Lack of sex drive is a common problem for men and women. A survey from the New England Research Institute suggests that 24 percent of men have low testosterone, which can lead to a decreased libido. 1An estimated 22 to 44 percent of women have experienced a lack of sexual desire.2 Why is this problem occurring? One answer may lie in the foods we eat.
Your libido is controlled by your hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Although testosterone is normally thought of as a male sex hormone, and estrogen as a female hormone, men and women create both hormones. When men have low testosterone, they often suffer from erectile dysfunction and low libido, while testosterone deficiency can also cause a lack of desire in women. 3Your sex hormones can become disrupted by certain chemicals and foods.4 If you consume these foods to excess, your libido may suffer.
Here are six foods that have been scientifically proven to decrease your sex drive.
Sugar is becoming a blame-all ingredient for health problems, including many types of disease and metabolism problems. Add another negative effect to sugar’s list – loss of libido. Sugar can disrupt your hormones, negatively affecting your sex drive. For instance, a study from Massachusetts General Hospital found that glucose, a type of sugar, reduced testosterone levels in male study participants.5 Sugar has also been found to stop your body from making more growth hormone (a natural hormone that regulates your libido), causing you to have less desire for sex.6
Soybeans are a common source of dietary protein. However, there is some evidence that eating an abundance of soy products can kill your libido, particularly for men. This is because soy can mimic estrogen, the primary female sex hormone.7 In 2011, the Harvard School of Medicine documented the case study of a 19-year-old man who ate large quantities of soy products.8 The man lost interest in sex and experienced erectile dysfunction. One year after he stopped eating a diet high in soy, his sexual functions returned to normal. Another study of soy protein supplementation for bodybuilders found that excessive amounts of soy led to a decrease in testosterone.9
3. Bottled Water or Canned Foods
If you’re regularly drinking water from plastic bottles or eating foods from cans, you could be taking in large amounts of a chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA), which interferes with your body’s natural hormones.10 Excessive amounts of BPA can cause problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, infertility, and sexual problems.
Several studies support this claim. A study of people who worked with BPA found that male workers had a higher risk for sexual dysfunction, including reduced desire and erectile dysfunction.11 Exposure to BPA may also have an impact on fertility for women. A study from the University of California San Francisco found that BPA may affect the quality of a woman’s eggs. 12To decrease your exposure to BPA, consume less canned foods and bottled water. Additionally, you can opt for glass or stainless steel food containers, and refrain from microwaving plastic.
Minty fresh breath can make you feel sexy, but consuming too much spearmint can zap your libido. Spearmint tea has been used historically in the Middle East as a treatment for women with excess facial hair. A study done on women in Turkey showed that drinking a cup of spearmint tea each day reduced their amount of facial hair – and their testosterone levels.13 Lower testosterone levels have been associated with less sex drive. If you drink mint tea every day, consider cutting down or switching to another type of tea for a better libido.
Drinking to excess is a real libido killer (not to mention nauseating and painful). Several studies have shown that alcohol intoxication lowers testosterone in healthy men. 14Alcohol abuse among men has also been linked to shrinking of the testes.15 Physiological arousal is also lower in women who have consumed alcohol.16 However, some studies have revealed that drinking in moderation can increase libido. A 2009 study from Italy found that one to two glasses of red wine daily increased sexual desire for women study participants.17 For your sexual health, light to moderate drinking is okay, but don’t drink until you black out!
7. Low-Fat Foods
Eating a diet low in fats is supposed to be good for you, right? Not so for your libido, according to two studies. One study from the National Cancer Institute showed that eating a diet low in fats decreased testosterone in study participants.18 Another study of 30 healthy, middle-aged men also found that a low-fat diet reduced testosterone.19
Your body needs some fat to function properly. The recommended daily percentage of fats for adults is 20 to 35 percent of your total calorie intake.20 If you’re not getting enough fats, including healthy unsaturated fats, your libido may be suffering.
Eat Your Way to More Sex
Many men and women will suffer from a lack of libido at some point in their lives. Awareness that certain foods can make you less likely to desire sex can help you overcome your lagging libidos and enjoy regular sex again.
For more tips on eating foods for optimal health, keep reading here:
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9.”Effects Of Soy, Whey Protein Supplementation Post-Exercise”. ScienceDaily. N.p., 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
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12. “Increased BPA Exposure Linked To Reduced Egg Quality In Women”. Medical News Today. N.p., 2010. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
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14.Mendelson, J, N Mello, and J Ellingboe. “Effects Of Acute Alcohol Intake On Pituitary-Gonadal Hormones In Normal Human Males.”. Jpet.aspetjournals.org. N.p., 1977. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
15. Emanuele, Mary Ann. “Alcohols Effect On Male Reproduction”. N.p., 1998. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
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17. Mondaini N, et al. “Regular Moderate Intake Of Red Wine Is Linked To A Better Women’s Sexual Health. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2009. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
18. Dorgan JF, et al. “Effects Of Dietary Fat And Fiber On Plasma And Urine Androgens And Estrogens In Men: A Controlled Feeding Study. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 1996. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
19. Hämäläinen EK, et al. “Decrease Of Serum Total And Free Testosterone During A Low-Fat High-Fibre Diet. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 1983. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
20. “Are Fats Good For You? How Much Fat Should I Eat?”. Medical News Today. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.