Quick: think about what you ate in the last 72 hours. A burger maybe? Some wings and beer with the guys. Maybe home cooked pasta, bread and salad (drenched in dressing?) with your girlfriend? Or some sushi takeout and some vodka because you were feeling lazy? While most men experience a heightened metabolism until they’re in their early-to-mid 30s (thank your genes, already), the old adage of “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true.
And, unfortunately, that extends to the bedroom.
We hate to break it to you, but it’s likely that very few girls want to sleep with a cheeseburger, doughnut or six-pack of beer on the regular. “What you eat has a huge impact on your sexual performance. There are certain foods that can help increase libido and sexual function, and others that markedly decrease it,” says Dr. Christopher Asandra, chief medical officer at NuMale Medical Center in Wisconsin.
To put it simply — and accurately — a healthy diet leads to a healthy sex life. Here’s how what you’re eating changes your ability to perform in the bedroom, for better or for worse.
An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to erectile dysfunction.
If you’ve ever experienced any form of erectile dysfunction (when a man has difficulty getting or maintain erection before or during sex), you’re definitely not the only dude struggling. It’s estimated that 33 million men in the United States have experienced ED, with 39 percent of 40-year-men experience long-term issues. The first way to improve this disappointing and frustrating issue? With what you eat and how you exercise. “Many men who come to me complaining of erectile dysfunction don’t know that there are lifestyle changes they can make that can have a real impact,” Dr. Asandra says. “Changes in your diet, especially when combined with exercise, can actually go a long way toward solving your problems in bed.”
If it’s bad for your heart, it’s bad for your sex life.
All of that red meat and fried food, and those snacks packed with added soybeans might be tasty — especially when you’re drinking or mindlessly binge watching Netflix at home — but those very foods could be causing you trouble once it’s lights out, clothes off, at home. “Steer clear of fatty and fried foods. Trans fats are terrible for you in just about every way, and that includes lowering your libido. Too much soy is bad for men as well, as it can increase estrogen in the body,” Dr. Asandra says.
Strawberries aren’t just sexy: they can make you harder.
The next time your girl wants to have a romantic night in, don’t just pick up champagne — opt for those strawberries, too. It turns out they aren’t just part of the cliche movie script in all of her favorite rom-coms — they can actually make you last longer. “Foods that are high in antioxidants, like fruits and nuts, will give your sex drive a boost. They increase circulation and are great for your heart and arteries,” Dr. Asandra says. “Recent studies also show that flavonoid-rich fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries and cherries, are even better. When you eat more flavonoids, your chances of experiencing erectile dysfunction drop.”
Chicken can boost your testosterone levels
Might we suggest some chicken with a side of chickpeas and leafy greens for dinner tonight? You might want to order this when you go out with your girlfriend because they all have high levels of zinc, which can influence fertility, sex drive and testosterone. “You may have heard that oysters are an aphrodisiac, and that’s because they are a fantastic source of zinc. Luckily, you can find zinc in more common foods as well,” Dr. Asandra says. “Any food with high levels of zinc, such as chicken, almonds, oatmeal or chickpeas, is great for men. Plus the nitrates that are found in leafy greens help increase circulation and blood flow.”
Foods that decrease blood pressure make it easier to maintain an erection.
If your lady always wants to order the sweet potato fries because they’re better for you than the regular ones — let her. Dr. Asandra says that any type of food that helps decrease blood pressure — like sweet potatoes — will make it easier to achieve and maintain an erection. “And as an added benefit, sweet potatoes are a source of potassium, iron and long-lasting energy,” he notes.