Aphrodisiac Foods to Get You in the Mood
APHRODISIAC FOODS TO GET YOU IN THE MOOD
With Valentine’s Day on the mind, dinner plans might include oysters, dark chocolate and red wine to set the mood. Many foods have been buzzed about as aphrodisiacs and the history of some of these foods used for fertility actually goes back to ancient times. A healthy sex drive, balanced sexual hormones and optimal fertility are all indicators of overall health that extends way beyond the bedroom. If you’ve wondered if there is any truth to these aphrodisiac foods or are curious what to eat to support optimal hormone balance and libido, read on!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SEX
- Enhances Secretory IgA, a marker of immune function and mucosal lining of the gut preventing leaky gut
- Lowers blood pressure and increases vasodilation as form of exercise
- Promotes pain relief
- Aids in deeper quality sleep
- Stress release
- Oxytocin is released with orgasm, aids in mood stability and reduces anxiety and depression
WHAT IS AN APHRODISIAC?
An aphrodisiac is a substance such as a food, beverage or scent that entices romance or love. The word aphrodisiac is derived from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. The use of aphrodisiacs is documented back to the first century AD, when undernutrition was a major concern and supporting fertility was a main goal for the viability of the population! Foods can be classified as aphrodisiacs based on their shape or form, myth or tradition and based on actual nutritional science.
HOW ARE APHRODISIAC FOODS CLASSIFIED?
Shape: this is based an archaic principle called “the Doctrine of signatures” meaning like creates like
- Avocado can be thought of as testicles as they grow in pairs of two
- Pomegranate and figs thought to look like ovaries, symbol of fertility
- Asparagus, cucumbers, bananas as a phallic shape
Myth: this is based on folklore and tradition
- Honey (or mead) was given as a gift to newlyweds to keep their marriage sweet–this is where the phrase honeymoon comes from!
- Dates have been considered a symbol of feminine from time of Cleopatra
- Strawberries are a symbol for Venus the Roman goddess of love
Science: nutritional properties that can support the beliefs of certain aphrodisiacs as they contain compounds that can enhance performance and balance sexual function. Nutrients can balance by hormones by aiding in building, converting, and excreting excess, while they can also have functional impact such as vasodilation, or maintenance of healthy supple skin. Nutritionally-based aphrodisiacs may have compounds that promote testosterone secretion, increase blood flow, or release “feel good” neurotransmitters in our brains.
- Pumpkin seeds for hormone balance, rich source of zinc for promoting ample testosterone
- Cayenne and spicy foods can aid in blood flow and vasodilation
- Chocolate provides an increase of “feel good” neurotransmitters and promotes relaxation and “bliss factor”
- Healthy fats like coconut oil, grassfed butter and olive oil can aid in maintenance of healthy, supple skin as well as mucosal tissue
More of an on the go learner? Listen to Episode 71 of the Naturally Nourished Podcast to get all this info in an auditory format!
THE ROLE OF HORMONAL IMBALANCE
Hormonal imbalance can be a key driver behind low libido and suboptimal sexual performance. Hormonal imbalance can be seen as:
This can be seen as too much E1 (secondary) and E2 (primary) and estrogen in relation to E3, (protective estrogen) OR excessive estrogen in relation to progesterone. This can
play a role in immune dysfunction, belly fat and increased cortisol or stress activity in the body.
For more on hormones and to learn all about estrogen dominance check out Episode 44 of the Naturally Nourished Podcast on Women’s Hormones.
This can be seen either in relation to estrogen as noted above OR with excessive stress response. With low progesterone we can see increased anxiety and stress response, loss of or irregular appetite, fluid retention and insomnia. Progesterone also plays a major role in female libido.
This plays a role in low sex drive in both women and men. Other symptoms can be seen as lack of energy, muscle loss, excessive belly fat in men. As cortisol goes up in stress response, testosterone expression goes down. Many men also aromatize excess testosterone into estrogen so it is important to monitor estrogen levels if taking supplemental testosterone. When weight loss of greater than 10% occurs, estrogen is released from fat tissue and needs to be safely excreted. Consider a 10 Day Detox for every 10% body weight lost or our Ultimate Detox supplement as ongoing support to reduce estrogen excess.
NUTRIENTS THAT PROMOTE HORMONAL BALANCE
Plays a role in estrogen metabolism and balance. Helps with utilization of Vitamin D for bone health and prevents calcification with Vitamin D supplementation. Inhibits estrogen activity by binding estrogen receptors and can lower relationship of primary estrogen E2 to E1, E3 and progesterone or estrogen dominance as mentioned above. Consider Vitamin D Balanced Blend which contains 5000 IU Vitamin D as well as K1 and K2.
Food sources: leafy greens, probiotics
Plays a role in balancing estrogen and testosterone. Decreases estrogen dominance, helps with testosterone production for both men and women supporting healthy libido.
Food sources: Pumpkin seeds, oysters, grassfed red meat
This is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, Aids in muscule relaxation and neuromuscular function. Aids in blood flow, makes testosterone more biologically active and raises both free and total T in men. Aids in depth of sleep which can boost performance and stress. Look for magnesium bis-glycinate like in our Relax & Regulate which also contains Inositol to aid in hormonal balance.
Food sources: leafy greens, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds
Many other nutrients play a role in hormonal balance, here are some of the highlights:
STRESS IS THE #1 KILLER OF LIBIDO!
High stress can lead to 4x the output of :
When our main stress responding hormone, cortisol is in excess this can interfere with testosterone expression in the body. It can also drive muscle wasting and with muscle as secondary tissue of testosterone production, this depletes on both a structural and sexual hormone level. What’s more is the production of building cortisol takes from building blocks for our steroidal hormone pathways, known as cortisol steal or pregnenalone steal, meaning there is less raw material to make our hormones!
A constant release of stress hormones can result in weakened immune response, over-stressed mind as well as harmful inflammation and depletes our “wind down” neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA. Having sex can actually help with release of feel good neurotransmitters, so intentional and purposeful practice with your partnet can be a great focus of stress release!
If dealing with heightened stress response and low libido, consider Adaptogen Boost which contains Panax ginseng, cordyceps and rhodioloa to aid in stress response and resilience as well as vasodilation or blood flow.
Consider an individual consultation with a practitioner at Naturally Nourished to perform a Neurohormone Panel to assess levels of cortisol, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, hormones and more! This allows us to address deficiency or imbalance from the root cause, working to replete nutrients to bring levels back into balance!
YOUR APHRODISIAC MENU
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc and essential fats to promote healthy testosterone levels and balanced estrogen in the body. When adding an acid to a mineral rich food, such as lemon juice with vitamin C and other limonene antioxidants, it increases the absorption of minerals available in the dish. Basil serves as an aphrodisiac rich in vitamin A, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C with libido lifting history dating back to ancient Greece. Burrata’s cream filling just screams sex. The contrast of salty, crunchy, with creamy rich, and raw cool tomatoes is dreamy!
Researchers have identified over 45 different flavonoids in kale; kaempferol and quercetin top the list. These flavonoids combine antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits in a way that gives kale a leading dietary role. Kale can provide great benefit in combating chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. In addition, kale is now recognized for its comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. Raw kale is full of vitamin K, A, C, manganese, fiber, copper, tryptophan, and calcium amongst many other nutrients. Massaging your kale aids in the activation and absorption of the nutrients available while reducing the bitterness and aiding in mechanical break-down. Avocado was referred to as testicle by the Aztecs as they grew in bunches of two on trees. Rich in vitamin A and vitamin E, avocado promotes healthy skin and minerals support testosterone production for healthy sex drive. Pomegranate has been compared to ovaries in structural comparison and honey aids in the balance of estrogen dominance.
Roasted Asparagus with Ghee and Lemon (Naturally Nourished Cookbook)
Grass Fed Butter Though saturated fat has been demonized for over half a century, the public is now beginning to recognize the facts on butter and saturated fat. Unlike regular conventional butter, grass fed butter actually has components in it that can aid in weight loss. Conjugated Linoleic Acid is only able to be formed in the cow’s stomach after the ingestion of grass. A conventional cow that is fed grains will not complete this process. Conjugated Linoleic Acid has been shown to provide many health supporting benefits including an improvement in body composition! Has been shown to improve body composition and specifically reduce belly fat, insulin resistance, and inflammation in the body. Plus, cholesterol is a main component of our sex hormone production! This is why a prescription for a statin is often followed by another prescription for Viagra!
Pan Seared Steak with Wine Poached Cherries (Naturally Nourished Cookbook)
Red meat is a rich source of testosterone-boosting zinc and the wine poached cherry glaze on this steak is to die for! This entree only LOOKS fancy, we promise! It comes together in a snap and is guaranteed to impress your date!
This beverage tonifies the immune system, nervous system and adrenal glands, which in turn can balance hormones. Rich in vitamin D, omega-3s, and adaptogenic herbs, this beverage is indulgent and balancing for your body. A playful take on eggnog this drink will warm your soul with nostalgia while soothing your system from inside out!
Use this mousse as a dip for fresh fruit to still get the benefits of the healthy fats and nutrients of the avocado with less of the calories! Half of the fun is in the delivery or experience of eating, so this recipe allows us to use our hands and can be a playful activity for you and your partner! Cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world. Dates are a good source of fiber, minerals, and electrolytes.
These are a fun and keto friendly delivery of magnesium rich chocolate as well as maca which increases progesterone production and boosts libido!
Get more recipe inspiration along with cutting edge food-as-medicine information in the Naturally Nourished Cookbook!
Listen to our podcast on Aphrodisiac Foods to hear us go in depth on this topic!