With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s the perfect time to talk about libido! It can be a taboo subject, particularly for women, but we are here to shed some light on simple ways to boost libido with food.
Libido, in laymen’s terms, is sex drive. It’s completely normal for women to have fluctuations in their sex drive throughout their cycles; typically it is highest around ovulation, which is mid-way through your monthly cycle (if you are not on birth control and if you are pre-menopausal). It’s also really common for libido to fluctuate throughout a woman’s life.
Some reasons libido might be low:
- Stress: If you’re running from a bear, sex isn’t going to seem appealing. When you’re in survival mode all the time or ‘fight or flight’, the body prioritizes certain hormones (cortisol), stealing from other sex hormones. Survival is always going to monopolize, so if you feel like you’ve been under stress and your sex drive has changed, it might be time to address that.
- Menopause: One of the most troubling symptoms women experience in menopause is the shift in libido. It decreases and for some, disappears altogether. There are marked changes in hormone load during this period, accounting for this change.
- Hormonal imbalances: For women who have not yet reached menopause, there can still be hormonal imbalances. Low estrogen and testosterone are two key players for your sex drive. Getting hormone testing done may be something to consider and something to discuss with your primary care practitioner (MD or ND).
- Circulation: For men in particular, when micro-circulation is impaired (whether that’s due to heart disease or otherwise), blood flow is affected leading to decreased arousal and ability to ‘perform’.
When there are hormonal imbalances, herbs and acupuncture are often used to help correct that over the course of a couple of months, however, there are things you can do to help boost libido today and they are likely in your kitchen!
Here are some libido-boosting foods that you (and your partner, if you’d like) can enjoy:
- Dark chocolate: Cocoa contains phenylethylamine, which helps to stimulate hormone release of feel-good hormones like dopamine and endorphins.
- Oysters: The classic aphrodisiac: the oyster. Oysters contain zinc, which helps to shunt testosterone down the ‘healthier’ pathway; and as we know now, testosterone is a key player in libido.
- Maca is technically an herb, but is used in commonly used in food products. It is a root well known for its libido-boosting effects in both men and women as it helps support healthy hormone production.
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds like walnuts and pumpkin seeds pack a punch with healthy fatty acids which are essential for balanced hormones as well as a good dose of vitamins and minerals supporting hormone pathways.
- Beets: Beets increase nitrous oxide, which improves blood flow. Circulation is beneficial for increasing libido in both men and women.
Ultimately, a whole food (not processed/packaged) diet is going to benefit everyone’s sex drive, as it is maximally nutritious, supporting all of those important hormone pathways while decreasing inflammation.