Eat your way to better sex: Foods to bring the phwoar factor back into your life
There are a number of reasons why your sex life might have lost its sizzle but, as long as there’s still a glimmer of lust, you can help bring back the phwoar factor with the right diet.
Dr Cecilia Tregear, a hormone and anti-ageing specialist, explains: “Good nutrition is essential for the healthy production of hormones that maintain the libido and allow for regular and fulfilling sexual activity.”
If you need to regain your mojo, eat these performance-enhancing foods at dinnertime.
A bit obvious perhaps but, with the right ambience and dinner partner, fleshy, plump asparagus can give you a giggle and help to set the mood for love.
The phallic veg is especially sexy (and nutritious) eaten with a drizzle of olive oil and is also packed with folic acid, which is good news if the aim of your bedroom antics are to make a baby.
Other erogenous foods include curvaceous strawberries, succulent, juicy mango and fresh figs.
Men and women who drank a daily glass of 100% pomegranate juice for a fortnight experienced a surge in levels of libido-boosting testosterone in their saliva, researchers at Queen Margaret University, in Edinburgh, found.
At the end of the study, the male hormone, which increases sex drive in both men and women, had risen between 16 and 30%, while blood pressure of those being tested had plummeted.
The team found that levels of work-related stress – another big sex-sapper – were also lower in the drinkers of pomegranate juice.
Chilli and ginger-laced food can stimulate blood flow and mild sweating – factors that mimic feelings of arousal.
But with romance in mind, think light and appetising such as Thai fish cakes with a chilli dip, but not korma or super-hot vindaloo, as they can cause indigestion.
Low iron levels can impact on the physical stamina that’s needed for a romp under the duvet.
Yet more than a fifth of women aged between 19 and 64 have iron intakes that are below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake level (this is the amount deemed insufficient for all but 3% of the population).
The good news is that one portion of calf, chicken or pig liver supplies 100% of your daily iron requirement – and in a highly absorbable form.
Lean beef and mussels are other good sources, or vegetarians can opt for cashews and pulses.
Omega-3 fats found in oily fish – mackerel, sardines, pilchards and salmon – prevent our blood from getting sticky and ensure it flows freely to the parts that matter.
In the 75% of cases of male erectile dysfunction unrelated to psychological factors, poor blood flow is a common contributory cause.
“Omega-3 fats also increase the production of a hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone,” says Dr Tregear.
“But the libido-promoting effects of DHEA are less well publicised than other hormones, so doctors are now reporting that increasing levels can have a dramatic effect on libido.”
Drinking a small amount of alcohol can boost levels of dopamine, the brain chemical that is key in achieving an orgasm.
“It’s one of the reasons why a glass of wine can help to put you in the mood,” says Dr Tregear.
To improve your chance of bedroom success, opt for reds that have high levels of procyanidins. These are ingredients that keep arteries flexible and blood flowing freely, including to the genitals.
Examples include Argentian Malbecs (e.g. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Morador Malbec, £7.99) and Italian wines from Sicily and Sardinia, for example Sainsbury’s Sicilian Red, which is £3.99 a bottle.
“Be very careful not to overdo it though,” says Dr Tregear.
“Anything more than a glass of wine with dinner has a detrimental effect on hormones.”
It sounds unlikely but, in some cultures, oats have long been used as a sexual tonic.
“Oats contain a nutrient called avenacoside, which is a substance that supports healthy testosterone levels by freeing bound-up, inaccessible testosterone and making it available to your system,” says Dr Mao Shing Ni, a doctor of Chinese medicine (www.askdrmao.com).
If you don’t love porridge, try a supplement that contains the active ingredients of oats, for example A Vogel Avena Sativa Oat Drops, £9.15 for 50ml, www.avogel.co.uk.
This is another fantastic sex secret of Eastern medicine. Cardamom is a spice that is often prescribed by Chinese doctors, in doses of up to five grams daily, to revitalise sexual desire.
“The spice is a stimulant with a positive effect on overall wellbeing,” says Dr Mao. “Orchid bees are drawn to cardamom, using it to synthesise sex pheromones.”
You can use cardamom pods or seeds in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, or try them in rice pudding and spiced coffees.
The high level of nitrates in beetroot produces a gas called nitric oxide in the blood, which widens blood vessels, improves blood flow and triggers the sequence of events that leads to a male erection.
A daily dose of 250ml of beetroot juice or 100g cooked beetroots (around one to two) can help to increase nitric oxide levels.
By Angela Dowden
More sex advice:
* Dr Miriam’s good sex guide: Be honest, how is it for you? Take the questionnaire
* Dr Miriam’s good sex guide: Your biggest problems – solved
* Dr Miriam’s good sex guide: Must-read tips for a better love life
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