Can food improve your sex life?

How eating better can improve erections, sperm quality and staying power.
Food can improve your sex life? Sounds unlikely.

A lot of rubbish is written on this topic but some basic food ingredients may help improve your sexual energy, testosterone levels, fertility and staying power.

It’s all about getting the right amounts of the vitamins and minerals which play a key role in reproduction and libido. Lack of zinc, for example, lowers testosterone levels. As you lose between 1mg and 3mg zinc per ejaculation, eating some zinc-rich foods is a must.

Casanova ate oysters to boost his libido. As well as a rich source of zinc, oysters contain rare amino acids (protein-building blocks) that increase your level of sex hormones. 

This table shows which vitamins and minerals are important for your sex drive and where to find them. Get your 5-a-day fruit and veg, regular weekly portions of seafood and a daily handful of unsalted nuts and you won’t go far wrong.

Healthy testosterone levels and sex drive:

  • Vitamin A [Animal and fish livers, kidneys, eggs, milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, oily fish, meat, margarine, dark green leafy vegetables and yellow-orange fruits]
  • Magnesium [Soya beans, nuts, yeast, wholegrains, brown rice, seafood, meat, eggs, dairy products, bananas, green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, cocoa]
  • Zinc [Red meat (especially offal), seafood (especially oysters), yeast, wholegrains, pulses, eggs, cheese]

Healthy Sperm:

  • Vitamin C [All fruit and veg, especially citrus, blackcurrants, guavas, Kiwi fruit, peppers, strawberries, green sprouting vegetables]
  • Vitamin E [Oily fish, fortified margarine and dairy products, liver, eggs]
  • Selenium [Brazil nuts (the richest source), other tree nuts, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, radishes, onions, garlic, celery, wholegrains, yeast, seafood, offal]

Stamina and staying power:

  • B vitamins [Yeast extracts, brown rice, wholegrain bread and cereals, seafood, poultry and meat (especially offal), pulses, nuts, eggs, dairy products, green leafy vegetables]
  • Iron [Red meat (especially offal), seafood, wheatgerm, wholemeal bread, egg yolk, green vegetables, prunes and other dried fruit]
  • Iodine [Seafood, seaweed, iodised salt]

Arousal and orgasm:

  • Calcium [Milk, yoghurt, cheese, green vegetables, oranges, bread]
  • Phosphorus [Dairy products, yeast, soya beans, nuts, wholegrains, eggs, poultry, meat and fish.]
Can what you eat put you off sex?

Food – or lack of it - can also affect how you or your partner responds to amorous advances. 

Research suggests that hunger related to low blood sugar levels is a major cause of domestic arguments, regardless of the overall quality of your relationship.

Low blood sugar triggers anger and aggression because glucose is the major fuel for brain cells, and the energy needed to control aggressive impulses is less available when blood glucose is low. 

The best thing to avoid being a ‘hangry’ partner is to avoid skipping meals.

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This content is wholly based on the Men's Health Forum's man manual Eat. Drink. Don't Diet. which was prepared in line with the NHS England Information Standard of which the MHF is a member. Follow the links for more information or to buy copies.


Date published 18/06/15
Date of last review 28/02/15
Date of next review 28/02/18

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