Well, it’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s the month where a monumental collide of our 3 favorite things go into overdrive. What are they you ask? What else? But SEX, LOVE and FOOD! Certainly you guessed all three right; I mean with Valentines Day’s being right around the corner, every woman is thinking of what romantic encounter the day will bring where the man of her dreams makes every co-worker in her office, red with envy. Every grocery store, food chain and chocolate maker is busy making the number one confection of strawberries dipped in chocolate and if you got all that right, that night there is always the hint of sexual tension that is sure to end the night in a blissful sexual encounter.
We don’t often think of sex in its most basic sense: physical activity. But, that’s exactly what it is, even when it transports you to magical out-of-body worlds of pleasure. And as we continue to learn that there’s a deeper connection between what, how, and when we eat with the state of our health, we must remember to include our sex lives in that equation.
Men, have you found yourself saying, “Not tonight,” more than usual in all the wrong moments? It might be something you’re eating. These days, more men suffer from a decreased sex drive, and some of the major culprits are as simple as what they’re putting into their mouths. Foods can negatively affect your libido, especially as you age, so it’s important to find those ingestible perpetrators and cut them down, or out. Your lack of testosterone levels can also decrease sexual desire, so anything that depletes these hormones in men can eventually zap their desire for sex for good.
So here’s the quick top 5 list of short explanations:
1. To avoid an unsexy bottom burp, skip out on vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Not only are they reputed to make you fart more, cruciferous veggies also increase the pungency of your flatulence. To blame? Raffinose and sulphate.
2. Canned soups and meals are notoriously high in dietary sodium (a can of Campbell’s Soup has 1780 mg—-as much as 10 bags of Doritos!), which can lead to elevated blood pressure and diminished blood flow to certain body parts; need we name them?
3. Are you drinking fire retardant? Many flavored soda drinks in the United States are manufactured with brominated vegetable oil, one chemical in a class known as PBDEs, which are used as flame-retardants in foams and plastics. Turned on yet?
4. How about bottled water? Water isn’t the culprit here; it’s the plastic bottle. Bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA, is a chemical component found in most plastic food containers and cans that’s associated with negative impacts on fertility in both men and women.
5. Microwave popcorn! Yup, the classic date night favorite. This popular snack may satisfy our taste buds during a flick, but it can wreak havoc on our sex drive. The chemicals used in the inner lining of microwave popcorn bags, and those found in nonstick pots and pans, have been linked to a lower sex drive for men. These types of popcorn bags contain perfluoroalkyl acids, such as PFOA or PFOS, known to significantly lower sperm counts, according to a 2009 study.
So, now with all that bad news that killed the moment, this is a tasty treat at the end of the rainbow.
Foods that trigger chemicals in the brain (yes, I mean chocolate, read on!) can also get us more in the mood and help us enjoy our carnal pleasures even more so. Chocolate is a great source of theobromine and anandamine, which boost the brain’s serotonin levels, which make us feel more in love. Regularly consuming chocolate (the good, pure stuff, not a Hershey’s Bar or Milk Duds) can support brain health and even our heart health, helping us to be more open and in the mood for lovemaking. This is especially important as so many African Americans who routinely deal with high levels of stress and anxiety can make sex seem like an unrealistic indulgence. But FYI, regular sexual activity is actually one of the best things for your health! (SHHH! I might start a new workout trend) It has been shown to boost immunity and mood, as well as to help you maintain a healthy weight. So eat healthy, exercise often, and enjoy the benefits of eating your way to health relations, if you know what I mean.