The link between alcohol and heart disease is both positive and negative, with the protective effects of resveretrol, an antioxidant in wine, on the one hand and the triglyceride and blood pressure raising effects on the other. Alcohol consumed in moderation may help reduce heart disease risk and the incidence of cardiovascular events. This link was first explained using what is known as the “French Paradox”.
The French diet is considered to be very high in fat, especially saturated fat, yet the death rate from coronary heart disease (CHD) remains relatively low. Researchers think it may have something to do with the high intakes of alcohol, fruit and vegetables in the French diet. The main beverage of choice in France, wine, also seems to have its own special benefits. Red wine in particular contains a flavonoid antioxidant called resveretrol, which is thought to be responsible for much of red wines benefits. A review study published in Endocrine, Metabolic and Immune Disorders June 2008 shows that moderate red wine consumption helps prevent metabolic syndrome and its related compilations, which include hypertension and elevated cholesterol. The review explains examples the role of resveretrol in mimicking calorie restriction and preventing the deleterious effects of excess food intake on insulin resistance and metabolic derangements. Wine drinking seems to raise levels of the good cholesterol fraction called HDL.


However, using alcohol as a prescription for preventing or managing heart disease can produce ore problems than its worse. Exercise is a far more effective means of raising HDL levels than alcohol. Alcohol in excess of what is considered moderate can also raise the levels of other heart harmful fats in the blood, called triglycerides. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa warns against even moderate alcohol consumption in people with already raised triglycerides, as even small amounts of drink can cause big changes in the levels of these harmful fats. Heavy drinking can also lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke and weight gain, which further impact on heart disease risk.


The link between alcohol and heart disease risk certainly warrants more research. For now, the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA does not advise that you start drinking wine or alcohol to obtain these potential benefits. To reduce your risk, the HSFSA recommends that you take steps to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, control your weight, do enough physical exercise and follow a healthy diet.  If you do enjoy alcohol – drink it in moderation.


As human beings, we are all driven towards the pursuit of pleasure and few things in life provide us with more of that satisfaction than food and sex. While both work great on their own, food can actually be used as a tool to inspire romance. In fact, ever since Eve fed Adam the apple, the two have become inextricably intertwined.

Throughout the ages, food has been used to enhance the senses, lift the mood, increase sexual desire and boost libido. While some foods do work by virtue of their chemical properties, others affect our desires and emotions through sight, smell and tactile gratification as well as through the oral pleasure of food textures and tastes.

Tips to boost libido with diet and lifestyle:

Lose weight if overweight. Obesity has been shown to be a risk factor for erectile dysfunction and low testosterone levels, so losing weight can directly help boost sexual function and libido.

Eat heart healthy. What’s good for your heart is also good for your penis. Too much saturated and trans fat (found in red meat, chicken skin and full fat dairy products as well as commercially baked products, crisps and most margarines) can, over time, clog arteries and, in doing so, prevent an adequate flow of blood from reaching the genital region. This not only interferes with the ability to perform, but also with sexual pleasure. Keep blood vessel clean and supple by including at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day and by eating other high fiber foods, like wholegrains and legumes.

Eat foods that boost circulation. Male and female sexual pleasure is related to sensation, which is directly related to blood circulation. The better the circulation to the genitals, the greater the pleasure. Ginger is a powerful circulatory stimulant and can be eaten raw, made into a tea, added in cooking or eaten in crystalline form. Chilli is also a great circulatory stimulant and is great for spicing up any meal. Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, like mackerel, salmon, sardines and pilchards as well as in flaxseed oil and walnuts also help improve circulation by keeping the vascular system healthy.

The amino acid L-arginine has been shown to help boost libido primarily through improved circulation to the genitals. Foods rich in L-arginine include oats, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, dairy, green vegetables, root vegetables, garlic, ginseng, soybeans, chickpeas and seeds.

Add stress-busting nutrients. Stress is a major libido killer. Taking a good B complex vitamin can help. A varied diet that includes lean meats, low fat dairy, green vegetables and wholegrains should be adequate in B complex vitamins.

Eat food rich in zinc. Zinc is one of the major minerals needed for healthy sexual function is men and women. Oysters are one of the richest sources of zinc known, which is why these slimy creatures have become the quintessential aphrodisiac food. All animal protein foods are rich in zinc. Legumes and wholegrains as well as nuts and seeds also contain zinc, and pumpkin seeds are the richest source.

Spice it up

Besides the afore-mentioned ginger and chilli, some other spices and aromatic plants are known for their aphrodisiac and libido boosting properties:

Nutmeg. This warm spice has been used for centuries as a powerful aphrodisiac and in large amounts it can produce a dreamy, hallucinogenic state.

Vanilla. The deep, warm aroma and flavour given off by the vanilla plant is said to increase lust.

Truffles. The Ancient Greeks and Romans considered the rare truffle (a member of the mushroom family) to be a sexual stimulant, mainly because of its alluring musky scent, said to be similar to the scent a male gives off when he is aroused.

Aphrodisiac foods

Some food can help set a mood simply by virtue of the way they look and feel. Try adding some of these to the daily mix:

Asparagus. Given its phallic shape, asparagus is a very popular aphrodisiac food.

Avocado. The ancient Aztecs called the avocado tree “Ahuacuatl”, meaning “testical tree”, because the fruit hanging in pairs resembles the male testicles. The avocado also bears a striking resemblance to the female womb. Avocados are rich in vitamin E, a nutrient essential to reproductive health. The smooth, sensual texture and mouth-feel only adds to the avocados appeal.

Banana. While the phallic shape of the banana is partially responsible for its popularity as an aphrodisiac food, bananas are also rich in potassium and B vitamins, nutrients necessary for sex hormone production.

Chocolate and booze- a little goes a long way

With chocolate and alcohol, a small indulgence can have an aphrodisiac effect, but over-indulge and you’ll get the opposite effect. Chocolate is a good source of theobromine, which stimulates the brain into producing feel-good and mood-elevating chemicals; very similar to the ones we produce when we are in love. Use as close to 100% cocoa as possible, and avoid chocolates that are heavily laden with sugar, caramel or wafer. A glass of wine with a meal can help increase libido by relaxing the body and lowering inhibitions. Too much alcohol though can dull the senses and cloud the mind, which can be a real mood-killer.

Author: Ashleigh Caradas


With the consciousness shift towards more natural ways of


Ashleigh Caradas is a registered dietician in Sandton. Are you looking for a dietician in Sandton? As a Johannesburg dietician in Sandton, I see many people who need help matching their diets with their stressful lifestyles. A busy lifestyle means that food and nutrition often takes a backseat as people seek out more convenient options. Stress also creates emotional deficits in ones life, which means that food becomes more of a filler and a comfort, rather than a means of keeping healthy. Most modern day illnesses are related to stress and poor dietary habits. The so-called diseases of lifestyle, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are all mostly preventable through proper diet and lifestyle habits.


Why visit a Dietician?


Most people are aware of their unhealthy habits, but the reality is most do not know how to go about changing them. A dietician will make a thorough evaluation of your health, which includes asking the right questions, doing measurements and possible ordering blood tests to identify any blood or hormonal abnormalities or nutritional deficiencies. From there an individualized meal plan is negotiated with you, the patient, which means that you get a diet that suites your needs and preferences. A registered Johannesburg dietician is affiliated with the Health professional Council of South Africa and fees can be claimed back from most medical aids.


Click here to make an enquiry to see a Ashleigh, Johannesburg dietician in Sandton


Or contact Ashleigh on 0828563374


You’ve seen the meticulous, funky moves of Brittney Spears and Justin Timberlake as they groove to your favorite pop songs on MTV. According to funk teacher Clinton Shalkoff, “It’s a very detailed form of dance that involves a lot of head, shoulder, rib and hip isolations. Funk jazz and hip-hop are slightly different forms of dance in that funk involves looser movements, but the two terms are often used interchangeably”. Funk jazz and hip-hop typical attract a younger following, although people of any age who are looking for a funkier, street-style of dancing can enjoy it. These dance styles are fast-paced and make for a great cardiovascular workout.

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