A Nutritionist’s 5 Favourite Foods for a Healthy Sex Drive
Aug 1, 2015 @ 12:00 EDT
By Sara Galipeau
Let’s face it: healthy sex, whatever that looks like in your intimate relationships, is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle – as much as a clean diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction. Nothing puts a kink in the works (or takes the kink out, as it were) like a slumping sex drive. Fortunately, a lower sex-drive than your normal may be nourished back to a more desirable level by adding some delicious libido-boosting foods into your everyday diet.
Here are my favourite foods for bringing the mojo back:
A root highly cultivated in Peru, maca is considered an adaptogen – that is, it helps your body “adapt” to stress, supporting adrenal function. Adrenals produce stress hormones, as well as sex hormones. When adrenals are overtaxed, hormone production falters (including your sex hormones, like testosterone, a big one for sex drive in women and men). Support adrenal function with maca, support sexual function overall. Gelatinized maca has had the starches removed and is easier to digest for most people than raw. Either one works really well with my next pick…
Cacao (not to be confused with cocoa) is rich in a flavonoid called theobromine, a compound close in molecular structure to caffeine. It, too, has a stimulating effect for some, and may help improve mood. Cacao is also one of very few natural food sources of the quasi-B-vitamin PQQ, which may help improve energy levels by acting on mitochondria (the energy powerhouses within your cells). Unfortunately, cacao loses these health benefits when processed into most types of chocolate (bummer). So indulge in the raw, ideally as cacao nibs or powder.
Think of the way spicy food makes your face flush, tingle, and sweat, and you’ll understand why it makes this list. Ginger is a vasodilator, opening up blood vessels and allowing for better oxygen delivery to your cells. Better blood flow to the skin, lips, and genitalia naturally enhances sensation and arousal. Reap the benefits from ground ginger, ginger tea, or fresh ginger root. Just be sure to wash your hands after handling it before handling anything else…
A mantra I heard frequently while in school: “zinc is good for the dink”. Raw pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) are one of the richest plant-based sources of zinc around. Zinc is an important factor in testosterone production, the hormone largely at play in sex drive. Soaking or sprouting your pepitas enhances the availability of zinc from the seeds, which are great in salads, soups, trail mixes, yogourt, or straight up.
Matcha, the powder produced from stone-ground green tea leaves, is available in different grades, such as ceremonial (think the kind used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies) and culinary (this is the type that’s okay to add to baking and smoothies, and is less expensive). Black matcha made from black tea leaves is available as well. In addition to its caffeine content and high concentration of the potent antioxidant EGCG, matcha is also high in the amino acid l-theanine. L-theanine can have a calming and anxiolytic effect on the body, making it great for coping with stress and anxiety. Interestingly, the combination of caffeine and l-theanine makes for an energy boost like that of coffee, without the associated jitters or crash. Keep your cool with energy to spare – now that’s sexy.
Get nourished, play with these amazing treats as desired, and boost your sex drive tonight with my decadent Raspberry Maca Mocha Smoothie recipe.