ cup Sucanat
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Cardamom
¾ cups dried Apricots
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except the apricots.
3) Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil, in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until golden brown and well toasted.
4) Transfer granola to a large bowl to cool.
5) Add apricots, tossing to combine.
* Be ware, this is so addicting! If you don’t gobble it all up in one sitting it will keep in an airtight container for a few weeks.
Photo Credit: average jane at flickr for creative commons