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. Such 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?).
To help you make sure your romantic evening isn’t cut short, we’ve put together the following list of hormone-altering, sense-changing foods and drinks. To help keep the proverbial fires burning, you might want to keep these foods off your date-night menu.
Processed foods, especially all-purpose or white flour, are stripped of many components which are vital for sexual health. One such component, the mineral zinc, is essential to a man’s reproductive health. Compared to whole-grain or whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour has about three-quarters less zinc. Additionally, eating all-purpose flour can lead to insulin resistance and, eventually, diabetes. Diabetes can, in turn, narrow one’s arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and erectile dysfunction. If you’re looking to keep your sex life healthy, check out our list of foods you can eat after removing processed foods from your diet.
While eating beets before your workout can improve muscle function, these deliciously sweet vegetables may not do much to bolster your sexual ability. Consuming these trendy root vegetables will support healthy estrogen levels in your body, a facet of a beet’s nutritional attributes that has negative consequences for those who have an existing hormonal imbalance. If your hormones are in check, though, beets’ natural ability to increase blood flow may prove beneficial for men who have trouble getting “inspired” for a little lovemaking.
From a nutritional standpoint, eating fresh or frozen berries is incredibly beneficial, but produce with edible skin, especially berries, contains some of the highest levels of pesticides, which mimic estrogen. If you can find some organic, pesticide-free berries, you’ll find that their vitamin content can help to improve your sex life.
There are many, many reasons to avoid conventionally bottled water, but when it comes to virility and fertility, the BPAs found in plastic bottles are the largest one. Bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA, is a chemical component found in many plastic food containers that can harm your body in more ways than one. You’re better off avoiding BPAs when selecting a reusable water bottle, especially because they can cause erectile dysfunction in men. Additionally, a Slovenian study in Fertility & Sterility found a significant association between urinary BPA concentration in men and lower total sperm count, concentration, and vitality. In a Harvard School of Public Health study, it was found that women who had the higher BPA levels in their bodies produced 27 percent less viable eggs.
Many canned soups contain outrageously high levels of sodium, an ingredient that can lead to elevated blood pressure and, in turn, do a lot of damage to your heart. Additionally, sodium can inspire diminished blood flow (even to the parts of the body that depend on increased blood flow during sex). Is there a correlation between this and the reasoning behind Ted Cruz buying 100 cans of Campbell’s soup after his honeymoon? We’ll let you be the judge.
Sure, a well-thought out cheese plate is the perfect way to start a party or gathering (or to end a serious dinner), but guests may not be taking the party back to their place if they loaded up on too much cheese. If derived from cow’s milk (which could be loaded with synthetic hormones), cheese can potentially mess with your body’s natural production of hormones, including estrogen and testosterone.
It may be a little surprising to find chocolate on this list, especially because the good type contains flavonols, which promote healthy blood flow, but it is possibly harming your sex life. Though usually thought of as an aphrodisiac because it can stimulate feelings of euphoria and love, according to Dr. Michael Hirt, it will also suppress testosterone levels.
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. Consider trying one of our 26 morning pick-me-ups that aren’t coffee that contains less caffeine in order to get your love life back in order.
Unfortunately, a passionate, fulfilling sex life isn’t one of the best cereal box toys ever. On the contrary, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who invented cornflakes, believed that sweet or spicy foods inflamed the passions and sought to depress the libido with a bland, sugarless cereal that no one could find arousing. While some brands of cornflakes are healthier than others, their carbohydrate content may be responsible for one’s deflated desires.
Much of the meat from your favorite deli is packaged at one point or another in PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Fatty meats can absorb PVC, causing some undesirable hormonal changes. We think that there’s something to be said for avoiding processed meats, but if you can’t resist a turkey sandwich for lunch ask for your meat to be wrapped in brown butcher paper.
Staying fit and trim is usually good for your sex drive, but, in addition to potentially making your infant become overweight, eating and drinking products with artificial sweeteners can be a total buzzkill. Such sweeteners, especially aspartame, directly affect your serotonin levels, a vital hormone in helping you get in the mood. If you’re a man, try one of our nine best drinks for men’s health instead.
Sure, flax seeds are great for your skin, but they may have a detrimental impact on your sex life. In one instance, a middle-aged woman’s hirsutism (unwanted male-pattern hair growth on a woman’s face, chest, and back) was resolved by prescribing her 30 grams of flax seeds daily. After four months of this diet, her total testosterone dropped by 70 percent, and her free-testosterone levels went down by 89 percent. If your hormones aren’t in line, get your healthy omega-3s from another source.
Not only are fried foods responsible for much of America’s obesity epidemic, but they can also kill your libido. Hydrogenated oils used to fry food suppress testosterone levels. If you want French fries, consider baking them with healthier oils like extra virgin olive oil.
Can you pronounce glycyrrhizin? Yeah, neither can we, but it’s a component of licorice that can negatively affect your sex life. Glycyrrhizin reduces testosterone levels in men, resulting in a lower libido. If you’re looking for something sexy to snack on, ditch the licorice in favor of pistachios — they’ll help your blood vessels to relax and, hopefully, your sexual functions to improve.
If you want a healthy sex life, you may want to avoid Waka Flocka’s new vegan, marijuana-infused granola bars. While many people like to add pot to foodstuffs, including but not limited to marijuana peanut butter and THC-free weed-infused vodka, it can detract from one’s sexual drive (and ability) by lowering testosterone levels for up to 24 hours. Skip the ganja in favor of a more wholesome leaf: Dark leafy greens can help to combat erectile dysfunction.
One of the most estrogen-inspiring pesticides found in food is 4-hexyl resorcinol, which is often applied to shrimp to help preserve their color. If you’re looking to make a delicious shrimp recipe this summer, stick to a pesticide-free shrimp manufacturer. Farmed tilapia and salmon also can contain pesticides that may interfere with your sex life. Find out why one doctor has given up eating tilapia altogether.
All meatheads know this: Soy-based protein powders are associated with increased estrogen levels. If you’re looking to increase testosterone levels in order to gain muscle, putting soy protein in your shaker bottle is arguably one of the worst things you can do. Men and women looking for a healthy sex life may benefit from avoiding soy in favor of other types of protein powder, as consuming copious amounts of it can result in a significant drop in your libido.