Sexual desires are controlled by what is known as the libido — a fancy word for sex drive. Libido is determined by a number of factors that include sociological, psychological, and hormonal influences.
Dr. Michael Hirt, founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine in California's San Fernando Valley explained that In both men and women, the hormone testosterone drives much of human libido. Low testosterone means a lower sex drive.
Foods can positively affect your libido.! This is why the idea of aphrodisiacs, foods that stimulate your sex-drive, is a widely accepted — though there is little scientific evidence that such foods can really rev up your sex drive. The theory is that certain edibles can arouse through their smell, taste, and texture, but also that their chemical makeup can allegedly alter hormones in your body.
But certain foods can lower testosterone levels. The foods that are most likely to do so include cheese, yogurt, grains (bread, pasta, crackers, rice, cereals), chocolate, and alcohol. These foods lower testosterone by increasing the activity of an enzyme, aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. The overall effect of increased aromatase activity is lower testosterone levels and higher estrogen levels.
Dr. Michael Hirt suggests that if you looking to increase your libido, you should refrain from eating the aforementioned foods more than five times a week to keep testosterone at healthy levels.
This is especially important for men whose aromatase enzyme activity seems more sensitive to food triggers.
We talked to several expertsand rounded up 12 testosterone-suppressing and sensory altering foods and drinks. To help keep the proverbial fires burning.
- CheeseSure, a cheese plate is the perfect way to start a party or gathering or to end a serious dinner, but guests may not be taking the party back to their place if they loaded up on cheese. If derived from cow’s milk (which could be loaded with synthetic hormones), it could potentially mess with your body’s natural production of hormones, including estrogen and testosterone.
- SoyA Harvard study published in the journal Human Reproduction found a strong association between men's consumption of soy foods and decreased sperm counts. In the study, men who ate a variety of soy-containing foods and then underwent semen analysis had poor sperm quality. Animal studies also found connections between males chowing down on soy and erectile dysfunction. Since genetically engineered soy is found in the majority of processed foods, eat non-soy-containing foods made with whole ingredients as much as possible.
- MintSure, bad breath is a turn off, but you shouldn’t be turning to mint for a cure, especially if you are male. The menthol in mint lowers testosterone, which in turn depletes your sex drive.
- Graham crackersWhen Dr. Sylvester Graham created Dr. Graham 's Honey Biskets in 1829, he believed the graham meal would suppress any carnal desires (i.e. masturbation). Although this was never proven scientifically at the time, Graham may have been on to something.Any refined carbohydrates , such as those loaded into graham crackers, can still wreak havoc on a man’s intimate time. Excess refined carbohydrates (bleached white flour) can zap testosterone levels. Sugars from refined carbs will not only make a man gain weight but can raise the level of estrogen and deplete his testosterone levels.
- Red meatFoods that contain added hormones or antibiotics, such as some red meats, are a huge sex offender by unbalancing a man’s natural hormones when consumed in excess. For some, certain foods can even affect secretions like semen, sweat, urine and breath, according to Levine. Some smelly culprits are asparagus , garlic, certain spice and dairy products, which can all lead to some not-so-pleasant scents and tastes. “Sweet citrus fruits like pineapple and flavors like vanilla, tend to make men and women tastier, although you may have to ingest a significant amount to notice,” says Levine.Overall, red meat has its pluses when consumed lean and in moderation. It’s a great source of protein and zinc, which is key to muscle-building and zapping fat. Opt for leaner cuts with round or loin in the name or a classic filet mignon.
- Corn FlakesOk, we are teasing with this one — sort of. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who invented corn flakes, believed that sweet or spicy foods inflamed the passions, and sought to depress the libido with a bland, sugarless cereal that no one could find arousing. Likely, it is the carbohydrates and grains in this cereal that deflate ones’ desires, not existential ennui.
- Microwavable PopcornNonstick chemicals that are used in the inner lining of microwave popcorn bags and in nonstick pots and pans often contain perfluoroalkyl acids; common types include PFOA or PFOS. And these common chemicals can really do a number on a guy's manhood. Small doses of them are linked to testicular tumors, male infertility, and lack of sex drive.
- (Excess) AlcoholAlcohol in moderation never hurt anyone’s lust, but overindulging can bring things down by the end of the night. "Alcohol can take a toll on your sexual prowess causing erectile difficulties, trouble achieving orgasm and premature ejaculation," says Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure . "If you have one too many, you're likely going to feel less inhibited.” Work on having two to three drinks max if you want to be ready to go later."Too much alcohol, too much rich food—too much food in general—is going to make the person sleepy and not that interested," says David Yarian, sex therapist. "The general guidelines about being healthy are what we need to know about sexual desire."
- CoffeeSure, coffee’s caffeine supply could give you increased stamina for sex, but if you’re someone who gets jittery from coffee, this will not be a love potion for you. Increased anxiety can lower your sex drive, a frequent complaint of people with caffeine sensitivity.
- SodaHave you heard the gross fact about many sodas? Some, like Mountain Dew, list brominated vegetable oil—or BVO—as an ingredient. Bromine products are linked to male infertility, impotence, and decreased libido.
- SugarA 2009 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men with better blood sugar levels enjoyed better sexual health. Studying about 800 men with type 2 diabetes, researchers compared blood sugar levels to sexual health questionnaires. Men with higher blood sugar were more likely to report erectile dysfunction.To help regulate your sugar intake, opt for safer sweeteners, such as organic liquid stevia or raw honey, and avoid more harmful ones like agave and aspartame.
- ChocolateIt may be a little surprising to find chocolate on this list, but it could be harming your sex life. Though usually thought of as an aphrodisiac because it stimulates feelings of euphoria and love, according to Dr. Michael Hirt, it will also suppress testosterone levels.
Additionally, Consumption of any food in excess leads to weight gain , which is the number one sex drive killer for any man, according to Corey B. Schuler, functional medicine nutritionist at the Metabolic Treatment Center. “The worst food that a man can have for his sex drive is too much of it,” he says.
“Diet accelerates the aging process. Anyone carrying extra weight from ages 35 to 60 is accelerating the aging process—anyone living a high stress, poor diet and no exercise lifestyle. Midsection increase is probably the number one reason for lost sex drive .” A good diet equals good sex. “People ask if there’s some magic to it, but it’s nothing like that,” says Yarian. “The better the person’s diet is, the more healthy their sex drive.”