Eat Well, Love Well
For Your Love Life's Sake
By: Pam Smith, RDN
It’s a cliché that hot romance always cools down, especially in the marriage bed. Unfortunately, it’s often true. Low sexual desire is the most common sexual complaint among couples, affecting one third of American couples. Add in fatigue and dysfunction, and it’s a wonder the fires find a way to burn at all. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on intimacy – or your libido. And for your health’s sake, you shouldn’t, because the health benefits of physical closeness are real – and the emotional and spiritual bond tightly held through a couple’s intimacy is vital.
What's Food Got to Do with It?
Exciting new medical research tells us that good health is an essential part of good sex – and preparing the body for peak performance in intimacy is as vital as an athlete preparing for a winning game. What you eat (or don’t eat) has a direct impact on your love life, affecting your hormone, energy and stress levels. Seriously!
What about oysters, champagne, chocolate, strawberries, asparagus and cayenne pepper – all promise to ignite passions in the bedroom, right?
Interestingly enough, there’s a new philosophy about why these “aphrodisiacs” work – if they do. They’re good for your heart. And what’s good for your heart is good for your libido, too. After all, if your arteries are clogged, getting blood to flow down south can be problematic. In fact, research shows that when obese men lose weight and get more exercise their erections improve.
Here are some romance-enhancing wonders, and a little "why" behind the "if":
Fish (including Oysters) Fatty fish like oysters, salmon, scallops and sardines are loaded with healthful monounsaturated fats called Omega 3’s which help with blood flow and healthy circulation. And they carry a hefty dose of testosterone boosting zinc, too.
So you’ve already heard the buzz that a daily glass of red (or white for that matter) raises good cholesterol and helps prevent arteries from clogging. But go easy. Too much alcohol can reduce testosterone levels and sperm count. All you’ll want to do in bed is sleep.
Whole Grains, Nuts, and Seeds
Research shows that whole grains – especially oats – help lower cholesterol, keeping your arteries clean. Load up on foods heavy in healthful monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and zinc. Each of these nutrients is linked with increased sexual desire.
The right spices not only heat things up on the tongue, but also in the bedroom. Chili pepper and ginger help improve circulation, and hot spices like cayenne, curry and cumin help warm the body.
Don’t forget the chocolate, if you like it dark and bitter (see Chocolate 101). Cocoa is a stimulant that increases sensitivity and reproduces feelings of excitement, putting you on a natural high that can make you more ready for love. This favored dessert fix also contains methylxanthines, which stimulate the transmission of nerve signals.
The Bottom Line
The best way to boost your love life is by eating well and often, with balanced mini-meals of whole food carbohydrates and lean proteins, drinking lots of water and restricting your alcohol consumption. If you’re looking ahead to an evening “date for romance” – take a power nap in the afternoon, be sure to stay well hydrated with water, and power snack throughout the day to have the needed energy to make your night most enjoyable. It may not be as romantic as serving your significant other chocolate fondue, but it works.