It’s time for Friday Five! This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day I’m detailing the Top 5 Foods to boost your libido!
Before we dive in, it’s super important to understand how stress, gut health, nutrient density, and thyroid function feature in hormonal balance and a healthy sex drive. In a nutshell, if the body is under too much stress and is not getting enough nutrients from food (either from poor absorption due to comprised gut health, or a diet low in nutrients) it is not going to produce either the hormones or the urges to procreate as it assumes an unsafe environment in which to reproduce.
Our sex hormones are made from the same precursors (ingredients) as our stress hormones, so when we are stressed those ingredients are ‘stolen’ to make cortisol, and limit our ability to make hormones including estrogen and testosterone which are needed for a healthy sex drive.
Okay, so that’s the unsexy science side. The fun part is that there are a number of foods that can help with all of the above AND boost your sex drive! Here are my top 5:
1. Maca Powder
The adaptogen maca (a herb native to Peru and used in Incan culture for medicinal) has been used for centuries to boost energy and libido due to its high iodine and zinc levels. This wonder root has even been clinically proven to improve women’s sexual experience and satisfaction. I add New Chapter’s Fermented Maca Booster Powder to my smoothie every morning!
Oysters are typically the food we think of when boosting libido, but in fact, all shellfish are a great option due to their high levels of zinc. Zinc is an essential co-factor in the production of testosterone (women, we make testosterone too), but our modern-day diets are woefully low in this much-needed mineral. My plant-based friends can choose to increase their zinc intake through pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds.
3. Dark Chocolate
Cacao contains phenylethylamine, a compound that triggers the release of 2 neurotransmitters, endorphins & dopamine that help with pain relief, stress relief, & make us feel great! Also, these are both released during a workout & during sex & the more you produce the higher your sex drive.
4. Grass-Fed Steak
Red meat is a key source of iron, which is essential for energy production. Low iron levels can contribute to lethargy, poor mood and lack of sex drive. It’s also high in B vitamins, which are used as essential co-factors throughout all processes of energy production in the body, and are one of the vitamins most of my clients are deficient in. We buy all of our meat from Butcher Box to ensure it’s grass-fed and humanely raised (get your free grass-fed steak here until 2/16)
My plant-based friends can up their intake of nuts, seeds, quinoa, and gluten-free whole grains, and for those feeling low in energy, I recommend a daily B Vitamin Complex.
Watermelon contains a nutrient called citrulline, which is converted to the amino acid arginine in the body. Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which in turn boosts blood flow and circulation around the body. In order to feel stimulated both men and women need healthy blood flow to their sex organs. Other great options include beets and pomegranates.