Jayney's Blog

Love, Sex, and Chocolate

With St Valentine’s Day upon us, our thoughts naturally turn to love, relationships and sex. So, I bet you’re wondering why I’m talking about these from a holistic anti-ageing perspective.  Well, here’s the secret: it has been proven that people with better relationships live longer and healthier lives – and also that a great sex-life also has amazing youth-giving and health-enhancement properties!

Relationships:  Let’s look at the life-span increasing and health-span enhancing properties of relationships first:  The inspirational scientist, Professor Ellen Langer, supervised a BBC programme which was shown recently called “The Young Ones”, where a group of elderly celebrities spent two weeks living in a house which had been converted to be a realistic 1970’s environment – a time when they were at the peak of their professions, and felt young, fit, healthy and vibrant.  Biological markers of age, such as blood pressure, balance, cognitive function, flexibility and so on were measured at the beginning of the experiment and at the end.  In just two weeks the celebrities had improved dramatically in all areas measured. It was very clear from the celebrities reports that while they enjoyed being in the 1970s environment, they felt that they benefitted most from suddenly becoming involved with a stimulating social group.  Other research bears this out – and many studies of longevity and health show that people who socialise with others live longer and more healthily.  This socialisation can come in many forms, from joining clubs, having good personal relationships – such as a good marriage, participating in religious activities, to seeing family and friends.  However, crucially, there are two forms of socialisation that stand head and shoulders above other approaches – first, going to social dances (triple benefit here – socialisation, a physical workout and of course the brain exercise which comes from having to remember the steps!).  Second, volunteering:  This seems to confer enormous benefits for every measurable biological function.  There appears to be something very special about helping others which triggers enormous wellbeing in volunteers.

Sex: Your life-span and your health-span will be increased through having more sex. One study has shown that men with a high frequency of orgasms showed a 50% reduction in mortality.  No one is quite sure why sex should be linked to life expectancy .  It could be that healthier people may have more sex and that the research linking sex to life expectancy is reflecting this. However, as mentioned above, good relationships are linked to longer life expectancy. It is possible that sex helps to cultivate good, positive relationships and vice versa. There’s probably a direct health benefit associated with sex too: Aside from the physical workout you get from crazy, hot sex, it also triggers a flood  of those ‘feel good’ chemicals – the endorphins – and a wide range of healthy hormones stream through the body. Whatever the actual underlying reason for the benefits of great sex, the simple fact of the matter is that sex is incredibly healthy and we should all indulge whenever possible – and not just wait for Valentine’s Day .

Valentine’s Day Chocolate – The Healthiest Aphrodisiac?

Chocolate has been considered to be an aphrodisiac for millennia – the first evidence of its use as such comes from Aztec writings.  Aside from being delicious and  full of anti-oxidants, chocolate also contains a beneficial compound call phenethylamine or PEA for short, it’s a central nervous system stimulant that is thought to help arouse emotions – particularly those associated with love.  For chocolate to be effective as a health food or as an aphrodisiac, you need to eat any kind that has in excess of 70% cocoa.  Raw chocolate is even better – and even more delicious if that can be believed.

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