Bananas and cucumbers may stir certain anatomical associations in your mind, but which foods really boost your libido?
Think of foods that tantalise the taste buds and stimulate the senses. Think juicy peaches, big, ripe bananas, slippery, wet oysters, succulent strawberries and the delightful experience of slowly undressing sweet lychees revealing their sensual softness within. Avocados and figs, resembling the testicles, have been historically associated with passion, oysters have been hailed as the all-time aphrodisiac and chocolate is a lovers’ favourite, so let’s take a closer look at the nutrition behind the titillation.
Sexual health and therefore passion, is dependent upon healthy hormones and feel-good brain chemicals being produced. Firing at the right moment (referring to the hormones!) is crucial.
Testosterone plays an important role, in women as well as men, in sexual desire. Nutrients such as essential fatty acids, amino acids, zinc and B vitamins are team players in the delicate act of stoking your fire. If any of these nutrients are missing, your hormones will be effected and it is probable that your fire may resemble an ember rather than a raging inferno.
Nutrients for your libido
- Zinc increases testosterone for healthy libido and encourages proper sperm production. In fact, the RDA (15mg) of zinc may be lost in just one ejaculation. (As zinc is also needed for healthy skin, it doesn’t take rocket-science to figure out why acne affects many teenage boys, who spend much of their time “losing zinc”!).
- Best zinc foods: pine nuts, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, seafood, oysters.
- Tyrosine, an amino acid, is needed for dopamine production to enhance sexual desire. Foods: chicken, turkey, oysters.
- Essential fatty acids are the building-blocks of hormones, so stock up on the “good fats”. Almonds, walnuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados, hemp and flax oil.
- L-arginine, an amino acid, is responsible for increasing nitrous oxide, which is needed to create blood flow for erection in a man, and to enhance the sexual experience, in a woman.
- Top arginine foods include almonds, chocolate and peanuts.
- B vitamins, particularly B6 & B5, support a healthy stress response. Stress has a detrimental effect on sex drive, so managing stress levels and providing specific nutrients to support the adrenal glands, will do wonders for your libido.
- B vitamin foods: whole grains, almonds, pine nuts, seeds, oats, avocado, brown rice, eggs, green leafy vegetables.
Eating for passion
Focus on vegetables, oily fish, chicken, oysters, oats, nuts and seeds. Snack on raw almonds to increase energy for a night of passion and don’t forget chocolate, it’s the all-time classic libido food. Women love it and we all know that it mimics the feeling of being in love and an increase in endorphins. The darker the better to increase antioxidants and minmise sugar and other non-aphrodisiac ingredients. Use warming herbs like cayenne pepper and ginger to increase blood circulation.
Avoid saturated fats, refined white carbohydrates, processed and fried foods, as these play havoc with the hormones, clog up the arteries (depleting blood flow to all body parts) and dampen down the libido. Whilst a little alcohol may help get you in the mood, too much can ruin your performance and with “beer googles” removed, you may wake up with less than you bargained for!
Article by Jo Rowkins dipNT MBANT, nutritionist, founder of awakening health and executive health adviser of The Spa Resorts.