When we think about nutrition, most of us think about losing body fat or gaining more energy. What we don’t always think about is the impact that foods can have on our hormonal balance, libido, and sexual performance. And as our bodies age, our libido can diminish and make it harder to achieve orgasms. Once women hit menopause, the ovaries become less active and ultimately produce less testosterone, which is key to our libido. Men can also experience “manopause” which results in a drop in testosterone. Just what can you do to keep your mojo going as you age and enjoy a satisfying sex life throughout your life? Plenty! And it all starts with what you put in your mouth.
Zinc is a pretty amazing trace mineral. It kills viruses on contact and boosts white blood cell function. It forms superoxide dismutase, which is one of the body’s most important antioxidants. It promotes wound healing and muscle growth. And, zinc is the precursor to several vital hormones—especially testosterone—and is essential for a healthy sperm count.
Testosterone is an extremely important hormone for both men and women. It boosts sexual drive and capacity, muscle and bone growth, energy levels, and immune function. If you’re regularly weight training yet have low energy and are not seeing any muscle growth, you’re probably low in zinc. High levels of zinc will boost testosterone, build muscle, and make you randy!
Nationwide food consumption surveys by the USDA have found that the average intake of zinc for males and females of all ages is below the recommended daily allowance (RDA). (The current US RDAs for adults are 8 mg daily for non-lactating females and 11 mg daily for males.) Speaking professionally, to dose someone at this level will only keep them deficient in zinc and will damage their health over the long-term; those on low-fat or vegetarian diets are at an even greater risk of a zinc deficiency. Zinc should be the starting place for any hormone-balancing program.
Natural Libido Boosters
To help raise your body’s zinc stores, slurp down oysters, chew on some pastured red meat, and toss some pumpkin seeds into your salads. All of these foods are a rich source of zinc.
L-arginine is another form of nature’s Viagra. L-arginine is an amino acid you can buy in supplement form; research shows the nitric oxide present may dilate clitoral blood vessels, increasing flow to erogenous zones and helping to improve arousal and erections. Walnuts can also have the same effect, and they provide omega-3 fatty acids to promote lubrication and circulation.
Asparagus is considered one of the best libido-boosting foods since it’s rich in folate. A naturally occurring form of folic acid, folate regulates the production of histamine – the chemical that is released during an orgasm.
Garlic is a rich source of allicin, a compound that thins the blood. Thinner blood means that you have a much better chance of having an erection and greater endurance in the bedroom. Now that’s what I call a great workout!
I’m a big fan of the adaptogenic properties of Rhodiola. Rhodiola boosts serotonin and dopamine to help boost sexual pleasure. Pour you and your loved one a special love potion before you head into the boudoir: 30 drops of rhodiola diluted in water is the recommended dosage. Bottoms up!
To raise your sex drive through the roof, make sure you’re eating plenty of cold-water fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon and mackerel. Halibut is high in magnesium and helps distribute testosterone in the blood.
Walnuts, an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, are known to boost dopamine and arginine levels in the brain, which increases the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is the essential chemical compound for erections; it dilates the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow freely. All nuts contain essential fatty acids to boost hormones and keep us amorous. They are also rich in arginine to put the swing in your ding. Pine nuts are my favorite source of zinc; they’re packed to the gills.
If you think your zinc stores are suboptimal, pick up some liquid zinc sulfate heptahydrate (available from health food stores and pharmacies) and performing a zinc taste test. To do a zinc taste test, place 2 teaspoons of zinc in your mouth and hold it there for 10 seconds before swallowing.
Your response will fall into one of the following grades:
1. Grade one response: no specific taste sensation: tastes like plain water. This indicates a major deficiency of zinc.
2. Grade two response: no immediate taste is noticed but, within the ten seconds of the test, a ‘dry’ or ‘metallic’ taste is experienced. This indicates a moderate deficiency.
3. Grade three response: an immediate slight taste is noted, which increases with time over the ten second period. This indicates a deficiency of minor degree.
4. Grade four response: an immediate, strong and unpleasant taste is experienced. This indicates that no zinc deficiency exists.
Most people fall into the grade one or two variety. I then suggest they supplement with zinc daily and repeat the test periodically to see if their taste response improves. To avoid the potential of toxic side effects, zinc supplementation should not exceed 150 mg per day.