You are what you eat, so they say. And food and sex have a complex relationship. Some foods such as cheese, mint and caffeine can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but taking them excessively can lower your libido. Below are some foods that could futz with that delicate balance or be a contributing factor to a sputtering sex drive
1. Foods high in saturated fat
If some of your favourite meals are fried, they may be tasty, but they’re also laden with saturated fat. This contributes to clogged arteries, poor blood flow, and weight gain; that can lead to erectile dysfunction. As a result, this plays a part in your drive to have sex.
If you eat poorly, you’re more likely to be obese and have problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure, all of which can affect your libido. Other foods high in saturated fat are red meat and cheese.
A glass of wine or a cocktail can get you in the mood, but drink much more than that regularly, and your libido will pay the price.
Alcohol is a depressant that can play havoc with a man’s ability to achieve and maintain an erection and dampen libido for both sexes.
Heavy drinking can lead to lower testosterone and higher estrogen levels. In combination, this can affect your libido.
The sweet stuff increases levels of the hormone insulin, which can cause you to store belly fat, lose muscle mass and causing your testosterone levels to drop.
In men, belly fat raises estrogen levels, which can result in low libido and erectile dysfunction; one study found that glucose (sugar) significantly reduced total and free testosterone levels.
Making an effort to get rid of the sugar you consume—knowingly or otherwise—could be just what the love doctor ordered.
Fresh breath is sexy, and mint is the fresh maker. There are also some great health benefits, too! But the menthol in mint lowers testosterone. The result? Your pleasure and fun are emphatically not doubled.
Beets are delicious and nutritious. Like many other root vegetables, they contain compounds to support healthy estrogen levels in your body. That’s great when your testosterone levels aren’t depleted, but if you have an existing hormonal imbalance, you could be exacerbating things by eating too many.
Soy is a plant that contains phytoestrogens, that mimic the same female hormone produced by women to cause the development of secondary sex characteristics.
Eating too many of these phytoestrogens could disrupt hormone balance in both men and women, depressing libido across the board. High levels of soy are found in soy milk, edamame, tofu snacks and most vegetarian meat alternatives.
7. Processed foods
Processing removes most of the nutrients in whole foods, including ones that are important to your desire for hanky panky. For example, when whole wheat is processed into white flour, it loses about three-quarters of its zinc, a mineral essential to men’s sexuality and reproduction.
Eating refined grains can lead to insulin resistance, the last stop before diabetes. Diabetes can in turn accelerate narrowing of the arteries, increasing your risks of heart disease.
Is there such thing as too much coffee? Maybe, so far as your sex life is concerned. Sure, coffee’s caffeine supply could give you increased stamina for sex, but if you’re someone who gets jittery from coffee, this will not be a love potion for you. Increased anxiety can lower your sex drive, a frequent complaint of people with caffeine sensitivity.
Cheese is hard to digest and can cause bloating and gas. It also keeps away the blood from sex organs and interferes with the production of hormones including estrogen and testosterone.
Okay, this isn’t technically a food—but it’s still something you consume, so it’s on the list. Antidepressants and other medications such as birth control can interrupt how your body produces and manages hormones such as serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine, which all influence your sex drive. Talk to your doctor if you think your pills might be lowering your libido.