Real talk: Have you ever found yourself in a sexual rut? You’re madly in love with your main squeeze and things are going well but, as much as you hate to admit it, the last thing on your mind is getting it on. It seems like your libido has disintegrated overnight, and you’re starting to wonder if maybe your relationship has simply lost its luster—or if there’s something wrong with you.
Listen, we’ve all been there. Dry spells can happen to the best of us, for a myriad of reasons both emotional and physical. But if there’s something I’ve learned from studying holistic nutrition, it’s that what we eat plays a huge role in our mood, self-esteem and performance—all of which can contribute to our sex drive (or lack thereof). So if you’re feeling less than motivated in the bedroom, here are four big ways that a nourishing diet can help you get your groove back.
How a healthy diet can provide sustained energy
Hippocrates was on to something when he said, “Let food be thy medicine.” he wise doctor’s ancient piece of wisdom stands true today: the foundation of good health is good food. Sadly, in today’s modern age, most of us are accustomed to a diet chock full of refined grains and hydrogenated oils. The consequence? Chronic inflammation, which can show up as mild-to-severe cases of fatigue, brain fog and anxiety that make it difficult to function. And let’s face it, when your energy is lagging, even the most enjoyable activities become a chore. (Sex, I’m looking at you.) But there’s good news! By swapping simple carbs like pastries, pasta and white bread with vitamin-rich vegetables, high quality fats and responsibly-sourced protein, your body can begin to heal itself from the inside out. In time, your blood sugar will stabilize, your sleep will drastically improve and you’ll experience sustained energy from morning to night. (No midday latte necessary.) Now if that doesn’t turn you on, I don’t know what will.
Balance your hormones with nourishing foods
If you’ve ever dealt with unexplained irritability, irregular periods, cramps, acne or—you guessed it—low libido, your hormones are most likely the culprit. While these pesky symptoms might affect 75% of women at some point during their monthly cycle, they’re not what doctors would consider normal. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, a renowned functional medicine expert, PMS is a sign of an underlying hormonal imbalance that is best treated with proper nutrition. So what does that look like, exactly? Well, for starters, high-sugar processed foods have been proven to cause inflammation in the body, upsetting the delicate balance of progesterone, estrogen and testosterone in the process. Without an optimal ratio, the first thing to go is reproductive health—along with your sexual vitality. So ditch the donuts for now (RIP Krispy Kreme) and fill your plate with seasonal whole foods instead. Your hormones will thank you.
Better nutrition enhances your mood
Ever wonder if aphrodisiacs really work? Turns out, there’s a reason why some foods are said to enhance your libido, and we promise it’s not as woo-woo as it sounds. What you eat can have a significant impact on your brain chemistry and therefore your mental state. Take oysters, dark chocolate and almonds, for example. Not only are these foods all rich in nutrients that help support healthy hormone balance, but they also release feel-good chemicals in the brain, like serotonin and dopamine to aid in overall happiness. That’s right. Healthy foods = happy people. And happy people just don’t shoot their partners. (They do them.)
How eating well can boost your self-esteem
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, eating well can make the biggest difference in your self-esteem. Think about it: when your physical health is at its peak, you feel like you can take on the world. Your confidence skyrockets, and this renewed sense of self-worth inevitably overflows into every area of your life—including the romance department. After all, it’s when you’re at peace with yourself that you crave closeness with others. And if we’re talking about physical intimacy, where better to begin than by improving your relationship with your own body? As you prioritize your health, you’ll start to feel more and more comfortable in your skin; you’ll learn to see your body not as imperfect or flawed, but as a beautiful symphony of moving, working parts that are there to serve you—in and out of the boudoir. So go ahead and buy the sexy lingerie- you deserve it.
While it may seem like your diet and your relationship have almost nothing to do with one another, I’d argue that what you eat has a direct impact on how you love. By simply choosing the foods that work for your body—and skipping the foods that don’t—you can rejuvenate your sense of desire and adventure, and overcome the sexual rut once and for all.
Emily Blasik is a freelance writer and Nutritional Therapy Consultant in training from Dallas, TX. When she’s not blogging or practicing yoga, you can find her hanging out at a local coffee shop, nose-deep in a good mystery novel, snapping photos of her extra frothy cappuccino or planning her next travel adventure.