Lost Your Libido? 6 Smart Diet Choices to Get It Back
When it comes to quality sex, food plays a part. The right foods will help keep blood pumping to your sexual organs. The wrong foods can keep your libido down.
By: Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
If you’ve lost your libido, never fear — it’s easier to get it back than you think.
When it comes to quality sex, food plays a part. The right foods will help keep blood pumping to your sexual organs. The wrong foods can keep your libido down. For better sex, make better choices. Your partner will thank you.
For men, plant-based protein may positively affect your sperm quality. On the flip side, a diet high in saturated fats (like that cheeseburger you had last night) contributes to clogged arteries and poor blood flow — and you know what needs blood flow to function, right? For men and women, saturated fat also affects LDL cholesterol levels, which in turn affects libido and sexual performance. Cut out some red meat and try plant-based protein, including nuts, seeds, legumes and soy.
Typical snack foods (cookies and candy, for example) are high in trans fat, refined carbohydrates and simple sugars, which may reduce blood flow and cause inflammation. On the other hand, fruits and veggies are known to reduce the risks of heart attack, stroke and certain cancers. They keep you stronger, healthier and better able to fight sickness — and they give you lasting energy for sex.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical that dilates vessels and gets the blood flow moving to all body parts. On the other hand, eating too much salt is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a libido crusher.
Many ready-to-eat cereals — choose 100 percent whole grain and low in sugar — are fortified with zinc, one of the best sex-drive enhancers around. Known for its effects on sexual potency, zinc is also found in oysters, shellfish, lean cuts of chicken, beans and almonds. Zinc helps preserve testosterone, and zinc deficiency is associated with a higher risk for impotence.
Consumption of chocolate creates the same feelings of pleasure that arousal and orgasm do. Stick with a small amount, and aim for 70 percent or higher cocoa content. Avoid chocolate with a lot of added sugar. A very small amount of ice cream unfortunately provides a very large amount of sugar and saturated fat.
OK, you don’t necessarily need rock-hard abs. But keep your weight down — especially guys. One study found that men who have a waist size larger than 40″ are more likely to have erectile dysfunction than men whose waists are smaller. If you’re overweight, lose it so you’ll be more ready to use it.
The bottom line: Eating healthy, along with regular exercise and other smart lifestyle choices, will put you at peak performance — inside and outside the bedroom.