Did you know that certain foods can increase your libido, while other foods can kill it?
If you want to boost your sex drive, try noshing on foods high in zinc.
“The mineral zinc has been linked to sexual function, as without enough zinc, sexual development in children can be delayed and men may not produce adequate sperm,” shares Judy Mitnick, a registered dietitian with Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy & Sports Performance. “Zinc is found in foods of animal origin including seafood, thus the common association of oysters and virility. It is also found in beans, nuts, and whole grains.”
In addition to oysters, try incorporating salmon, mackerel, or sardines into your diet.
“Eating fatty fish can raise dopamine levels in the brain, which helps to improve circulation and blood flow, triggering arousal,” says Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Other foods that may increase your libido are avocado, potatoes, sweet potatoes, nuts, chocolate, licorice, watermelon, pumpkin and bananas.
“Avocado is a good source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, both of which are good for the heart and circulation, which are important for a good sex life,” Rumsey says. “Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which can also help improve circulation.”
Almonds and walnuts also contain zinc, selenium, and vitamin E, all of which are important for sexual health and reproduction, while the potassium in bananas and pumpkins helps decrease blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a cause of erectile dysfunction.
To prevent erectile dysfunction, men should also include blueberries in their diet.
“Eating flavonoid-rich foods is associated with a reduced risk of ED in men, and blueberries contain a high dose of the flavonoid anthocyanin,” says Rumsey. Other foods to put men in the mood include oatmeal and pomegranate.
Meanwhile, red meat is good for women.
“Women’s libidos may lag if they are feeling tired, which is often a side effect of low iron levels,” points out Rumsey. “Red meat is a good source of iron.”
And what foods should you avoid?
“Refined carbs like those found in white bread or pasta, and most processed snack foods can lower testosterone levels,” says Rumsey.
While a glass of wine may seem like a good idea to put you in the mood, alcohol may actually decrease arousal.
“It is well proven that excessive alcohol intake has a negative effect on sexual function,” says Mitnick. “Smoking also can impact libido negatively. Nicotine constricts blood flow and causes the accumulation of plaque in blood vessels.”
In general, “a healthy lifestyle incorporating nutritious foods and regular exercise will make you look and feel better, and go a long way toward improving your sex life,” Rumsey says.
“Maintaining a healthy sexual drive is most dependent on a healthy body and mind,” she says. “An overall healthy diet promotes energy and blood flow, two important components of libido. Maintaining a healthy weight not only improves self-confidence and attraction but also ensures an adequate energy level. Regular exercise also helps combat fatigue and depression, which are two common culprits linked to a low libido.”