Hi Sweet Friends,
Last week, Aviva Romm, Integrative MD and I walked you through the main causes of sex drive dips and how you can start to address these issues to move toward a healthier, more fulfilling sex life. Today, we’re back! Although we touched upon food’s role in sexual health in part one (you can read that blog here), we’re going to go further in part two with an in-depth look at food, supplements and herbs that can help boost your sex drive.
But let’s get real before we dive into the details. There are countless ways to say it—makin’ whoopee, knockin’ boots, schtuppin’—but how often do we talk about sex in an open, honest way? We may even fib about how well it’s going in the bedroom. So if you’re struggling in this department (we all do sometimes!) I hope that this series will help you step out of your comfort zone and explore how to improve this part of life. Now, let’s dig right into this delicious part of the conversation.
KC: When do you recommend that someone consider integrating certain foods, herbs or supplements into their life to address sexual health issues?
AR: Since the emotional and relationship aspect of sexual health is so strong, I always suggest taking a close look at those parts of life first. (In case you missed it, go check out our Sex Quiz from last week!) Are you happy in your relationship? Are you with the right person? Do you struggle with self-esteem or have poor body image? Maybe there’s some past trauma hanging around that needs some healing. Also, low sex drive can sometimes be a symptom of a medical problem. So if you’re having any other health symptoms, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor.
But if you’ve already covered these bases, adding in certain foods, supplements, and/or herbs into your life with the guidance of a qualified practitioner is a great way to address sex drive issues. I recommend starting with foods and supplements and seeing if your sex life improves. After a few weeks, you could add herbs as well if you’re not seeing progress.
KC: Are there specific nutritional supplements or botanicals that can help women to improve their sex drive?
AR: Certainly, but again, please work with a qualified practitioner when integrating herbs or supplements into your life. Here’s a list of my top recommendations:
- Walnuts: An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. 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 (clitoral blood flow and erectile function); it dilates the blood vessels, allowing blood to travel more freely to the sex organs leading to—ooh la la—more sensitivity and sensation. A quarter cup of walnuts will do the job!
- Chocolate: May trigger the release of serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of relaxation and pleasure. Better mood means being “in the mood” more often! The bioflavonoids in dark chocolate also open up blood vessels and improve blood flow. Again this is good for clitoral blood flow and erectile function, and thus the pleasure response. Up to 2 oz. of at least 72% dark chocolate daily is recommended.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Studies show that women with a greater sex drive have higher levels of testosterone. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, a testosterone booster, making it the perfect sexy snack. A quarter-cup a few times per week may do the trick.
- L-arginine, an amino acid available in supplement form, may dilate clitoral blood vessels and improve penile erectile function, increasing flow to erogenous zones which helps to improve arousal. The typical dose is 5 grams daily taken for 6 weeks.
- Maca: The Quechua Indians of Peru’s central highlands consider maca a highly nutritious food that promotes mental acuity, vitality, and stamina. It is also well know as an aphrodisiacal tonic that enhances sexual desire and performance. Dried maca root is rich in essential amino acids, iodine, iron, and magnesium, as well as sterols that may possess a wide range of benefits, including aphrodisiac properties. The dose is 3.5 grams per day for 6 weeks or longer.
- Chaste berry can help to stabilize the sex-related hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because it acts directly on female hormones, but does not contain any hormones, it may be used safely to improve sexual response in women with hormone imbalances, especially when caused by menopause or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The typical dose is 150-250 mg per day or about 40 drops of the extract 1-2 times daily.
- Chinese ginseng has been used for centuries to improve stamina and improve sexual response as well as energy and mood. This makes it a useful remedy for women suffering from low libido because of stress, anxiety or menopause. The dose is 3 grams per day for 12 weeks.