Libido is such an interesting (and complex) subject. Because of this it can be affected by so many things. And we’re not just talking about the obvious sex hormone testosterone here.
Although testosterone levels can have a big (yes BIG) effect on sex drive there are a lot of subtle things that can be going on too. In fact, there’s a bunch of key diet and lifestyle factors that have been shown to increase testosterone and libido. Here’s some of them…
Did you know that low testosterone is linked with high body fat?
Particularly visceral fat, which is associated with a large waist circumference. You see, with more fat there is more of an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone to estrogen. And what you want is to keep that testosterone, not convert it.
Losing excessive weight and keeping it off has so many health benefits, including increased libido!
Certain nutrient deficiencies can contribute to low testosterone. Not only zinc and vitamin D, but if you’re not eating enough protein and healthy fats that can also have a negative impact too. Not to mention eating way too few or way too many calories. This isn’t going to help you in the bedroom department either. Make sure you’re eating enough food to sustain your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and that you’re getting enough protein and healthy fats, not to mention the essential vitamins and minerals too.
Did you know that men can experience increased blood levels of testosterone after a bout of intense exercise? For some reason this doesn’t seem to be the case after endurance exercise, and in fact endurance exercise may actually reduce the levels of circulating testosterone. For a temporary boost men can try some weight lifting or a HIIT workout.
Sleep is critical for just about everything our bodies do. If you’re not getting 7-9 hours each night you’re going to want to prioritize that for your health (and sex drive). Try it. You just may thank me.
No one can deny that your moods can affect your sex drive, right? Too much stress, sadness and worry can take over your mind and push that drive to reproduce right to the backburner. So you want to try to minimize that stress hormone cortisol. Make time to do things you love: workout, spend quality time with your family and friends, meditate, relax with a great book, or take a long bath. “Me time” shouldn’t be a luxury.
Have you heard of the Peruvian herb called maca (Lepidium meyenii)? It’s a plant in the cruciferous family (think broccoli) and its root has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. It’s usually ground into a powder and dried.
Believe it or not there are a few studies that actually show an increased libido for those who supplement with it. Scientists don’t know exactly how it works, but it seems to work for both men and women and it doesn’t seem to impact your hormones (not even testosterone).
Maca is an antioxidant and seems to be protective of the prostate. New research suggests it may also be helpful for our brains and bones.
It has a bit of a “dirt” flavour so most recipes don’t call for the same amounts as in the supplement. But trust me, you’ll love the recipe below, and if you’re considering supplementing you should know that Maca (as do many supplements) interacts with some medications, so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking maca supplements. Because it can affect your moods you should be very careful taking maca if you have anxiety or depression. It’s not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Maca Hot Chocolate
2 cups almond milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder
1 teaspoon maca powder
½ teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 dashes cinnamon
1 dash sea salt
1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
Heat almond milk and coconut oil in a saucepan.
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until frothy.
Serve and enjoy a cup with your significant other!
Tip: Adding cayenne pepper is a traditional South American way to add a bit of spice to chocolatey foods and drinks.
Dawn Swinley is a nutritional therapist, dedicated to help her clients achieve their goals by making simple changes that get results. You can find more about Dawn at www.dawnswinley.com