Sex drive is impacted by a variety of factors, one of those being diet. So if your libido is suffering, or you just want to make sure it stays healthy and thriving, you might want to take a look at what you're eating. “Loss of libido can be associated with a B vitamin deficiency, which affects energy in general; zinc deficiency, which affects testosterone production; and fatty acid deficiencies, which affect overall hormone production,” integrative health expert and physician Tasneem Bhatia, M.D., explains to LIVESTRONG.COM. Therefore, vitamins are the key to better blood flow and organ function. Consuming fruits and veggies with vitamins A, E and omega-3 fatty acids — such as organic strawberries, avocados and sweet potato — can help maintain a healthy libido. However, there are certain foods that can have the opposite effect. Here are seven foods that kill a man’s sex drive — and some of them might surprise you!
Lactose intolerant? Bloating and gas can really take a toll on anyone’s sex drive. According to Dr. Taz, many men don’t realize they are intolerant to dairy, so they continue eating it — and it negatively impacts their sex drive. “Limiting dairy can help prevent these symptoms that surely kill your sex drive,” she explains. Milk, ice cream and cheese all fall in this category. If you think you may suffer from lactose intolerance, you might want to try out some nondairy alternatives to see if the side effects subsist, especially if you anticipate a night of lovemaking. You have been warned.
Up next: You might want to think twice about hitting the bottle if you want to perform well in the sack.
Bad news, guys: Drinking (to excess) can be hazardous for your libido. “Bingeing on alcohol can cause erectile dysfunction, cramping your sex drive,” Dr. Taz tells us. Want the good news? You don’t have to cut out alcohol altogether to maintain an active sex life. She recommends drinking no more than two to three alcoholic beverages a night — and, ideally, no more than five to seven per week. Keep in mind that, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, moderate drinking is defined as up to one drink a day for women and two a day for men, and anything over that isn’t really healthy anyway. So keeping your drinking to a minimum will benefit more than just your sex drive.
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Up next: This snack seems to be a great accompaniment for a romantic evening in front of the tube, but it could totally backfire.
3. Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn can seem like a easy, convenient and tasty accompaniment to a sexy night of Netflix and chill, but those salty little kernels could have a negative impact on your sex life. “We all love popcorn, but the lining in many kinds of microwave popcorn contains perfluorooctanoic acid, an endocrine disruptor, and can drive down testosterone levels,” Dr. Taz tells us. In addition to putting a damper on your sex drive, these chemicals also affect your partner: Research shows that perfluorooctanoic acid can negatively impact a woman’s fertility, so you might want to rethink the snack. If you can’t live without microwave popcorn, there are some options out there that won’t sabotage sexy time. The website The Doctors suggests buying Quinn Popcorn, Jolly Time Popcorn, Snappy Popcorn Co. and Newman’s Own Organics microwave popcorns because their bags are all PFOA-free. Or you can always pop your kernels the old-fashioned way, using kernels, oil and a saucepan.
Up next: This fruit makes for a great pairing with Champagne, but just make sure you splurge for organic if you want to keep your sex drive revving.
4. Conventional Strawberries
According to the most recent installment of the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of most pesticide-ridden fruits and veggies, strawberries contain the highest level of pesticides of any produce. In case you needed another reason to buy organic strawberries, we have one: In addition to health risks, such as birth defects, Parkinson’s disease and cancer, consuming the potential chemicals in the conventional variety can negatively impact your sex life, according to Dr. Taz. “Remember to buy organic,” she urges. “These pesticides are endocrine disruptors increasing estrogen, driving down testosterone.” In other words, they won’t do any wonders for your sex drive.
Up next: Sipping on tea made with this herb is relaxing, but it may relax your libido as well.
Consuming mint can soothe your stomach and relieve heartburn, help improve focus and aid with coughs, congestion and even bad breath. While all of these may sound like positive things, when it comes to your sex life, the fragrant green leaves are actually not so bueno for your libido. So you may want to consider limiting your mint tea consumption. “The menthol in mint has been shown to drive testosterone down,” Dr. Taz maintains. In fact, spearmint tea is actually recommended for women to lower high levels of testosterone, particularly if they need to increase insulin production or have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Up next: These popular crustaceans are often sprayed with a chemical that can decrease your sex drive.
Shrimp are low in calories (a generous six-ounce serving has just 202), high in protein, low in mercury and boasts loads of vitamins and minerals, but they may not be the best food for your sex life. Dr. Taz explains that they are sprayed with 4-hexylresorcinol — a chemical that helps them keep their color — which can raise estrogen and drive down testosterone. Another not-so-fun fact about the popular shellfish? According to a 2015 Consumer Reports study, nearly 20 percent of frozen shrimp (both raw and cooked) tested positive for several bacteria, including vibrio and E. coli, which can cause food poisoning and curse you with the accompanying symptoms of diarrhea and dehydration. As for raw shrimp, they found that 60 percent contained one of four types of bacteria. And as we all know, a night of food poisoning symptoms won't exactly make you want to have sex. Bottom line: Dr. Taz recommends skipping shrimp altogether if you want to help maintain a healthy sex drive.
Up next: It may have some serious health benefits, but this seed isn’t going to do any wonders for your sex life.
For more than 5,000 years, flaxseed has been used for healing and health benefits. Not only is it a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, it's also a source of phytochemicals called lignans and high in dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, manganese and minerals phosphorous, iron and copper. However, men might want to think twice before sprinkling them on everything they eat. “While I love flaxseeds, they are a bit controversial for men,” Dr. Taz explains. “Ground flaxseeds have lignin and fiber, which helps to metabolize estrogen, but it may in large amounts lower testosterone.” But don’t cut flaxseed out of your diet altogether. She suggests limiting consumption to one to two teaspoons a few times per week in order to get the fiber benefit to help prevent heart disease risks but still avoid the testosterone-lowering side effect. Perfect!
What Do YOU Think?
Are you surprised that any of these foods or drinks can lower a man’s sex drive? What other items seem to lower yours? Will you think harder about consuming any of these products? Tell us in the comments!
Leah Groth is a writer and editor currently based in Philadelphia. She has covered topics such as entertainment, parenting, health & wellness for xoJane, Babble, Radar, Fit Pregnancy, Mommy Nearest, Living Healthy and PopDust.