Libido is defined as a person’s overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity. Low libido in women and low libido in men have some similar roots, along with some gender-specific ones as well.
Common causes of a loss of sexual desire or low libido in women include issues in your relationship with your sexual partner, sociocultural influences (job stress, media images of sexuality, etc.) and medical conditions (like fibroids, endometriosis, Diabetes and thyroid problems).
When it comes to how to increase your libido, there are two key biological chemicals that may affect your level of sexual desire whether you’re a man or woman. I’m talking about dopamine and prolactin. It’s theorized that dopamine increases desire while prolactin decreases it. If you take any medications, it’s important to know that some can increase prolactin release or inhibit dopamine release. Either of these two scenarios can decrease sexual desire and also cause other sexual side effects.
In men, low prolactin has been linked with multiple signs of poor sexual health and psychological health. Low prolactin levels are also associated with a larger body mass index (BMI), high blood sugar levels, lower levels of physical activity and just generally feeling unhealthier.
Relationship issues, depression, prescription medications, alcoholism, drug abuse and/or chronic diseases like diabetes can all be at the root of low sex drive for both sexes. A BMI that’s too high can also cause problems for both men and women when it comes to libido. Obese men tend to struggle with erectile difficulty, but studies have shown that losing only a small percent of weight can improve both male and female sexual function. A study conducted at Duke University reports that obese people are 25 times more likely to report sexual problems.
Foods That Help
Natural Aphrodisiacs — Figs, bananas and avocados are natural aphrodisiacs loaded with vitamins and minerals that can encourage more blood flow to the genitals and naturally increase sex drive.
Vitamin C foods — Vitamin C improves blood circulation to the organs so it’s important to make sure you consume foods rich in vitamin C on a daily basis. Vitamin C has also specifically been linked with a healthier female libido. Some great choices include broccoli, oranges, red peppers and guava.
Iron-rich foods — For women in particular, low iron levels can have a negative effect on sexual desire, arousal, lubrication and ability to have an orgasm. Great sources of iron include dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, along with grass-fed beef.
Collagen-rich foods — Collagen production naturally declines with age. This has a direct negative effect on skin health and makes it harder to keep skin firm. This phenomenon can make it harder for men to maintain an erection, and it can lead to a looser vaginal wall in women. To increase your collagen levels, you can consume more bone broths and opt for a collagen supplement powder. Vitamin C also helps to increase collagen production.
Sweet potatoes — Sweet potatoes or yams are loaded with potassium and vitamin A. The potassium can help with high blood pressure, which makes a man more likely to have erectile dysfunction.
Watermelon — In 2008, research conducted at Texas A&M demonstrated that watermelon may have a Viagra effect. The phytonutrients known as lycopene, beta-carotene and citrulline found in watermelon help relax blood vessels. While watermelon might not be as organ-specific as Viagra, it can be helpful in the bedroom without any negative side effects when you naturally want to improve libido.
Spices like nutmeg and clove — Spices are loaded with antioxidants, which is great for overall health, including libido. Research published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine specifically found that extracts of nutmeg and clove enhanced the sexual behavior of male animal subjects. Clove is also great at improving bad breath.
Dark chocolate — Research has shown that chocolate consumption leads to the release of phenylethylamine and serotonin, leading to some aphrodisiac and mood-lifting effects. (16) Just make sure you choose a low-sugar, high-quality dark chocolate.
Brazil nuts — These nuts are high in selenium, which plays a role in maintaining healthy testosterone levels.
Almonds — Rich in zinc, selenium and vitamin E, almonds contain vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that can improve sexual health and reproduction.
Water — Making sure you’re not dehydrated is helpful when it comes to your libido since dehydration can cause a number of negative side effects that can easily dull sexual desire. If you want to avoid possible fatigue, headaches and vaginal dryness then drink up.