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. Juicy peaches, ripe bananas, slippery 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.
Stoking the fire
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 affected 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. (Zinc is also needed for healthy skin, explaining the possible link with acne and teenage boys who may “lose a lot of zinc” in a day!). Best foods: pine nuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, seafood, oysters.
- Tyrosine. This amino acid is needed for dopamine production to enhance sexual desire. Best foods: chicken, turkey, oysters.
- Essential fatty acids are the building-blocks of hormones, so stock up on the “good fats”. Best foods: Almonds, walnuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados, hemp and flax oil.
- L-arginine is an amino acid 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: 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. Best 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 it mimics the feeling of being in love, increasing endorphins. Go for the dark stuff for beneficial antioxidants and minimal sugar.
Use warming herbs like cayenne pepper and ginger to increase blood circulation, whilst avoiding 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 at Awakening Health.