A plant-rich diet is best for your sexual and reproductive wellbeing.
The Mediterranean Diet is often hailed as an excellent choice for those who want to ensure lifelong vitality, fertility and reproductive stamina. This diet is noteworthy for what’s it in – whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, fatty fish and limited dairy, eggs and red meat – as it is for what’s not in it: processed foods. Others tout the value of vegan (“Vegan” is the new “Viagra” is a popular meme) and vegetarianism as best for us and our nether bits.
Whatever foods make it to your shopping list and table, there are some key ingredients that serve all foodies and lovers of aphrodisiacs alike. I call these the 4 Fs of eating for optimal sexual health.
First of all, it makes sense that the more fresh foods we eat, the better our overall health and vitality will be. The SLOW food movement emphasizes eating sustainably and locally grown. Organic and whole serve our bodies, minds and souls best. Sexual vigor depends on having strong and well-functioning organs to pump the blood and produce the hormones that regulate our sexual activities. Ovulation and sperm production are enhanced by nutrition-rich diets. Phytochemicals, enzymes and antioxidants are also essential.
Sometimes it gets overwhelming to choose wisely when there’s so much advice about nutrition out there. That’s why the 4 Fs comes in handy. If eating for sexual health ranks high on your shopping list, and you want to stock a sex-friendly pantry, consider eating more:
Fiber: We need this to clean out the debris in our bodies. Fiber is essential for our digestion, and fiber from whole-grains also helps with insulin function. Think of things like millet, quinoa (which is a yummy alternative to use in Tabouli salad), buckwheat and amaranth, sweet potatoes and whole grain breads as the go-to choices for healthy sexy menus.
Fruits and Veggies: Suggesting people eat more fruits and vegetables seems like a no-brainer. In addition to getting your 5-9 servings a day, make it a habit to have 3-5 different colors on your plate at each meal. This will make it more likely that you get a wider variety of nutrients from your plant-based diet. A healthy and sexy body depends on an abundance of vitamins and minerals that feed the brain and the heart.
Fats: Healthy fats are a necessity for sexual wellbeing. First of all, the brain needs these to function. Essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6 are absolutely necessary for hormone production. The key to eating fats is to make sure they are the right kind – in this case, healthy options include olive oil, fatty fish like salmon and tuna (though one must also consider where our fish comes from and avoid mercury contaminated fish) avocado, nuts and seeds. Middle East cuisine contains an ample supply of these types of fats compared to the typical Western diet that includes more animal fats. Not surprisingly, lower rates of erectile dysfunction are found in societies that eat the right kinds of fats (and excercise, etc.)
Flavor: This is the most esoteric suggestion of the four. Foods that are delicious and well seasoned please the palate and much as our parts. Experimenting with herbs and spices enhances the cooking and eating experience for the chef and the guest. In some cases, there is evidence that certain herbs and spices have aphrodisiac or healthy benefits. The role of flavor is even deeper than infusing the food with vitaliciousness. What we eat and how we eat in a fast paced world can benefit from savoring the flavors, allowing our tongues to caress the textures in our mouths, letting the joy of consumption take over for a bit.
The 4 Fs are just one pillar of vital eating. How we eat and where our food comes is intimately connected to taking better care of the planet and one another. After all, sexual wellbeing thrives when our bodies are nourished the right way, and when our minds and hearts are receptive and invigorated by meaningful connections to one another.
Image of portrait of a young woman eating lettuce, Shutterstock
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