A friend of mine recently complained to me that she hadn’t any interest in sex and that it was causing some concern for her and wondered if there was any nutritional changes she could make to help with this. Low sex drive can be due to many things which can fall into one of four categories, either physical (including taking medications such as the contraceptive pill), hormonal, emotional (relationship issues) or psychological. Nutrition can help with balancing blood sugar, increasing blood flow, and balancing hormones, however if you just don’t like your partner at the moment eating more sunflower seeds isn’t going to help.
According to Alisa Vitti, author of the book WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source, sex drive comes from energy and mood. Hormones play a key role in your sex drive, with testosterone and oestrogen being the major players. Testosterone is made primarily in the adrenal glands – the tiny endocrine glands situated on the top of your kidneys and the orchestrators of the sympathetic (flight or fight) response. Being highly stressed from any source, depletes oestrogen and testosterone as the adrenal glands produce more cortisol to help your body deal with the stress. Cortisol also plays havoc with your blood sugar levels, making your blood more sluggish and effecting your mood. Your mood can also be affected by low mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, and diet has an effect on these levels.
Nutrition strategies for boosting your sex drive
- Feed your adrenals – Avoid bread and starchy carbohydrates, include foods that are high in B vitamins especially B6 and B5 such as sunflower seeds and eggs
- Avoid sugar and salt
- Avoid having too much caffeine and alcohol especially if you are highly stressed as they raise cortisol and rob you of good sleep
- Increase essential fatty acids by eating salmon, walnuts and flaxseed
- Foods such as watermelon, oats and garlic help increase blood flow by increasing nitric oxide (a natural Viagra)
- Increase foods high in Zinc, such as oysters, pumpkin seeds and ginger
- 70-80% dark chocolate, increases serotonin & endorphin levels
Other strategies for boosting your sex drive
- Get lots of hugs, this increases your oxytocin (your bonding hormone)
- Get a good night sleep, helps keep hormones balanced
- Exercise; as this increases endorphins, helping to manage stress
- Manage stress through mindfull practices, deep breathing and hobbies
A happy Waitangi day to you all hope you have a fantastic long weekend!
- Vitti, A. (2014). Woman Code: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source. New York, NY: HarperOne
- Figueroa A, Sanchez-Gonzalez M, Perkins-Veazie P, Arjmandi B. Effects of watermelon supplementation on aortic blood pressure and wave reflection in individuals with prehypertension: a pilot study.American Journal Of Hypertension [serial online]. January 2011;24(1):40-44. Available from: MEDLINE Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 5, 2015.
- Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005).The encyclopedia of healing foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.
- Northrup, C. (1994).Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom. The complete guide to women’s health and wellbeing. London: Piatkus