Lots of pink food in a pink setting with a woman wearing a pink shirt
Credit: Marta Pucci

Impact of Diet on Libido: Health Tips You Should Know

Decreased libido is the most common sexual dysfunction, and causes complications for many relationships. Though many factors are surrounding it, libido can be easily increased through diet and awareness.

Are you or your partner suffering from low sexual desire? We’re going to tell you why you don’t necessarily need aphrodisiacs to really spice up your love life with these health tips.

Food and sex

The act of eating can be sensual, seductive, and going for a meal together is a cue many people use as a build up to sex. You might notice if you’ve had less time for these pre-sex rituals lately, the sex hasn’t magically happened either. Besides all of those factors, the effect that food has on our body is a whole other subject. Foods make us feel differently, whether we put thought into it or not. 

Want to boost libido and use food to do it? Start paying attention to the food that you eat, and how it makes you feel. Aphrodisiacs don't work the same for everyone and cannot do all of the work on their own. 

Develop a better relationship with food to grow your own physical and sexual relationships with your partner. 

Other health tips

It's not just libido that we should be thinking about. Right? Everything is connected, and your sexual desire doesn’t function independently of the rest of the body. The healthier you keep your body, the easier it can become for your libido to work. Your diet affects: 

  • Your hormones
  • Your nervous system 
  • Your gut health
  • Your mental health
  • Your body image
  • And much more

Have you ever thought about your mental health state, emotional stability, nervous system, or hormonal imbalances as being part of your libido? As well as treating them to some healthy grub, you need to tune into these things and address each one to see your libido increase. Therapy is a good way to do this. 

Raw oysters

OK, let's just go ahead and get this one out of the way. Eating raw oysters to boost libido has got to be the most well-known tip. But, does it really work?

Raw oysters have gotten this reputation because they contain a significant amount of zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral, vital for the function of the testicles and ovaries. Other than oysters foods that are high in zinc are meats/seafood, pine nuts, and legumes. 

But if you don’t address the root problem of your sexual issues, a trolley load of oysters won’t quite do the job, though it will make for an enviable evening. 

Fruit and veg

If it grows, it goes. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients that help the body to function as it should.

Will eating a big bowl of produce make you super horny? Sadly, no. But, it will help to boost mood, improve blood flow, and make your tummy happy.

  • Celery
  • Avocado
  • Hot peppers
  • Truffles
  • Parsnip
  • Pumpkin
  • Figs
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries

Some of these foods can help to release pheromones, too. What attracts us to one another besides the obvious? The chemical reaction in the body that essentially attracts mates, most noticeable in our sweat.

Pheromones are signals that we send to one another without even trying. Boost your and your partner's libido using your secret weapon.

Getting to the root of the problem

Maca is a root vegetable that is often found in a powder form, designed to be a smoothie additive or addition to baked goods. Popular because of its energy-boosting properties, maca is widely used to boost libido in men and women, too.

Ginseng is often sold as a supplement or in drinks like green tea. There are several varieties, with red being the most beneficial to those with low libido.

Ashwagandha has been nicknamed the love drug. It is a root that increases nitric oxide and can increase the amount of blood flow to the genitals.

But, dear reader, it has to be said that a tea bag will only take you so far, and the actual root of the problem is probably better to focus on, read on. 

Chocolate

Why does chocolate get us in the mood? Eating chocolate releases feel-good chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, and endorphins. Cocoa also increases blood flow. It’s also just delicious and makes us happy. 

Dark chocolate is the best for our health (as far as chocolate goes). Why else does chocolate help our sex drive? The rich, creamy texture is a sensual sensory experience! If you’re not in the mood, having a Snickers probably isn’t going to suddenly turn you on, but it can make you feel a little happier and more relaxed.

You can actually use chocolate or any food to practice Sensate Focus, the technique used by millions to overcome libido issues. It allows you to focus on the sensations you feel in the moment to reduce anxious thoughts during sexual situations. Eating mindfully (thinking about the texture, taste, feel of what you're eating) is a great way to practice this outside of sexual situations. So that's your permission to go fourth and scoff... mindfully.

Alcohol

Slippery nipple, screw against the wall, or screaming orgasm? Is a cocktail the answer to low libido? Most experts would say that this is a controversial one because while alcohol does tend to lower inhibitions, making us feel more attractive, more attracted, and ready to rock, it can negatively affect us. Alcohol interferes with the signals between the brain and the libido and cause arousal difficulties, not ideal for a night of sex on the beach. 

Let's get the blood flowing!

Circulation and blood flow are critical for healthy sex. Many medications can have a negative effect on circulation, so it is important to check the labels or consult with your physician. Foods like fatty fish and spicy peppers can help to increase the blood flow, but no amount of bhuna is going to make you lust for your partner if you’re not feeling it. You have to treat your mind as well as your body. 

Gut health

Many of us are not aware of our gut health and how tremendously it affects our daily lives. Bringing bathroom talk into the bedroom talk is necessary in this case.

An unhealthy gut comes from eating an imbalanced diet, or one full of processed foods, refined sugars, and not enough fiber or good bacteria. Chronic dehydration can also upset the gut—water is necessary to clean out the body and keep it functioning properly. Signs of bad gut health are depression, poor sleep, slow metabolism, changes in weight, hemorrhoids, and of course, upset stomach (gas, pain, diarrhea/constipation.)  

How do you improve gut health? Eating a healthier diet with plenty of fiber and bacteria that come from foods with probiotics, such as fermented foods (sauerkraut, miso, kimchi) and yogurt. Also, cut out foods that you may be intolerant or allergic to.

Signs of a healthy gut include regular bowel movements with firm stool, feelings of increased energy, improved mood, and better sleep. All of these improvements can lead to feeling better, which in turn means increasing your libido. See how that works?

Spill the beans

Forget about your daily protein count for a minute and think about what your intestines and stomach are going to do after you eat certain foods. Eating a plate full of beans, broccoli, or other foods that create gas for you can be a major turn-off when your body is flipping into different sexual positions.

Passing gas during sex is natural, but it can also be embarrassing and kill the mood for some people. So, try to avoid those trigger foods if sex is on the agenda and it’s something you know will make you feel uncomfortable. 

Avoid feeling drowsy instead of sexy

Even though a well-rested body is a key to feeling energized and at the top of our sex game, the last thing you want is to feel tired when it's time to do the humpty hump. So, think about when you have sex in relation to meal times. If you know you’re in for a belly busting feast, you could have sex in the morning. 

Save the nap for post-sex, when you can bask in the afterglow of the beautiful acts you have just engaged in. Cuddling with your partner can be one of the best parts of sex. 

Foods that weigh down your sex life

You've read about the foods that claim they can increase libido, but did you know that there are foods that can lower it, too? If there are certain foods that we are sensitive to we should probably avoid them to be functioning our best for sexy time. 

It can of course ruin the mood, for instance if you’re a bit squeamish and you order the fish, not expecting the head to be on when it arrives. It’s very normal for that to dampen the mood as the image can get in the way when you’re trying to think sexy thoughts. 

It’s been shown that licorice can lower libido, so you could avoid that before any plans (but mainly avoid because it’s gross). 

Good vibes = good sex

Eating all of these good foods on the list could have literally zero effect on your sex life if you and your partner aren't communicating. Be honest with them, and also with yourself, because what's on the dinner table is only part of the problem.

Share with your partner, and ask them to share with you as their libido affects yours, and their health is just as important as yours. Maybe your libidos are on different levels and talking it out can help you find common ground and find the steps to overcoming your problem. 

Body talk

If we are talking about how food directly affects our libido, we can't let the conversation happen without discussing body image and body positivity. The way we feel about our bodies has a serious influence on how we perform and feel in the bedroom. 

At some point in their life, almost a quarter of sexually active adults will experience loss of libido. And most of us have had body issues at some point. If you are unhappy with your body, use a healthy diet and exercise plan to change the way you feel about yourself when the lights are on and off.

If body positivity feels a bit much to ask, take a look at body neutrality. It’s a new way to look at our bodies in a much more understanding, sensitive way. 

Truth about your libido

Just know that it is not weird to get turned on or off by food, whether it be taste, texture, or how it makes you feel. A healthy diet is a key to a properly functioning libido, but don't neglect total body and mental health as an influence on your sex life. 

If you or your partner are experiencing libido issues, cancel the crates of asparagus and see what you can do that makes a real difference. You don't have to tackle this on your own, The Blueheart App for couples therapy is there to get you through this, and offer more health tips.