It’s springtime, and love is in the air. Believe it or not, your lovemaking ability (or lack thereof) is directly related to your diet, and certain foods are more detrimental to your ability to perform than others.
If you happen to be a man who is experiencing a little trouble getting, er, “inspired” for sexy time, we have a list of foods that can potentially help you fight erectile dysfunction.
Sexual desires are controlled by what is known as the libido — a fancy word for sex drive. Libido is determined by a number of factors that include sociological, psychological, and hormonal influences. “In both men and women, the hormone testosterone drives much of human libido,” explains Dr. Michael Hirt, founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine in California's San Fernando Valley, who often hands out a list of foods to patients who complain about a lowered sex drive. “Low testosterone means a lower sex drive.”
This is why the idea of aphrodisiacs, foods that stimulate your sex-drive, is widely accepted and revered by the most amorous of humans. While there isn’t much scientific evidence that such foods can really rev up your sex drive, the theory is that certain foodstuffs can help us become aroused through their smell, taste, and texture (slurping oysters, anyone?). Additionally, some people believe that the chemical makeup of these sexy foods can alter hormones in your body.
The facts behind arousal through food are slightly more complicated. “Certain foods can lower testosterone levels,” says Hirt. “The foods that are most likely to do so include cheese… chocolate, and alcohol. These foods lower testosterone by increasing the activity of an enzyme, aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. The overall effect of increased aromatase activity is lower testosterone levels and higher estrogen levels.”
Many may assume that high estrogen and low testosterone is a recipe for romantic disaster solely for men, but this isn't the case; women can experience adverse symptoms when they have too much estrogen as well. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians notes that when a woman’s estrogen levels are too high, she may undergo negative health complications including an increase in PMS symptoms, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis as well as other symptoms such as allergies, decreased libido, fatigue, fibrocystic breasts, headaches, infertility, irritability, and fat gain around the abdomen and on the top of the thighs. Further, numerous studies demonstrate that excess estrogen can cause breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers (all of which are considered estrogen-dependent cancers), cervical dysplasia (a precancerous condition characterized by abnormal changes to cervical tissues), and even menopausal symptoms.
To help you make sure your romantic evening isn’t cut short, we’ve put together the following list of hormone-altering foods and drinks. To help keep the proverbial fires burning, you might want to keep these foods off of your date-night menu.