Soy: Friend or Foe?

by Tiffani on August 12, 2014

Edamame_-_boild_green_soybeansSoy is an ancient staple in Asian cuisines, but lately it’s gotten a lot of bad press. Is soy good for you, or bad?

The short answer is that soy can provide many health benefits if it’s consumed in modest amounts, and in a form that is either fermented or as close as possible to the whole state of the soybean.  Soy sauce, tempeh, miso, natto, edamame and tofu are all excellent choices. Soybean plants are native to southeastern Asia, and soy has been an important part of some Eastern diets for more than 5,000 years.

Unfortunately, soy derivatives have become commonly used in a shockingly high number of packaged foods, so many of us are at risk of consuming much more soy than we realize – and in a form that is highly processed and less desirable.  Soy lecithin, for example,  is an emulsifying ingredient used in a large number of packaged foods, ranging from chocolate bars to salad dressing.  These processed soy foods have little in common with the soy consumed in Asia for thousands of years.

Soy is one of the top eight most common food sources of allergies, and since 2006 food manufacturers have been required to state on the label whether or not a product contains soy.  Individuals with soy sensitivies and allergies must be vigilant, because soy derivatives are in medications, vitamins, In addition, consumers looking to avoid genetically-modified foods would do well to read soy-containing product labels carefully. Most of the soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified. Unless the label notes that the soy is organic, odds are in favor of the soy being genetically modified.

Another soy concern stems from chemical substances called isoflavones, which occur naturally many beans and especially in soy beans. Isoflavones interact with human hormones, behaving like estrogen in the body. This aspect of soy has sparked worries and research related to unwanted effects of isoflavones, but early research suggests that soy may be helpful in alleviating menopause symptoms and preventing hormone-related cancers, like prostate cancer, endometrial cancer and breast cancer.

Other benefits of soy are clear and well-documented.  Soy is high in protein, and this protein is of a very high quality. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has publicly declared support for studies linking moderate soy consumption (25 grams of soy protein per day) with a lowered heart disease risk.

So consider enjoying whole soybean dishes, like tofu and steamed edamame, as well as fermented products like soy sauce, tempeh, miso, natto.  Avoid highly processed foods whenever possible, and avoid soy supplements.  As with all foods, enjoy everything in moderation, soy included.  And talk to your doctor or nutritionist if you have any questions about whether soy is right for you.

Here’s one of my favorite soy preparations –  a very simple, healthy protein meal. You can eat this with brown or white rice, or with vegetables or on its own. I prefer firm tofu because it holds the shape and it won’t fall apart when you boil them in the water.

Ingredients:

1 ounce firm tofu, sliced

3 green onions, chopped

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon chili paste (if you want it spicy)

Preparation:

1. Boil Firm tofu in the water for 10 minutes and drain.

2. In a small bowl, mix green onions, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil and chili paste.

3. Cut tofu in cubes (or any size you like) and put it on a plate.

4. Drizzle the soy sauce mix over tofu.

Photo courtesy of Kanko on Flickr.

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Choose Spa Treatments Wisely during Pregnancy

by Tiffani on July 31, 2014

pregnancy_spaPregnancy seems like a natural time to visit the spa. Expecting a child can put some women in touch with their bodies like never before, adding extra layers of gratification to any treatment. A visit to a spa or wellness center can also be a medication-free way to mitigate aches and pains.

As positive as this nourishment can be, a spa treatment during pregnancy is not just business as usual. Don’t book an appointment without mentioning the pregnancy.  While there are wonderful ways to relax and enjoy your visit, wellness treatments are powerful – and a few could be detrimental to the health of moms and little ones.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time to indulge in a classic deep-cleansing facial to open the pores and improve the complexion.  A hydrating facial will soothe the skin and relax the body. But be aware that skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, so gentle products should be used. Vigorous treatments that might normally bring out the best in your skin – like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, electronic stimulation, and deep extraction – can cause damage during pregnancy, so put these routines on hold.  Avoid any wrinkle therapies that might involve BHA (salicylic acid), vitamin A (retinoids), or vitamin K. Skip laser treatments as well.

Prenatal massages can rejuvenate the muscles, floating away pregnancy muscle strain and backache. If you get a massage, be sure to work with a therapist who has experience with pregnancy. You might want to skip any aromatherapy aspects of the massage, both for your comfort and to avoid stimulating uterine contractions. Reflexology massage can also cause contractions, so skip this unless your therapist is very knowledgeable and experienced with pregnancy. Many women find that the second trimester is an ideal time for a prenatal massage. Check with your doctor before the appointment, as many spas – including the Tiffani Kim Institute – need to obtain a letter from a doctor before a prenatal massage.

Heat treatments should be avoided throughout pregnancy, starting at the very beginning – don’t ramp up your body heat if there’s even a chance of pregnancy. Those wonderful hot stone massages should be skipped until after the baby arrives, as should heated body wraps, hydrotherapy, steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools. Over-heating the body can have serious, negative effects on a developing baby at all stages of pregnancy. Tanning beds are never a good idea, but they’re especially harmful during pregnancy.

Manicures and pedicures can be safe treats for a mom-to-be, in moderation – be aware that most nail polishes contain chemicals like formaldehyde and toluene that can be harmful during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.

Even though some treatments should be avoided, don’t let these risks prevent you from visiting the spa. The right services can be not only safe, but extremely beneficial. Nourishing mom’s body and soul during pregnancy is good for everyone – baby included.

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Healthy Hair from the Inside Out

by Tiffani on July 26, 2014

I always look at beauty from the inside out – what you eat is what you are. If your diet becomes unhealthy or sleep starts to fall by the wayside, you’ll see it immediately in your skin, your body, and your personality. A few months later, you’ll see it in your hair, too.

It takes longer for nutrition and lifestyle choices to become visible in the hair – vitamins and nutrients affect growth right at the follicle, and it takes time for hair formed there to grow long enough to be visible. If hair is looking thin or lackluster, it’s a good idea to think about overall health and lifestyle. Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, manage stress conscientiously, and eat nutritiously.

The same foods important for general health are needed to support hair growth. Foods rich in omega-3s will help your body produce fatty acids needed to grow strong, thick hair. Try salmon, nuts (especially walnuts), seeds, and healthy oils.

Beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A, is essential for building all cells, including hair. Beta-carotene also nurtures a healthy scalp. Get plenty of beta-carotene by eating fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and apricots. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in other essential vitamins and minerals as well, and have the added benefit of helping to alkalize the body’s pH.

Iron transports oxygen to hair follicles – many women with anemia, an iron shortage, experience hair loss. Iron is abundant in meat products like beef, chicken, and fish. Eat plenty of foods rich in zinc – like oysters and eggs – to fight hair loss, thin eyelashes, and scalp troubles. Finally, be sure to get plenty of protein. Meat is a great source of protein, but so are Greek yogurt, beans, nuts, and cheese.

Consider covering nutritional bases with a high-quality supplement. A high-potency multivitamin is a great start, as is a B-complex supplement. Remember that supplements can interact with certain medications such as some antibiotics and also specific diabetes medications. Please be certain and consult with your doctor before adding in additional nutritional supplements. You may also find it helpful to talk with your doctor about tests to check levels of iron and other nutrients.

There are many factors beyond nutrition that can have a big effect on hair. Genetics, hormone levels, certain illnesses, food allergies, and medications can all have dramatic effects on hair health. Talk with your doctor if you suspect any of these issues.

Whatever the state of your hair, eat well and take care of yourself. You’ll reap the rewards far beyond your scalp.

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Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease

by Tiffani on June 19, 2014

SDC11220.JPGSummer means many of us are getting out of the city and into the sunshine. I have a home in Michigan that I love to visit with my dog, my “baby” Monster. I have been horrified to hear more and more about Lyme disease from my dog’s veterinarian and from pet-loving friends living in Michigan and Wisconsin.  Infection rates are on the rise in the Midwest and across the country.

Lyme disease is terrible for both animals and people. I hate the thought of my (very large) baby Monster becoming infected, and I want all my friends and readers to know enough about this disease to prevent it. Take ticks seriously, and protect yourself and those you love from Lyme disease this summer.

Lyme disease is carried by blacklegged ticks, which tend to be common in the areas surrounding Chicago – Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana counties near here are known risk areas. Ticks can be anywhere, but they like to gather in areas where they are likely to encounter people and animals.

Dress strategically if you know you’ll be around ticks. Cover up with a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants. Skip the sandals and choose boots or shoes, as ticks like to stay near the ground. Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see any hitchhikers, and brush ticks away before they attach to the skin. Be especially vigilant in late spring and throughout the summer.

People can wear an insect repellant containing DEET or Permethrin. Talk to a veterinarian about treatments for pets.  There are many options, including powders, spot treatments, shampoos, collars, and oral medications.

After time outdoors, check yourself – as well as kids and pets – for any ticks that may have found a way to attach. Remove ticks as soon as possible, using fine-tipped tweezers and grasping as close as possible to the skin. Use firm pressure to pull straight up, then carefully wash the wound. It takes about 48 hours for Lyme disease bacteria to be transmitted, so finding ticks fast is important. Look closely – younger, smaller ticks are most likely to feed on small mammals carrying Lyme disease, and these can be harder to find than adult ticks. If you remove a blacklegged tick that you fear may be a Lyme disease carrier, consider saving the bug and to submit for testing.

The first sign of Lyme disease is usually a “bull’s eye” rash around the bite within a month of tick contact. The rash may spread over time painlessly and without any itch. This may be accompanied by fatigue, headaches, fever, nausea, or achiness. Leaving the disease untreated could lead to heart block, nervous system problems like meningitis or encephalitis, or painful joints and muscles. Most can be treated effectively with antibiotics, especially in the early stages of the disease.

Enjoy the beautiful weather, and stay safe!

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Men06.14For men, careful grooming can be a professional necessity, demonstrating attention to detail and respect for others. But the benefits of good grooming extend beyond physical appearance. Planning time for self-care builds confidence, clears the head, and keeps anyone – man or woman – feeling ready for anything. Here are some of my favorite ways for men to look and feel fantastic.

Hair

Know how often to wash your hair — daily if your hair is straight, but maybe every few days if your hair is coarse or curly. Find a great barber and consider a regular haircut every three weeks. Regular cuts will prevent you from ever looking like you need a trim. Your barber can also make sure hair stays away from the ears and off the back of the neck.

Face

Whatever you prefer to do with facial hair, make sure skin is clean and moisturized. Use a mild cleanser and an excellent moisturizer. Don’t forget sunscreen – using something with a broad-spectrum SPF will protect your health and your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays.  A monthly facial, preferably one designed for men, will keep skin hydrated, toned, and blackhead-free.

Teeth

Brush and floss twice daily, and maybe more! Food and plaque are terrible for the mouth, and worse for conversations.

Nails

Keep nails short and meticulously clean. Do this yourself weekly, or join the growing number of men who schedule regular manicures. Setting this appointment every two weeks ensures that hands look fantastic without any further thought or effort on your part.

Body

Shower daily, as well as after working out or working outside. If you prefer a fuzz-free back, neck, and shoulders, shave carefully, or schedule a monthly waxing appointment. Also on the subject of hair, carefully check that nostril and ear hairs are out of sight. This is important for men of virtually all ages, especially 30 and older. You can use a trimmer designed for this purpose, but we can attest that waxing services for these areas are among our most popular services at the Tiffani Kim Institute. A monthly visit is all it takes.

Remember that grooming routines should enhance your life, not complicate it.  Be intentional and thoughtful as you prepare yourself for whatever the day might bring.  You’ll reap the rewards in your relationships, your sense of well-being, and in your long-term health.

If you’re preparing to honor any man important to you this Father’s Day, think about forgoing the “stuff” and instead using the holiday as an opportunity to nourish the body and soul. Mens’ spa services, a round of golf, a gym pass, or an outdoor excursion are great ways to give a sense of peace to someone you love.

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Fertility Preservation

by Tiffani on April 22, 2014

We can stop time now – I mean literally! In recent years, the option of freezing eggs has become reality for women. This has been a breakthrough for women in a sense that we can control our time when we want to be mothers, and that we do not have to be dependent on our natural ‘biological clock’ that never stops ticking. We can freeze our eggs at 30, and still choose to become mothers at 40s.

One of our acupuncturists, Caroline Jung, L.Ac., at our institute recently underwent the egg freezing process, and I thought it would be nice to share her own personal experience:

“I feel it is important for me to share this with my fellow women so that this conversation can become more commonly expressed. I feel that the option to go through an egg freezing cycle is not talked about by many OBGYNs to their patients unless there is already an issue at hand. I feel that we have to be proactive with our health and think about going through with an opportunity like this far in advance. I also hope that this process becomes more commonplace and does not seem out of reach or unusual; this option should be available for all women and presented to us before our childbearing years.

In August 2013, at age 39, I had my eggs frozen. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. This is something I thought about for many months and contemplated all of the pros and cons before beginning the journey. I grew through this experience in so many ways – on a personal level, this experience helped me to realize what is most important to me and what I truly want in my future. Of course the goal of my egg freezing cycle was to have as many healthy eggs retrieved as possible in order to become pregnant in the future, but I discovered so many other things about myself and my relationships. These revelations came to me during the months of thinking about this decision and then actually going through the process.

One of the most challenging pieces of my egg-freezing cycle was moving through each day and treating my body as if it were already pregnant. For several months before I began the stimulation cycle, I stopped vigorous exercise, I gave up refined sugars, alcohol and coffee – all of these sacrifices were tough but so well worth it! I kept in mind that everything I did, any food I consumed, every thought I had, every mile I would run, every emotion I felt. All of this was also felt by my eggs which will eventually become embryos that will hopefully become my child.

This process has so many layers to it that it began a long time before going in for monitoring, blood work, et cetera. One of the most exciting parts of my journey was beginning the medications. Even though the thought of injecting meds into my stomach was a bit scary, it actually did not really hurt and was fairly easy. When it came to the first day of doing it, I was really excited. This part was fascinating to me…that I was given all of the medications to help my follicles grow to nourish the growth of my eggs. To this day it is still amazing to me that for a large part of my egg freezing cycle, I was doing the majority of the work. Yes, I went in for ultrasounds, blood work, and of course the retrieval, but everything leading up to that was my sole responsibility to make sure that it was taken care of every day.

Through all of this, I felt I became close to the spirits housed in my eggs, as they were a part of me, and completely understood what this process was all about. The day came for my retrieval, and I told my mom that I was not ready to give them up, as I had felt so connected to them already through the days leading up to that point. The retrieval itself was a very quick process that I remember clearly, going into the surgery room and immediately afterward. I was very happy with my outcome: five healthy frozen eggs.

Now, I feel like I have gone through the tough part of my egg-freezing cycle and I look forward to the second half involving the transfer.

There are many options/programs available from many qualified and wonderful doctors, so take the time to research, do interviews with the docs and their staff, and take inventory of your own life and wishes. This is truly an amazing chapter you can add to your life!”

This opportunity was not available when I was going through my fertility journey and wished that it did.  TCW did a wonderful piece on this topic in the April 2013 issue  if anyone’s interested in more information about egg freezing.  Also, for more information about ‘to dos’ before egg freezing, visit our TKI health blog.

With this in mind, TKI is offering a special topics workshop on “Fertility Preservation” on Tuesday, May 20, at 6pm with Dr. Eve Feinberg from Fertility Centers of Illinois.  I hope some of you can join us! For more information, call 312.260.9000.

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Boost Your Cold-Season Energy

by Tiffani on February 25, 2014

With our long winter days and less time outside for exercise and activities, it can be easy for our energy levels to dip. This is usual at this time of year for most of us. Yet, we should pay attention if our energy level seems lower than usual for our daily routine and lifestyle. It is typical to experience the ‘winter blues’ and also ‘SAD’ (Seasonal Affective Disorder). With less sunshine for us to experience right now, this may contribute to emotional ups and downs along with other factors as well.

One easy to make sure we stay alert and active is to keep a healthy level of vitamin B-12 in our nutritional intake. Research shows that all of the B vitamins help with our overall mood and emotions. Out of the eight B vitamins, B-12 can especially help with feelings of anxiety and depression. It is typical that at only slightly lower than normal levels of vitamin B-12 we may experience symptoms of fatigue and poor memory. Other symptoms we may experience with a deficiency are weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and numbness in the hands and feet. All of these physical symptoms can also increase any emotional changes we may experience from a B-12 deficiency.

Along with being well-known for its benefits for mood, vitamin B-12 plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. It is needed to make red blood cells and nerves, as we see vitamin b-12 is commonly recommended for anemia. Another important role of B-12 is that it may help to protect against symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s Disease by protecting against brain atrophy and shrinking. Some studies claim that vitamin B-12 can help improve memory for Alzheimer’s patients.

Natural sources of vitamin B-12 are only found in animal products such as meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy. Some cereals, energy bars and milk substitutes are fortified with B-12 as well. So for vegetarians and vegans, you must use supplements to get your daily requirements of vitamin B-12. This is very easy as there are many high-quality supplements on the market. It can also be found in a ‘B-complex’ supplement which is great to make sure we cover all eight of our Bs. Also, some doctors and practitioners recommend vitamin b-12 shots which can greatly boost the immune system and overall health and well-being.

It is important for us to remember that vitamin B-12 can interact with certain medications such as some antibiotics and also specific diabetes medications. Please be certain and consult with your doctor before adding in additional nutritional supplements.

So, be sure to have your blood levels checked each year with your general practitioner to make sure your levels are up to par. Take your daily supplements as a preventative measure for your health and well-being!

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Remembering My Father, My Hero

by Tiffani on December 21, 2013

Holidays are a time for celebration.  For some of us, it’s also a time to miss and remember our loved ones who may have passed on.  This Christmas, for the first time in my life, my father will not be with us for this holiday season.  My father recently passed away and this is my memory of my beloved ‘Daddy.’

Many would say that their father is the best there is/was.  I can truly say that my Dad was the BEST that I could have ever asked for! He was a 100% devoted father to his children and a loyal husband to our mom.  My Dad gave us unconditional love, 24/7, and always gave us more than 100%.  I say 100% because that’s how my dad was.  That was his standard –anything less than 100% was not my Dad.

When I was 10 years old, I took a pair of scissors to my mom’s favorite dress to make doll cloths claiming that I wanted to be a fashion designer.  Instead of getting mad about the situation, my Dad encouraged me and complimented on what a beautiful dress I had made for the doll.

When I was 12, my Dad took me to the Children’s Art contest at the Seoul National Park which has many exhibits of historical monuments and statues. Most of the children who were there spent their time in front of monuments or statues and they would draw sketches of them. My Dad took my hand and guided me to the different areas of the park and told me that ‘beauty’ is present in everything and everywhere so I should look deeper and wider and not just focus on what I see on the surface.   He told me that it is important to see and think outside of the box if I wanted to be an artist.  I ended up winning the national contest with his wise advice.  This was the defining moment in my life that set the tone for everything I do.

Things changed for my Dad when our family moved to the United States. He never really showed great emotion, but we all knew that inside he had a heart of gold.  I never knew how loving and compassionate my Dad was until I was living out of the country during my college years.  He would write me the most loving letters; I couldn’t believe those words were coming from my Dad.

My Dad was not the easiest person to live with.  He had very high standards – his 100% was also what he expected of us.  He taught me the most important thing in a person was to be a person of decency, before being the best designer, before being a good businesswoman or any other person for that matter.  He never tolerated us being late, so we are never late!  He never tolerated us not being responsible for our actions or possessions.  He would never break a promise.  And he never tolerated one’s unkindness to another person.

These things were embedded within us when we were growing up.  Every dinner my Dad would tell us some inspiring stories about people of distant past and present, famous or not.  Again, stressing the importance of simple acts of kindness to ensure that we understood the virtue of being righteous and descent human beings.  He also never forgot to tell us, always, how proud he was of us.

My Dad was born what is now North Korea, the last country to stand divided on Earth.  He was born during a time of turmoil, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, in the midst of Confucius ideology transitioning to modern times.  With help of his parents risking their lives, he was able to escape the area of the country where it was becoming saturated with Communism.  He was only 12 years old.  My Dad never spoke of how he missed his family in North Korea, but I know that he had lived with the guilt of being the only survivor.  All his life that I know of, he longed to see his mother, father and the home he left behind over 70 years ago.  I now experience the pain of losing my Dad in my 50s.  I can only imagine what it would have been for my Dad to leave his beloved parents at 12 with no promise to ever see them again. Now I am sure he is with them reunited, catching up on lost times.

Perhaps, the greatest tribute I can give will be when I come to the end of my days and people say to me, simply, ” she was just like her father.” Daddy, I miss you more than words can express.  I know I will see you again — I am sure.  Hope you will be proud of what we all become when that time comes.  I love you Daddy, I miss you every day until I leave this earth, I promise I will never let you down and I thank you so much for the extraordinary, unconditional love you have given me all my life.   You will always be my “Hero”!

Love, forever!

Your daughter, Tiffani

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Natural Ways to Boost Immunity

by Tiffani on October 23, 2013

Cold and flu season definitely has arrived. I’m starting to see coughs and sniffles here and there. I think this is a good time to emphasize how you can stay healthy this flu season. Here are some simple things you can do to prevent and protect!

  1. Wash hands. This most common-sense practice is one of the most effective ways to minimize exposure to germs. Make it your routine to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  2. Drink plenty of fluids and use humidifier. With dry heat blasting to keep us warm, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Studies show that our cells do not properly function without water (which makes sense when our body is made up of more than 60 percent water).
  3. Sleep. We all know how we feel when we do not get adequate amounts of quality sleep. Our energy levels decrease and performance becomes sluggish. A recent study showed that lack of sleep is disruptive to our immune system.
  4. Moderate stress. Numerous studies show that stress decreases immune system functions and can make you prone to infection. Give yourself a little downtime to listen to your favorite music, make your favorite meal or simply go for a short walk.
  5. Exercise regularly. Getting your blood flow going will help to boost the immune system. Daily walks, jogs or maybe trying out the newest, hippest workout class would be great.
  6. Eat well. Warm, nourishing foods are good in the cold weather. A good soup or stew or foods high in zinc, such as oysters, can help you to fend off cold and flu. Garlic is a great herb to add in ample amounts to many of your dishes: The allicin in garlic helps to boost the immune system.
  7. Try acupuncture. I highly recommend this as it is shown to boost your immune system and have your Qi-energy in check, free of ‘stagnation.’ This is definitely my go-to strategy for staying healthy!
  8. Have sex. Study shows having sex one to two times a week can boost your immune system…now there’s a thought for tonight!

With a few known remedies and routine add-ins, we can certainly beat this cold and flu season. Stay healthy and be well! At the Tiffani Kim Institute, we offer flu shots and Vitamin B shots every day. It’s best to be proactive and prevent so you can enjoy the winter season. Call 312-260-9088 and make an appointment.

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Boost Your Sex Life – The Natural Way!

by Tiffani on September 10, 2013

Are you too tired to have sex? What happened to your desire? You don’t feel the excitement? Well, you are not alone!

I think most of us go through some issue like this in our busy/stressful lifestyle. I know that such problems can be corrected with simple hormone treatments like what we offer at the Tiffani Kim Institute, but I’m always curious how to fix things naturally as well. So, I asked one of our acupuncturists, the very talented Caroline Jung, Dipl. Ac., MSOM. Caroline specializes in women’s health, and she’s very passionate about natural remedies and treatments. Here’s what Caroline has to say about how to boost libido the natural way…

Is it natural for women and men to have a lower libido as we age? The answer is yes for both! As we become older, our physiology gradually changes. Along with age comes a change in our hormone levels, which can play a dominant role in the level of our sex drive. This varies from person to person and can depend on a range of circumstances. Sometimes a low sex drive can be a result of underlying physical conditions, while at other times it may be linked to psychological issues or a combination of the two. Luckily, we have natural, comfortable ways to nourish our libido.

For women, decreased sexual desires can begin during perimenopause, which is the time right before menopause, which can occur in a woman’s late 30s or 40s. Menopause is also a starting point for some women to notice a decrease in their sex drive. This is due to a shift in hormones, particularly estrogen. A few other causes may be post-partum depression, hypothyroidism, prescription drugs, body image issues, stress, and anxiety.

For men, a decrease in libido can be a result of low testosterone levels that may be due to hypogonadism. Other causes may include digestive issues, heart disease, prescription drugs, alcohol use, depression, stress, and anxiety.

For both women and men, any of the symptoms listed above can lead to another – any physical symptom causing a decrease in the lust for love can cause an emotional disruption which can lead to a decreased sexual desire. This is the same as an emotional issue affecting a physical symptom, resulting in a lowered sex drive.

So what natural ways we can maintain a healthy sex life? One of the most well-known treatments is herbal therapy. There are a number of herbs and herbal formulas that are recommended, depending on the individual. Here are a few to consider:
  • St. John’s Wort: an herb commonly used to treat depression, anxiety and menopausal symptoms, which can affect libido.
  • Passion Flower: an herb native to North America, it is well known for its aphrodisiac effects and for reducing anxiety.
  • Ginkgo: an herb native to China that is known for its benefits for concentration/focus; it may also help improve blood circulation, therefore increasing sex drive.
  • Sarsaparilla: an herb that can have a positive effect on testosterone and progesterone production, which play roles in reproduction; this herb is beneficial for general sexual energy and vitality.
  • Yin Yang Huo: a traditional Chinese herb that is used for nourishing the ‘kidney energy’ and treating erectile dysfunction.
As with all medications, herbs and supplements, consult with your doctor before incorporating a new treatment as to be aware of possible side effects and/or interactions with other medications, herbs, and supplements. Along with herbal treatment, here are a few key recommendations to keep in mind for both women and men to sustain a happy and healthy sex drive:
  • Adequate, restorative sleep
  • Regular exercise to build energy and stamina
  • Fresh and organic healthy diet
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Daily multivitamins
  • Acupuncture
  • Engage in activities that increase self-esteem
  • Meditation
  • Spending quality time with your partner not only for your physical connection but also spiritual and emotional
Our natural sexual desire depends on not only our physical well-being but also our emotional health and spirit. By keeping in mind that both nourish and develop each other, we can continually enjoy the full expression of our love lives!

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