I definitely need to make a change to improve my sex life. But is a Keto or plant-based diet the answer? Asks Lee Suckling.
We've all been in the situation when we're too full to have sex. That distended stomach feeling isn't cohesive with getting frisky. Maybe it was a few too many fries, or a simple extra portion of lasagne. Perhaps it was just a really big leg of lamb.
Despite the common belief that men are "always up for it", I can fundamentally tell you this isn't true. I never want to have sex when my belly is full. It's not big carb-laden meals of comfort food that get me. I eat a lot of protein-rich foods for muscle growth, and protein fills your gut up like you're stuffing a Christmas turkey.
There's irony in this. I follow a diet to make my body look better, but the diet itself makes me feel undesirable. Feeling good about your body increases your libido, but being bloated removes all of that. But if I stopped following my protein-fuelled diet, I'd lose weight and become skinny and unconfident. How's that for a catch-22 of the metaphysical kind?
No matter what you consume, the way you eat affects your sex life.
If you eat unhealthily – say you gorge on unhealthy fats and added sugars – you'll not only feel sluggish and bloated all the time, you'll decrease your testosterone if you become overweight. It's well-known that obese men have low sex drives (a waist of over 40 inches puts you in the most trouble). Obese women also report decreased sex drives compared to people of an average weightin studies.
This doesn't mean you should jump on the latest diet fad to improve your sex drive though. Going extremely low-carbohydrate with something like the Keto diet changes your hormonal balance, and there's research suggesting that very low carb diets decrease thyroid function, which negatively affects the libido.
Even a vegan diet could spell disaster between the sheets, and not just because plant-based diets tend to make you very gassy. Cutting out all animal products means you're likely to develop a Vitamin D deficiency, which scientists have found is a contributor to erectile disfunction because of the lack of nitric oxide in your body. This can be particularly troublesome when you can't get Vitamin D from the sun in winter (you're also cutting out foods that provide it, like milk, cheese, fish, and eggs).
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Is there a good "sex diet" you can follow, for optimal sex drive? Not really – there's no legitimate diet for that yet. However, there are particular foods that will help you. Avocados contain high levels of folic acid, which helps metabolise protein. Garlic contains allicin which increases blood flow to the genitals. Kumara is rich in potassium (combating high blood pressure) which helps prevent erectile disfunction, and it also contains beta-carotene, which is jammed-packed with vitamin A for improved cervical fluid.
Pushing those supposed superfoods aside, I think the only real "sex diet" is one that makes you feel good about yourself inside and out. You need an individual, tailored diet that agrees with you, resulting in both external body confidence and internal comfort.
Writing this has made me realise I should find a better balance in my own diet – gains be damned, the constant intake of high protein meals aren't making me feel good about myself. Lots of other things in life affect your sex drive, like stress, age, schedules, and being cold. But unlike the others, your diet is something that you are wholly in charge of. I definitely need to make a change to improve my sex life. Do you think you do too?