On a recent trip to Vancouver, I saw a cereal for purchase in the supermarket called Sexcereal. I did a double take—was this a joke? Then, much to my surprise, the same cereal appeared on a recent segment of Live with Kelly and Michael. This breakfast, produced in Canada, claims to be formulated specifically for sexual health with ingredients that are meant to support hormonal balance in women and testosterone in men.
Being the diligent woman, wife, and nutritionist that I am, I had to investigate the ingredients touted in the Sexcereal for Her and determine if science could confirm their claims and whether I should get online immediately and buy some.
1. Ginger: Research will support the effectiveness of this root in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. But studies could not confirm its use in Chinese medicine to treat impotence or the claims that the scent of ginger can lead to sexual arousal.
2. Cacao nibs, the raw form of chocolate, are very high in antioxidants, which studies have shown may help strengthen our immune system and decrease cardiovascular disease. However multiple studies haven't confirmed the claims that arginine, an amino acid, increases sexual desire by increasing blood flow throughout the body or that methylxanthines boost libido.
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3. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, and studies have shown that this may help lower high blood pressure. Saying that they may be a key to sexual health because they support the nervous system might be a stretch, though.
4. Chia seeds have been proven to be rich in rich in omega 3-fatty acids, great for reducing inflammation in the arteries. Multiple studies, however, do not prove that they can boost stamina and circulation while juicing nerve endings for an added sensory experience, as suggested by the cereal’s claims.
5. Almonds: Extensive research will concur that they are rich in zinc, selenium, and vitamin E, and promote good cardiovascular health while also lowering cholesterol. But the claim that zinc may help enhance libido and sexual desire is still lacking in the science.
6. Flax seeds are a good source of fiber, which multiple studies show can lower cholesterol levels, and contain lignans, a fiber compound with phytoestrongenic properties. How much it actually balances a woman’s hormones, especially in the small amount included in the cereal, is anybody’s guess.
7. Oats and oat bran: There are numerous studies that will prove both can lower cholesterol levels. As for oat bran’s ability to provide an indirect sexual boost because of effect on blood flow—this might be a stretch. And anecdotally speaking, as a huge oatmeal eater, I don’t see the relaxing benefit of its vitamin B concentration that the cereal promotes.
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8. Maca, a Peruvian herb, generates lots of buzz about its reputed ability to boost libido, but it's definitely more buzz than science. What we know about this herb to be fact is that it's rich in plant sterols and a good source of iron, magnesium, selenium, and calcium.
Although I don't think this cereal is going to enhance anyone’s sex life (and with 200 calories per 3/8 cup serving, more is definitely not better), it does have lots of healthy ingredients, plus one serving has 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. If it will get the non-breakfast eater to eat breakfast or the unhealthy eater to choose something healthier, I say why not. And I guess if anecdotally if it helps anyone in the bedroom, I can’t argue with that either.