Well it was Valentines Day yesterday, and nothing screams Valentines Day like chocolate, champagne and a romp between the sheets. Food, love and sex have been inexorably linked since time began.
If you ever saw the movie ‘nine and a half weeks’, (and if you are over 40, I bet you did!), then you will have a wonderful understanding of what food can do for sex. I have no doubt that the sale of strawberries went through the roof in the days and weeks that followed its release.
What a way to get your daily five veg and two fruits!!
Seriously, though, food can improve your sex life – not quite in the, ‘oysters does aphrodisiac’ sort of way, but more the ‘healthy body, better performance’ kind of way.
Generally, a body that is well nourished, soaked in vitamins and minerals, and physically fit, will give you the best performance – in and out of the bedroom.
Although food science has failed to produce a definitive guide to better sexual performance, a few nutrients are thought to play some role in improving sexual function.
Zinc is perhaps the one nutrient that does have an impact on sexual outcome and is the factor that lends itself to the aphrodisiac quality of oysters. Zinc, found in highest levels in seafood, is concentrated in the human body, in the bones, prostate gland and semen. It is essential for the growth and maturation of sexual organs in adolescents, in reproduction generally, and in the health of our skin, hair and nails. Deficiency can result in impotence and low libido, as well as a range of other afflictions. Having said that, impotence and low libido can be caused by a huge number of factors, so don’t just rely on the zinc to cure all.
Vitamin E is important to health generally, but also sexual health. It is not a wonder food, and mega doses do not make the mega lover. However, experiments in animals, have found that deficiency of vitamin E can lead to sterility (along with a range of other nasty side effects). Deficiency in humans is rare.
Vitamin E is none the less an important antioxidant, and essential to good health. Found in most oils, nuts, wheatgerm and avocados, it is easy to include in your diet.
Whilst vitamin rich foods can enhance performance, alcohol can reduce it. A few drinks may limber you up and bring on a passion that is otherwise subdued, but too much alcohol reduces testosterone levels, impacts sperm production, and increases zinc losses (in heavy drinkers). So go carefully on the booze.
Maybe one day there’ll be a super food that improves our love life. For now, it’s a dish made up of the five food groups, a lot of lust, a ladle-full of love and the right frame of mind.
Now go out there and buy those strawberries!
(Ref: Catherine Saxelby – Nutrition for life, first edition)