Whether you choose to go all out with a gift or not, lots of couples across the globe take great pleasure in enjoying a meal together on Valentine’s Day.
Food itself can be a multi-sensory experience. We see it, touch it, hold it, smell it, bite it and taste it. But did you know, what we put into our body could also influence our own sensuality?
When we consume meals that bring us joy, it helps to trigger and release ‘pleasure’ hormones in the brain, such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. And best of all – eating certain foods that are high or rich in these neurotransmitters and hormones have been known to increase our libido.
So before you decide what to cook or where to book this year, our nutritionist, Sal Hanvey, has explained all we need to know about libido boosting foods.
Finding that C spot
Foods rich in vitamin C support the adrenal system and can help boost adrenal function – this relates to your adrenal glands, which are found on top of your kidneys. They produce hormones that help to regulate lots of important functions, including your response to stress.
Being in perpetual state of stress, even if it’s low grade, can impact these glands. As a result you’ll feel tired, drained and depleted which can contribute towards a lower sex drive.
If you enhance adrenal function, you’ll also increase your libido – and you’ll feel much better all around too.
To keep your vitamin C levels topped up, try:
- Chilli Peppers (spicy!)
- Rose hips
- Sweet yellow peppers
Get those good fats
Certain unsaturated fats are essential for a healthy, balanced diet. These foods are known to support the organs of the reproductive system. They can also prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which promotes healthy blood flow throughout the body – helping to get your juices going.
It’s easy to add more omega 3 fat into your diet. Try:
- Nuts oils or olive oil
- Nuts & seeds
The colour of love
Choosing food that looks great could have more benefits than getting that perfect Insta shot.
In traditional Chinese medicine, foods that are blue, black, yellow and orange represent water and earth energies – two important qualities for enhancing energy and libido.
These foods include:
- Black beans
- Black sesame seeds
- Adzuki beans
- Sea vegetables like seaweed and water chestnuts
- Dark chocolate (the more bitter the better!)
- Sweet potatoes
- Squash and pumpkin (try our tasty pumpkin soup recipe)
Zinc to make you zing!
Foods rich in zinc are very important as they help regulate testosterone levels in the body, which is a hormone we produce that increases your sexual desire.
Baked beans, a British breakfast staple, are a fantastic source of zinc, so why not start your mood-boosting meals from the moment you wake up?
Other zinc rich foods include:
- Cereals fortified with zinc
- Pumpkin seeds
What foods decrease libido and why?
Food and drink that drains your adrenal system is directly responsible for lowering libido in many people. Have you ever felt that vicious cycle of riding a caffeine buzz, feeling a crash, getting bad sleep and craving more? The same thing can happen with your adrenal system – what goes up, must go down.
A lot of the food and drinks that deplete your adrenal function are common guilty pleasures – but by cutting down, you could enjoy pleasures that are even more guilty…
- Fried foods
- Greasy foods
- White flour
- White sugar
- Soda drinks
- Artificial sweeteners
Other foods that are known to make your sex drive fall flat include red meats, cheese and even mint. (Swap that mojito for a strawberry daiquiri for a libido-boosting drink.) They can disrupt natural hormone production, which are crucial for dishing out desire.
A majority of the foods that can decrease your libido are also common triggers for food intolerances – hormonal or adrenal function aside, feeling bloated, queasy or gassy is certain to make you reach for your comfies and slippers, rather than get ready for some fun between the sheets.
If you want to feel your best at the next date night, taking a food intolerance test can put you in control.