Ahh Valentine's Day... the 24 hours of hyped-up love, where we demand red roses, and pressure for sex is kicked up a good few notches. How totally and utterly romantic...!
Now, as a nutritional therapist, I always ask people about their sex drive, because it's a big indicator of underlying health. Whilst my clients don't really see it as an issue, actually it gives me a clue into how their hormones are functioning and where we need to support the body.
Sex is seriously important for our happiness, health... and... well... the future of the human race, so we need to make sure we're looking after our body and enabling it do to what it has to.
Here are my top foodie tips to have a fabulous sex drive this Valentine's Day:
DON'T do the whole milk chocolate box thing
Sugar is a massive no-no when it comes to sex drive, as it raises insulin, which ultimately affects sex hormones and therefore sex drive. Studies have even directly shown that testosterone reduces by 25% in the blood after consuming glucose!
DO get dark, raw chocolate or make your own
Cocoa as a standalone ingredient IS a natural aphrodisiac (like we didn't know this already!) as it releases that happy hormone serotonin, as well as phenylethylamine in the body. Choosing 99% or 100% chocolate ensures that you're getting less of the sugar and more of the powerful chocolate nutrition. You can also make your own hormone-friendly chocolate by using coconut sugar and raw cacao!
DO up your iron
No, I don't mean weight training, I mean making sure you're consuming the all important mineral, iron. In women especially, low iron levels can negatively effect arousal, libido, lubrication and the ability to orgasm. Making sure you're getting in leafy green vegetables and dark chocolate can help boost your iron levels, and consuming them with vitamin C rich foods like citrus fruits can help the absorption further.
DO harness the power of ancient herbs
Thousands of years ago, people knew how to get it on... and when they lost their way they turned to herbs for a bit of extra support. In South America, maca was a root used by the Inca warriors to ensure strength and stamina, and was later thought of as a powerful aphrodisiac, used in fertility treatments by people living in the Andes. It has a malt-like taste and makes a great accompaniment to chocolate drinks.
In Asian herbalism, one of the most revered herbs is Ho Shou Wu, which translated, literally means "(Mr) Ho's black hair" (Shou = head, Wu = black). This stems from an ancient story about a 58-year-old man who reversed his grey hair and who had an extremely strong sexual desire after consuming the herb. Ever since, it's been a natural hormone balancer and sex drive enhancer!
Another tonic herb is schizandra, which was not only was it known for its beautifying effects, but it was discovered that schizandra could increase sensitivity and circulation in the female genitals.
DON'T have a cheese fest
Cheesy love notes... yes; cheesy music... yes; cheesy food... big no - no!
Cheese and other dairy products can upset our digestive system, creating a cascade of imbalances around the body. Dairy is also likely to contain high levels of hormones, which can have a negative impact on our oestrogen and testosterone levels. Opt for plant-based milks where possible and consider substituting with nutritional yeast as a great cheesy-tasting alternative.
DO find the magic in mushrooms
Not all mushrooms are created alike, and my favourite happens to be a medicinal mushroom called cordyceps, which is known for its libido enhancing qualities. In Chinese herbalism, Cordyceps is known as nature's aphrodisiac and is said to be a life-reinforcing mushroom, building physical and sexual power.
DON'T show your love with fast food
Well... not that date night to the nearest drive though isn't romantic or anything... but... you may want to re-think, as it can actually lead to a lot of dissatisfaction in the bedroom!
With high amounts of added salt, nasty chemicals, and trans-fats that the food is fried in, you're looking at a sexual disaster. These foods can lead to gestational issues in women and abnormal sperm production in men as well as high blood pressure, affecting blood flow to all those important areas! Try to only use coconut oil in cooking, eating only real, whole foods, and adding just small amounts of sea salt to your food, as it can have a much more positive effect on your sex life.
Valentine's Day is just around the corner so pack in those nutrients, pull out those herbs and take back control of your sex drive!!
For more nutrition tips and tricks, head on over to my website: www.jodiebrandman.com