1. Research shows there is a direct link between your gut microbiome and your sex drive.
2. Changing your diet and cutting sugar can balance hormones, boost serotonin, and enhance libido.
3. Daily mindful meditation may reduce stress and improve mental, emotional, and sexual health.
This article addresses the importance and interdependent relationship between what you eat and hormonal balance. The main reproductive hormones, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, are responsible for pregnancy, puberty, menstruation, menopause, sex drive, sperm production, and more. These hormones and a myriad of others, including serotonin and dopamine, play a role in maintaining a healthy sex drive. When your hormones are balanced and at proper levels, your sex drive is stable, and your sex life is satisfying.
Can what you eat affect your hormonal balance and sexual health? Yes! Research shows a symbiotic relationship between nourishing your gut and enhancing your libido. While many factors go into promoting good sexual health, your diet is an essential piece of that puzzle.
Hormone deficiency, for example, low testosterone and serotonin, has also been associated with a weakened libido along with weight gain, fatigue, and lack of stamina, among other symptoms. Making small changes in your diet, like reducing sugar intake, can have a significant impact on your hormones and could be the key to boosting your sex drive.
We all know that meditation is good for our health, but can sex be just as beneficial? Both sex AND meditation encourage the mind to empty overwhelming thoughts, keep your focus on the present, and minimize stress.
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Research supports that an imbalance of gut microbiome is associated with a myriad of symptoms related to hormones, neurotransmitters and immune health. In fact, the gut-sex connection is an intwined relationship whereby researchers suggest that an unhealthy balance of gut microbes may serve as a leading cause of sexual dysfunction such as low libido and erectile dysfunction. Additionally, these imbalances play a vital role far into menopause or andropause, what is known as menopause for men. (1)
Studies suggest that there is an important factor that is often overlooked—the gut’s microbiome, which plays an important role in sexual health. Consuming diverse organic foods that contain beneficial nutrients, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and phytochemicals is crucial for keeping your gut microbiome and sexual system healthy. (2)(3)
Generally, a healthy diet will consist of 80 – 90% organic, whole, plant-based foods. Studies conducted in 2010 found that whole (unprocessed) diets, higher in plant foods, fiber, and healthy forms of protein and fats, are associated with better mental health, digestion, and, consequently, better sexual health. (4)(5)(6)(7)(8)
Healthy fats, such as avocados, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds, contain thousands of antioxidants that promote overall health. They also assist in balancing blood sugar, promote insulin sensitivity, and improve conditions such as adrenal fatigue; this is especially important for women struggling with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of male sex hormones known as androgens, leading to a decrease in sexual desire. (9)(10)(11)(12)(13)
During times of high stress, it is even more imperative to maintain an organic, nutrient-rich, balanced diet. Stress often erodes healthy eating patterns, which, in turn, lowers our sex drive. In fact, during stressful times, our body has an even greater demand for some key nutrients, including Vitamin C, antioxidants, and many B vitamins. Oysters are high in B12 and vitamin C, and (organic) dark chocolate-covered strawberries would be a great way to give yourself some extra antioxidants and vitamin C. Hmm, maybe there’s a reason these foods are considered aphrodisiacs! (14)(15)(16)
Science teaches us that sexual desires are controlled by what is known as the libido — a fancy word for sex drive. Several factors determine libido, including sociological, psychological, and hormonal influences. One of the primary hormones responsible for much of the human libido is testosterone. Research confirms that low testosterone levels usually mean a lower sex drive. (17)
One culprit for low testosterone is excessive amounts of sugar. Excess blood sugar levels can also cause damage to small blood vessels as well as the nerves that control sexual stimulation and response, resulting in what we know as erectile dysfunction. Let’s not forget testosterone doesn’t just affect men. Imbalanced levels of testosterone in women can reduce desire, increase body fat, lower muscle mass, and increase inflammatory markers that interfere with hormone communication. In turn, high sugar levels can then affect the ability of a woman to experience sexual stimulation and arousal and can impede the release of vaginal lubricant. (18)(19)(20)
Another master hormone, serotonin, is also involved in maintaining good sexual health. Serotonin is referred to as the body’s “happy” hormone. While research shows that 95% of serotonin is created in the gastrointestinal tract, it is also found in the genitals. It’s suggested that when your serotonin levels dip, your physical response to sexual desires also drops! (21)
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and improve the production of sex hormones like serotonin. Additionally, exercise promotes better circulation, opens arteries, and increases blood flow to men’s and women’s sexual organs. A Harvard study showed that even moderate levels of exercise significantly improved erectile dysfunction in men. The studies suggest many circulatory conditions that impede sexual function can be reversed by just moving your body a little bit more. (22)(23)
The part of your conscious brain that shuts off right before an orgasm is the same part that shuts off when you’re meditating, concentrating intensely, or otherwise being mindful. So, when you focus on what’s happening in the present, you may very well be putting yourself in an orgasmic state of mind. Studies also show mindful meditation can be an effective intervention for sexual dysfunction due to genital pain, low desire, or inability to reach orgasm. (24)(25)(26)
Breathing, especially during meditation, can alter the state of our emotions via psychophysiological changes in the brain-body interaction. Breathing patterns begin shifting one’s emotional state and thus break the hold that stress or negative emotions can have on us. This shift activates the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “rest and digest” system, where our body is in a state of peace and healing. While people seek out sex for many reasons, it seems we might all agree that feeling relaxed and stress-free would make most of us more excited about sex! Libido and desire will generally be more elevated in relaxed, happy, and confident people. (27)(28)
Sexual health can be one of the many benefits that motivate us to eat organic, nutrient-rich foods and maintain a balanced lifestyle. Remember, it is healthy and essential to indulge guilt-free now and again! However, balance is key to maintaining balanced hormones. With that in mind, aim to resist the urge to turn to processed or high-sugar foods, as these only disrupt your good, hard-working gut microbes, which ultimately affect your sex drive.
The next time you want to skip your veggies, grab fast food, or eat that leftover Halloween candy, think of all the pleasurable orgasms you might also be passing up! And one last thing… keep it light with laughter. What could be healthier than lightheartedly chuckling during those vulnerable moments? Sexual health IS sexual wealth!
To Your Good Health!
M. Moriah Mor, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, owns GreenSilk.com. The company is committed to helping individuals live a healthier lifestyle through education, nutrition, the research of life science, and the development of Professional High-Grade Premium health products.
Recognized for her outstanding dedication and contributions to the health and wellness industry for more than 18 years, Moriah is a graduate of the Energetic Health Institute and the University of Southern California. Her interest is focused on researching the latest scientific breakthroughs in the holistic health field. She is currently working toward her Doctorate in Natural Medicine.
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