Foods That Are Killing Your Libido

You are what you eat, so it stands to reason that if you're putting libido-dampening foods into your body you can expect to get disappointing sexual results. It's possible that these foods are killing your libido, via the Daily Mail, and they aren't necessarily what you'd expect. Nutritionist Dr. Cecilia Tregear fingers several consumable culprits, so these might be a good place to start. But it's more useful to understand the underlying reasons for avoiding these foods so you can generalize it to the rest of your diet.

Topping the list is alcohol, although alcohol is mostly a sexual performance destroyer and not a libido killer per se. Drunk people are plenty horny, but they may find it difficult to achieve an orgasm, oops. More concerning is red meat, which contains hormones. It remains unfortunately unclear whether the hormones in meat have an effect on the hormone levels in your body, but a giant burger is also going to make you sluggish; if you're hoping to be up for some action then you might as well lay off, at least temporarily. Meat isn't the only hormone bomb, though — they're also in milk and fish. So you're going to have to choose your battles here, and balance other nutritional factors with your budget and risk tolerance.

Notably, soy products have known estrogenic effects which can dampen testosterone (and therefore libido). These estrogenic effects are a little weaker than scary headlines would have you believe, but it's worth cutting back if you're having sex drive problems. Trans fats (as in some fried foods) have so many negative health effects that it feels wrong to focus on libido, but yes by all means cut back on them too.

I'm not so sure about these other recommendations, though. Mint, licorice, and quinine (in tonic water) are alleged to be libido killers, but people only tend to ingest small amounts of these, and only intermittently, so they are not really likely to be to blame. And microwaved popcorn's funky chemical cocktail, also found in pizza boxes and other food wrappers, is probably an even more remote risk (unless you were employed in a popcorn plant and developed "popcorn workers lung").

Libido is a topic of continuous interest for obvious reasons, and it's come up again recently upon the announcement of "female Viagra." It's difficult even to know whether your libido is "healthy" in the first place, and mostly doctors have to go by your reported level of sexual satisfaction and whether you've experienced any large change in libido that affects it. There's probably nothing worse for your libido than overthinking it, though, especially for women who have more complicated sexual psychology, so take the news about sex drive that you see with a grain of salt.

At the end of the day, your libido is essentially a reflection on your general health. With a few notable exceptions of people who find themselves feeling totally asexual, physically and mentally healthy adults of reproductive age feel some impulse towards, well, reproducing. It's tempting to blame a low libido on one thing, but it's unlikely that microwaved popcorn is itself significantly to blame for your flagging sex drive. Instead, be honest with yourself about your overall diet and realize that including or excluding any particular food is unlikely to do much quickly and all by itself. Rather, think of a well-rounded (but not paranoid) diet as part of your long-term sexy strategy.

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