We all know that we should eat healthier and exercise to help ward off disease and live a long life.
But you might not be aware that the foods you eat not only influence your health in old age but also drive your vitality today in ways that are just plain sexy. I’m not talking about having ripped six-pack abs or lithe thighs—I’m talking about something people of all body types and ages can appreciate: libido.
The emerging data on nutrition is showing that what we eat influences every element of human health, including things like sex drive that aren't typically associated with diet.
To understand how diet drives libido, first consider these recent discoveries: for men, a decrease in calorie and fat consumption (along with an increase in exercise) has shown a nearly 50 percent increase in testosterone production. And a two-year study on women showed that the Mediterranean diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil) significantly increased scores on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), a measure that includes assessment of arousal, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain.
As a doctor with four board certifications, I know that everything in health is multifactorial—eating the right foods must be combined with exercise and mental health to achieve the most benefit. And if you want to keep it simple, the Mediterranean Diet and almost daily moderate exercise will do more for your libido (and overall health) than any single food.
Still, if you suffer from sexual dysfunction or an especially low libido, you may want to consider increasing your consumption of specific foods that have been shown to bolster the hormonal and vascular systems associated with sexual function and drive.
Everyone’s heard that oysters are an aphrodisiac, but a single serving of oysters is probably about as effective in improving low libido as a single anti-inflammatory is at healing a broken leg. A better approach is to add the following foods to your everyday lifestyle: