Here’s what you need to know about anaphrodisiacs
Do a quick Internet search for “foods that kill sex drive,” and you’ll find a slew of articles listing alleged anaphrodisiacs, or foods that can lower your libido. But unlike aphrodisiacs, which are foods that have some scientific backing to support their sex-boosting abilities, the same can’t be said for their opposites. “You’ll find a long list of foods that affect your testosterone or libido; however, a lot of these are based on word-of-mouth or poor research studies,” says Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, co-director of the PUR Clinic in Clermont, Florida. “Don’t believe everything you read.” Still, Dr. Brahmbatt says it’s a good idea to abide by the rule “everything in moderation,” and it can’t hurt to keep certain foods in mind before getting intimate.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to completely give up your edamame sushi appetizer (phew!), but it’s a good idea to be mindful of how much soy you’re ingesting. Small studies have suggested that diets high in soy-based foods like tofu may lower testosterone and sperm counts, but larger studies failed to turn up any direct link between soy and libido or testosterone.
Foods high in saturated fat
If some of your favorite meals are fried, they may be tasty but they’re also laden with saturated fat, which contributes to clogged arteries, poor blood flow, and weight gain; that can lead to erectile dysfunction, which obviously plays a part in your drive to have sex. “If you eat poorly, you’re more likely to be obese and have problems like diabetes or high blood pressure, all of which can affect your libido,” says Dr. Brahmbhatt. “It’s best to eat better today for a healthier sex life tomorrow.” Other foods high in saturated fat are red meat and cheese.
Some vegetable oils are high in polyunsaturated fats, which can cause your testosterone levels to take a serious dip, according to Columbus Men’s Clinic in Columbus, Ohio. Testosterone plays a part in the libido of both men and women, so consider sticking with extra virgin olive oil if you’re worried about it taking a hit.
A flaccid sex drive is one more reason to watch your sodium intake. Salt and foods high in this mineral can lead to high blood pressure, which can shoot your libido right down, according to Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Find out the signs you're eating too much salt.
“Heavy drinking can lead to lower testosterone and higher estrogen levels. In combination, this can affect your libido,” says Dr. Brahmbhatt. And even though a little boozy buzz may increase your confidence to actually hit the bedroom, alcohol is a depressant so too much can end up decreasing sexual desire and sometimes make it harder for a man to get…ahem…hard. These are signs you might be drinking too much.
Sugar can affect your waistline and end up wasting your bedroom time. “Sugars require insulin for processing. This constant increase in insulin is linked with low testosterone levels,” says Dr. Brahmbhatt. Heavy carbohydrates like pasta can also turn to sugar, which then spikes blood glucose levels and causes the pancreas to produce more insulin. “Get the salad over pasta on date night,” he says. Learn how to undo a sugar binge.