What is the best diet for a healthy sex life? While there isn’t a definitive answer, there are certain dietary deficiencies that can impede optimal sexual health.
Sexual dysfunction manifests in different ways. You may never feel like having sex. Or you may want to have sex, but you have trouble achieving physical arousal. Both men and women can experience both of these problems, and both may be due to dietary deficiencies.
The good news is that if your sexual impairment is due to a problem in your diet, you can fix it. This list will explain what dietary problems may affect your sex life, and what foods help you sexually.
- 1. Not Enough Fruits and Roots
- 2. Low Nitric Oxide
- 3. Vitamin D deficiency
- 4. Not Enough Niacin
- 5. Low Zinc
- 6. Anemia
- 7. Thyroid Deficiency
1. Not Enough Fruits and Roots:
Inability to achieve sexual arousal can actually be a symptom of coronary heart disease. According to Dr. Michael Gregor of NutritionFacts.org, it took a long time for modern medicine to see the connection.
“Depression is a risk factor for coronary heart disease,” says Dr. Gregor on his YouTube channel, “and the thought was that men who couldn’t get it up became so depressed that they die of a broken heart. But now we know that erectile dysfunction and heart disease can be two different manifestations of the exact same root problem — diseased arteries: inflamed, oxidized, cholesterol-clogged blood vessels.”
Low blood flow can be a problem for both men and women. Although women obviously don’t get erections, they still need a lot of blood flow to their genital region in order to become sexually aroused. That’s a difficult task for the body to accomplish when the arteries are clogged.
The best diet for good sex is a heart healthy diet that is full of lots of fruits and vegetables. According to Dr. Gregor, “a diet chock full of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering plant foods would improve sexual function in both men and women, as well as reduce risk of heart disease.”
2. Low Nitric Oxide:
Nitric oxide is a molecule that controls blood pressure, keeps the blood vessels flexible and makes the blood vessels dilate. Not enough nitric oxide, means not enough blood flow to the genitals. Erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra actually work by stimulating the production of more nitric oxide. Some research1 has indicated that nitric oxide deficiency can inhibit sexual arousal in women as well.
Nitric oxide production occurs via a complex pathway inside the body, so solving this problem is not as simple as taking a nitric oxide pill. However, you can increase your intake of other nutrients that are precursors to nitric oxide.
According to Dr. Gregor, L-citrulline and L-arginine are both precursors to nitric oxide. Watermelon is one of the best fruits good for sexual health because it contains high levels of citrulline. In one study, men with mild erectile dysfunction took oral L-citrulline supplements and saw a significant improvement in their symptoms.
Products like Redwood help stimulate blood flow and circulation to the genitals for both men and women.
3. Vitamin D Deficiency:
This 2012 study concluded that vitamin D deficiency is a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction, for several reasons. For one, vitamin D stimulates the production of nitric oxide. For another, many researchers think there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and coronary artery disease, which often coexists with erectile dysfunction.
There are three ways to get more vitamin D: taking a supplement, eating fortified foods or exposing yourself to the sun. Because sun exposure comes with a risk of skin cancer, the former two options may be the safest.
4. Not Enough Niacin:
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is known to improve levels of cholesterol and lipids, both of which contribute to coronary artery disease. In 2011, researchers conducted a study3 where they gave niacin supplements to men who had high cholesterol, high lipid levels, and erectile dysfunction. The participants experienced a significant improvement in their ability to maintain an erection.
You can get more niacin into your diet by taking a supplement, or by eating foods rich in niacin, which include liver, chicken breast, anchovies, avocados and green peas.
This study only included male participants, but it is plausible that the same supplement could also work for women, if they have sexual dysfunction as a result of high cholesterol and lipids.
Products like Zuum contain clinically-proven dosages of L-citrulline to stimulate nitric oxide production for both men and women.
5. Low Zinc:
Several animal studies and one human study have found that zinc deficiency can lead to low testosterone in males. Such a link has not been studied in women, but it is possible that one could exist.
Although testosterone level is not a hard and fast predictor of one’s sex drive, it is generally accepted that a decrease in testosterone could lead to a decrease in sex drive or in one’s ability to achieve sexual arousal. If the low testosterone is caused by zinc deficiency, adding more zinc to your diet could help.
You can add more zinc to your diet by taking a supplement, or by eating foods that are rich in zinc such as pumpkin seeds, nuts, legumes and chicken.
Here’s one that applies just to women. Iron deficiency, also known as anemia, is common in women due to their menstrual cycle. Two of the symptoms of iron deficiency are fatigue and anxiety, which can lead to low sex drive, or difficulty becoming sexually aroused.
In this study, researchers gave anemic women iron supplements and found that they experienced a significant improvement in sexual function. This is another example of how two problems can be solved with one solution.
If you suspect that you are anemic, ask your doctor to test your blood for iron levels. If they are low, try taking an iron supplement. You can also get more iron into your diet by eating iron-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, and shellfish.
7. Thyroid Deficiency:
Low sex drive could be a symptom of hypothyroidism, along with fatigue, muscle aches, and depression. Hypothyroidism is usually treated using synthetic hormones, but it is possible that dietary supplements could address the problem. Iodine and selenium are nutrients that are both necessary to produce T4, the thyroid hormone. Vitamin A can also have a beneficial impact on thyroid function.
If you suspect you have hypothyroidism, you should see your doctor to get a test of your thyroid function. You can also ask for a blood test to assess your nutrient levels, and discuss with your physician the possibility of taking supplements to address the problem.
Products like Testro-X contain clinically-proven dosages of zinc and magnesium to aid in libido stimulation.
Everyone Is Different
Having a healthy sex life depends on a lot of factors, including chemistry with your partner, stress, and normal hormonal changes. However, a change in your diet could be the piece you’re missing to achieve optimal sexual health. Give one of these supplements a try, and see how you feel!
Citations and Sources
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Shim J, Kim D, Bae J, Moon D. Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Erectile Dysfunction in a Rat Model of Atherosclerosis-induced Chronic Pelvic Ischemia. J Korean Med Sci. 2016;31(4):585-589. [PMC]
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Gulmez H, Akin Y, Savas M, et al. Impact of iron supplementation on sexual dysfunction of women with iron deficiency anemia in short term: a preliminary study. J Sex Med. 2014;11(4):1042-1046. [PubMed]
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