The fact that food provides the fuel that our body needs in order to even have sex, that honestly should be enough of a reason to care about the kinds of food that we put into our bodies…right? But when you add to that the fact that foods also play a significant role in balancing our hormones, keeping our moods in check and boosting our libido, you can probably see why I thought it would be a good idea to share what you can eat to make your sex life better. But that's not all. If you're actually feeling more lethargic than usual, you're not in the mood to get some or your sex drive seems lower than it's been in the past, it could be because you're eating some things that work against your sex drive rather than for it.
While this list doesn't cover every food on the planet that is either "for" or "against" you having a happy and consistent sex life, if you pay attention to the following 12 foods—including why some are good for you and some aren't—it can make your next run to the grocery store the kind that can help to either make your sex life even better or to get it back on track.
6 Foods That Improve Your Sex Life
Salmon is a fish that is high in vitamins A, B, D, potassium, selenium, calcium and antioxidants—all of which are needed in order to stay healthy and strong. But what really makes it a top food for maintaining your libido is it's a fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids; they work to remove plaque build-up in your arteries which can increase the blood flow through your system, making it easier for blood to rush to your genitalia and intensify your orgasms as a direct result.
2. Citrus Fruits
If you like to snack on slices of an orange or a grapefruit that's been cut in half, that's awesome because, whenever you eat citrus fruit, it's like consuming a multi-vitamin per serving. Nutrient-wise, citrus fruits have phosphorus, magnesium, copper, potassium, folate, fiber, antioxidants and several B-vitamins in them.
However, the reason why citrus fruits make this list, specifically, is because they (especially oranges) also contain the phytonutrient hesperidin which increases blood flow through your system. Also, thanks to the fructose (fruit sugar) that citrus fruit has, it can provide a boost of energy, not to mention the fact that the Vitamin C that's in it has the ability to help to improve the sperm quality in your partner.
3. Whole Grains
I could do an entire article on how and why whole grains should be a part of our daily diet. Specifically, as it relates to sex, whole grains can help to raise testosterone levels in a man who may have a low amount of it. Whole grains can also help to promote healthy digestion which can remove toxins and keep your hormone levels balanced. Plus, if you opt for foods that are 100 percent whole grains (like bread that says it's made out of that on the package), you'll be getting a good amount of zinc; having zinc in your system is one of the best things you could have when it comes to maintaining a good and healthy libido.
4. Black-Eyed Peas
Fiber. Folate. Copper. Magnesium. Zinc. Iron. These are just some of the nutrients that black-eyed peas have in them. Well you look at them from a health perspective, it's no wonder why so many folks eat them as a symbol of good luck at the turn of every new year! Actually, it's the folate that's in them that make black-eyed peas one of the best foods that you could add to your diet, if you're looking to take your libido up a few notches. For one thing, folate can help to reduce any depression-related symptoms (if feeling low is keeping you out of the mood). Another benefit is, since folate is also able to regulate the production of histamine in your system—and histamine is a chemical that is naturally released during orgasms—you can probably see how a serving of black-eyed peas could very well help to take your climaxes to the next level!
Believe it or not, the scent of basil alone is enough to get your juices down there flowing. Aside from its fragrance being able to arouse you, basil also has antioxidants, contains anti-inflammatory properties, is able to strengthen your immune system, reduce stress levels and also help to keep your blood vessels in tip-top shape too.
As if that's not enough to keep you and your partner in great sexual shape, basil can also increase blood circulation, boost fertility levels and help your sex drive to last longer as well.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are actually considered to be a perfect food. They are high in vitamins A, C and E, magnesium, choline (which reduces body inflammation) and antimicrobial properties. Thanks to the high amount of Vitamin E that's in them, they can help to keep you in the mood while the magnesium that's in them can help to keep your stress levels at bay. Vitamin A is great at keeping your fertility health in check. Not only that, but all potatoes have potassium in them; potassium also elevates your moods and keeps your blood flowing throughout your system. The better your blood circulation is, the more intense and satisfying your orgasms will be.
6 Foods That Can Wreck Your Sex Life
1. Processed Foods
What is exactly wrong with processed foods? Let me count the ways. More times than not, they are loaded with sugar, filled with preservatives, stripped of fiber, plus they raise your sodium levels, wreck your sleep patterns, can put your moods on a real roller coaster ride and are full of empty calories and very little nutrients—none of these things sound like a boost for your libido, do they? One example of how many processed foods are the enemy of your sex drive is when whole wheat flour is turned into white, it removes 75 percent of the zinc that's in it. Zinc helps to increase arousal in both men and women and can maintain an erection in men. So, if you want to have a strong and consistent sex life, try and avoid eating a ton of food that requires you going through a drive-thru to get it or you need five minutes to try and pronounce the ingredients on the back of its label.
Soy isn't good for us. That's a full on, full stop sentence. You can click here to read a study on how soy can totally tank your partner's libido (thanks-but-no-thanks to the phytoestrogens that soy contains).
Soy also has isoflavones which also mimics estrogen in your system. Too much estrogen not only increases your breast cancer risk, it can lead to bloating, nausea, thyroid dysfunction, extreme fatigue and a sluggish sex drive. And since edamame is quite high in isoflavones, you can see why I placed it on the no-no side of this food list.
3. “Edible Skin” Produce
Strawberries. Blueberries. Cherries. Tomatoes. Zucchini. Peaches. Apples. All of these are kinds of produce that have the type of skin that you can eat. Especially when it comes to the fiber than they all contain, eating the skin can actually be good for you. The reason why they are on the bad list, though, is they oftentimes contain some pretty off-the-charts levels of estrogen-mimicking pesticides in order to keep them on the produce aisles for longer. As I've already shared, too much estrogen isn't good for you or your partner, as far as your sex drive goes. Does this mean avoid these edible skin foods altogether? Of course not. But it's wiser to look for organic produce. Better yet, pick some up from a farmer's market or grow some of these "edible skin" foods in your own backyard. That will ensure that you're getting less of those nasty pesticides into your system.
Coffee—and by coffee, I'm more specifically speaking of caffeine—is a bit of a wild card; not just when it comes to overall health benefits but what it can (and can't) do to your sex drive as well. While, on one hand, coffee can help to protect your heart, actually lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes (so long as you're not adding a ton of sugar or creamer), it can also increase the flow of blood to your genitalia while also reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction in your partner. All of that is good stuff. The challenge is, if you take in too much caffeine, it can also cause your estrogen levels to spike (which, as you already know, can actually cause your sex drive to tank). Also, if you drink some of it within 1-2 hours of having sex, coffee can make you too anxious and jittery to fully enjoy it. Basically, when it comes to java, extreme moderation (no more than 1-2 cups a day) is key. Oh, and if you do want to consume coffee in a way that will help and not hurt your libido, I happened up on a "sex coffee" recipe that contains a few extra ingredients (like cinnamon and cocoa) that can do wonders for your libido. Again, if it's consumed in moderation.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
It might seem odd that veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts are on a list of foods that aren't exactly great for your sex life; still, hear me out for a sec and it'll make perfect sense.
While cruciferous vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals, consuming too many of them in one sitting can not only make you bloated and gassy (which can be a total turn-off to your partner, for obvious reasons), they can also cause semen, vaginal fluids and even sweat to lean towards the unpleasant-tasting side.
So, if broccoli or cabbage is your absolute fave, try and eat it on the days when you're not planning on having sex. Your body—and your partner's sense of smell—will be glad that you did.
Sugar might taste great (clearly, being that sugar addiction is actually considered to be an epidemic in this country) but there are a billion reasons why too much of it really isn't good for us. Since we're focusing on sex drives, I'll just stick to that (for now). If a man consistently gets more than nine teaspoons a day and we take in more than six teaspoons a day, a consequence of that can be that could be testosterone and estrogen levels being all over the place, not to mention weight gain and a loss of muscle mass. One way to test if sugar is indeed infecting your sex life is to eat considerably less of it over the next seven days. If you notice that you've got more energy and a stronger desire to get it in—well, there you have it. More salads and less shakes might be all that you need to have a more fulfilling sex life. Enjoy, sis!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
It is Eartha Kitt who once said, “Aging has a wonderful beauty, and we should have respect for that.” I couldn’t agree more. That’s why, it really does get under my skin, that we live in a culture that is almost obsessed with staying young. Why? Don’t you want to grow, evolve…mature? That’s why I’m also not big on people who are damn near obsessed with looking 20 years younger than they are. Nah, personally, I think the goal of looking great for and at your age is where it’s at because, as my mother (who ages remarkably well) used to say, “I’ve earned every year. I don’t want to be looking like a child when I’m not.” (It’ll preach.)
This kind of wisdom is the type of hindsight that cannot be matched. Because again, while getting older shouldn’t be anything that any of us are afraid of or ashamed to do, wouldn’t it be great if we were more proactive than reactive when it comes to how we take care of ourselves — so that as we do age (and it is inevitable), we will age…gracefully…seamlessly…beautifully?
That’s why I took the time to ask 15 women in their 40s to share some things that they wish they had done in their 20s as far as physical beauty is concerned. Look at it as me doing a solid for any of you younger readers who really think that “I woke up like this” will last…forever. It won’t. And if you settle into that very real reality by taking good care of yourself now, the 40s will be where you actually end up looking better than ever.
*Middle names are used in all of my interview pieces, so that people can speak freely, no matter what the topic may be.*
“Some women aren’t gonna like this but, Black can crack. I see it often; especially when I look at a lot of these women’s necks — even celebrities. You can look like you’re 29 in the face but because you didn’t take care of your neck when you were in your 20s, it’s out here looking like it should be in a nursing home. That part of your skin ages and sags like everything else. I wish I had cared about that back in the day. I do now and yes young women, moisturize your neck every night and every morning. I personally use a combination of rosehip oil and lavender because they help to stimulate collagen production. Don’t wait until you have tree rings. Do it…now.”
“I wish I had taken better care of my breasts. Not [just] as far as my health; as far as their appearance. When you’re in your 20s, everything is perky and unicorns. Hit 35 and you start to notice that your girls like your feet more than your neck. Doing some exercises to make your pecs more prominent and applying some cocoa or shea butter every night are little things that can keep them youthful. Don’t wait. A breast lift is an option but those aren’t cheap. And if you can avoid paying what a used car costs to keep your breasts sittin’ high, why not do that now?”
“It might sound weird but I wish I had laid off of my protective styles more. It’s like we’ve forgotten that the point of them is to grow our hair out but that can’t happen if we’re never giving our hair a break from all of the tension that comes from tight-ass braids and twists. Now my edges are suffering and that can make you look older than you are. Those ‘Brandy braids’ are cute, girl, but so is having a full hairline. Don’t live in a protective style — your future self is screaming this at you.”
“I wish I drank less. I had a good time, trust me. But drinking on the weekends and then having drinks a couple of nights a week after work took its toll. My skin feels drier and it takes more work to keep it moisturized. These days, [I] eat edibles instead. It’s healthier and it has compounds in it that can slow down the aging process. Oh, to be young again.”
“I wish I had incorporated some sort of hand care. If anything takes wear and tear on a constant basis, it’s our hands and we’ll be out here having a beauty regimen for everything but those. Now my hands are starting to look older than I would like and so I’m having to work overtime to get rid of some fine lines and fragile-looking skin. What I do is get hand facials every couple of months. Look to see what spas or salons offer them. It makes a really big difference on your hands. Your arms too.”
“I’m the most comfortable sleeping on my side but it’s not the best for my face — anyone’s face, really. I used to hear that it would cause wrinkles but when those aren’t something that you have to worry about, you don’t care. I’m starting to see a few around my lips and so now I’m on my back more often. I’m thinking that if I had cared about this in college, avoiding wrinkles would not be on my list of concerns at this age.”
“Stay off of acidic drinks. Your teeth will age just like everything else and sodas and orange juice doesn’t help. Think about the people you know who look one way…until they smile. Then they look 10-15 years older. Go to the dentist regularly and schedule a professional whitening appointment. White teeth make you look younger. Just take good care of them. You’ll be glad that you did, if you do.”
Jaye. 44.“Gray hair is a blessing but my grandmother always told me that it can come in prematurely — and a part of what causes that to happen is stress and a poor diet. When you’re young, you don’t care about stuff like that. But let those first ones creep in around your hairline and suddenly, you’re looking for all kinds of hacks. My advice? That man, that job, and that relative that is already making you want to pull your hair out? Let them go. Your hair can’t take it. And all of that junk food you’re consuming? I still hit a drive-thru but these days, it’s more like a couple of times a month instead of during every lunch break.”
“Get your legs waxed. All of that razor shaving can cause discoloration or leave razor marks that can make your skin look older over time. Plus, it creates ingrown hairs and something about those can make you look older too.”
“Stop not taking sleep seriously. When you’re 25, you can go on four hours of sleep for days on end but it catches up to you. Sleep is what rejuvenates you and if you don’t get it, eventually you will look like it. I have dark circles that I’ve been trying to get rid of and a part of it is due to years of no sleep catching up to me. Whatever it is, it can wait until you’ve had at least seven hours. Don’t listen if you don’t want to. One day you will look in the mirror and wish that you did.”
“I wish I had spent more time outdoors. It’s no secret that Black people have more of a vitamin D deficiency than anyone else but trying to pile up on supplements when you’re older is a lot. When you’re at restaurants, eat on the patio. Sit on your back deck to read a book. Go for a walk in the mornings. I’m dealing with some hair loss stuff right now and it’s partly because I need more vitamin D. And thinning hair makes you look older than you should.”
“Waist trainers are bad for you. I wish those damn things would go away. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get that a snatched waist can take a few years off. Hell, I know that I took mine for granted back in my 20s. Snack on bananas and berries. Do some cardio even if that’s power walking through the mall. Stop drinking cold stuff so much. It might sound like a mama’s tale, but drinking things at room temperature reduces bloating. There are other things that you can do to get the curves that you want without smashing your organs. Lord.”
“I wish I cared more about my damn arms. Nothing makes you look older quicker than your upper arms not being in good shape. Get some five-pound free weights and set aside 15 minutes. Dry brush those bad boys; it’ll keep dimples from showing up. Keep them extra moisturized, so that those annoying little bumps won’t show up. And use sunscreen. The sun doesn’t know if you’re Black or not. It comes for us too.”
“Have a professional care for your skin. There are a billion things that you can do at home but an aesthetician is trained to figure out what works best and what doesn’t. Facials, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels from time to time have all played a role in me starting to look younger. If I had taken preventative measures, it would’ve kept some money in my pocket because I wouldn’t be going quite as much as I do now.”
“I wish I had been more choosy about my sex partners so that I could’ve had wilder sex. Listen to Auntie here. There is some stuff that good sex will do for you and aging that no cosmetic can. Sweat out those toxins. Work out that core. Take in some of that sperm. Just do it with a man you can trust and you can be totally free with instead of these knuckleheads. Yeah, better mate selection is the beauty tip that I recommend — and stop acting like it’s a rite of passage to start this at 35. Get a good man now and sit down somewhere. So that you can lay down in peace. That’s what I’ve got for you.”
Pass the plate around for Payce, y’all. As far as beauty and maturity go, she just preached — to women of ALL ages! Amen? Amen.
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