Libido, or sex drive, varies with each person and is supported by the production of testosterone, both in males and females. Libido tends to naturally decreases with age. Lifestyle and diet play a role in how active a person’s libido is. Unhealthy lifestyle habits and foods consumed decrease testosterone production, depressing libido, whereas healthy habits and foods can increase testosterone production, improving libido.
Being overweight or obese, high amounts of stress, not getting enough sleep, taking anti-depressants, and for those with diabetes, having uncontrolled blood glucose levels all decrease testosterone production and negatively affect libido. Consuming large amounts of unhealthy items like high saturated fat foods, caffeine, and alcohol can decrease testosterone production.
Consuming foods high in Zinc and B Vitamins, and in general foods found in the Mediterranean Diet can aid in the production of testosterone. Below is my "better health and better sex" list of great foods:
• Salmon (wild not farmed), and mackerel – high in Omega-3 EPA/DHA, B vitamins, B5, B6 and B12
• Avocados – high in vitamin B6 and potassium
• Bananas – high in potassium and B vitamins, especially riboflavin
• Almonds, pine nuts and other nuts – high in zinc and essential fatty acids
• Oysters – high in zinc
• Asparagus – contain B vitamins
• Eggs – good source of B vitamins
• Brown rice, cheese, turkey – all great sources of zinc
Almonds, granola, oatmeal, peanuts, pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, soybeans—these are high in L-arginine which studies show improve blood flow and sexual function in men (but remember that women have an erectile response as well).
Eating the foods above and exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours) each night, managing stress levels, and being at a healthy body weight all help support testosterone production, and a healthy libido. So if just being healthy wasn't a strong enough motivator to eat right and exercise, maybe sex is!