Nutrition + Lifestyle Tips for Increasing Libido
A recent study suggests that Millennials are having way less sex than previous generations. Yep that's right, your parents were getting more action than you are now.
So what gives? Why are we having less sex in America? Sex drive is influenced by both psychological and physical factors, and unfortunately Americans are not exactly thriving in either of those area.
Keep reading to find out some simple science-backed nutrition and lifestyle strategies to increase your libido.
Nutrition + Lifestyle Tips for Increasing Libido
01 - BALANCE YOUR HORMONES
Hormones play a critical role in maintaining a healthy sex drive and should be the first place you investigate if your libido drops.
There are a ton of factors that contribute to hormone imbalances including stress, insulin resistance, calorie/weight imbalances, poor diet, frequent exposure to hormones in the food supply, and exposure to estrogen-like toxins from pesticides (xenoestrogens), plastics, and pollution.
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Once you identify and treat the root cause of hormone imbalances, your libido should return naturally. This process can take some time, but a great place to start is by focusing on balancing your blood sugar and managing stress better.
02 - BALANCE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
Insulin resistance is the condition that contributes to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that at least 86 million U.S. adults are pre-diabetic/insulin-resistant.
This condition causes sex hormone imbalances in both men and women. In men, insulin resistance decreases testosterone and increases estrogen, both of which can cause your libido to drop.
In women, insulin resistance can increase testosterone and lead to PCOS, a condition that causes infertility, hair loss on the head, facial hair growth, weight gain, and depression. Insulin resistance in women can also causes an increase in estrogen, which decreases libido and causes mood and sleep disturbances, weight gain, and fluid retention.
So if you noticed a drop in your libido it's a great a idea to get some blood work to see if you are insulin resistant.
You can start balancing your blood sugar with these simple steps:
Eating a healthy diet overall
Having high quality protein and healthy fat with every meal
Avoid skipping meals
Limit your sugar and refined carbohydrate intake
Learn to manage your stress better.
03 - LEARN TO MANAGE STRESS BETTER
Stress impacts libido in several ways. High amounts of stress hormones cause a direct decrease in sex hormones, including testosterone - the libido boosting hormone.
Stress also triggers fear and anxiety, both of which make it pretty hard to get in the mood. If your sex drive has plummeted after a stressful event or because of chronic stress, this is your body's way of telling you to slow down.
There are a ton of effective stress management techniques out there:
Guided relaxation techniques
Talking to a loved one
Have an open mind, try one new technique every week and stick with whatever works for you.
04 - ACHIEVE A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Finding a balance in your weight is key to having a healthy libido. Fat tissue produces estrogen and excess weight gain can lead to to higher than normal estrogen levels, which lowers libido.
Excess fat tissue also produces chemical compounds called cytokines, inflammatory compounds that contribute to insulin resistance and chronic disease. Inflammation decreases the estrogen detoxification system in the body and increases estrogen receptor binding, which results in higher than normal estrogen levels.
Many experts say that even just a 10 pound weight loss can free up bound testosterone and increase your sex drive!
Ovulating and menstruation is essential in balancing your sex hormones. Ovulation is the only way to make estradiol and progesterone, two key hormones for a healthy libido.
Women who are underweight and/or overexercise often stop menstruating because the body shuts down menstruation to conserve calories. If you have stopped menstruating after losing weight or increasing your exercise regimen, you have pushed your body too far and will need to adjust your plan so ovulation returns.
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Regardless of your size, poor body image also contributes to low libido.
Loving your body at any size increases confidence and allows you to experience sexual moments more intensely and without distractions!
05 - GET MORE ZINC
Zinc has several benefits for balancing your hormones, including stimulating ovulation, blocking excess testosterone in women with PCOS, raising testosterone to normal levels in men and women with low testosterone, supporting thyroid hormone synthesis and activation, and reducing inflammation.
The recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for zinc are as follows (note that you may need more zinc if you have medical conditions, such as PCOS)
Adult Women: 8 mg/day
Adult Men: 11 mg/day
Adult Pregnant women: 11 mg/day
Adult Breast-feeding women: 12 mg/day
Note that vegans and vegetarians may require as much as 50% more zinc because plant based foods that contain zinc also have high levels of phytic acid, which reduce zinc absorption.
No one food has a particularly high concentration of zinc (except oysters and red meat), so it is important to consume a variety of foods that contain zinc everyday.
Here are some food sources of zinc:
Turkey (dark meat)
Chicken (dark meat)
06 - EXERCISE
It turns out that exercise isn't just good for overall health and longevity, it's also great for boosting your sex drive! Current research suggests that exercise may boost your desire for sex, increase your sexual activity, and improve sexual satisfaction.
Exercise improves physical endurance, muscle tone, and blood circulation to all major tissues, including the genitals. All of these benefits are important for sexual desire and performance.
In fact, one study (Stanten and Yeager, 2003) found that just 20 minutes of vigorous exercise increased sexual responsiveness in women, another study found that short and intense exercise actually increased testosterone levels in men (Krucoff and Krucoff, 2000). Some experts even suggest that burning as little as 200 calories per day can significantly lower the risk of erectile dysfunction in men.
All forms of physical activity improve your self confidence, elevate your mood, increase your stamina and boost your energy, all of which contribute to enhanced sex drive.
Final Thoughts on Natural Ways to Boost Your Sex Drive
Get tested for insulin resistance and work on balancing your blood sugar.
Experiment with healthy stress management techniques and stick with what works.
If you are overweight, start with losing just 10 lbs.
If you are an underweight female, gain at least enough weight so that you are menstruating regularly.
Regardless of your size, reflect on the parts of your body that you love on a daily basis.
Aim for 11 mg of zinc per day from food sources from the list above.
Exercise at least 20 minutes a day - vigorous exercise is ideal.
Work with a qualified health expert if you need help balancing your hormones.
Have you guys tried any of these strategies? What works for you. Leave your answer in the comment section.
Hey! I’m Tamar…