From stress to sleep deprivation to alcohol consumption, and even a bad attitude, there are a number of things that harm your sperm, testosterone production, and crush your desire to get busy. Whether you suffer from erectile dysfunction or just want your sex drive to surge, you can fuel your body (and your penis) with foods that make everything run smoothly.
"That means eating foods that contain high amounts of omega-3 acids (to improve blood flow to the penis) to ones that have special enyzmes that can boost your libido to others that include powerful pleasure-boosting minerals (like zinc, magnesium, and selenium) to foods rich in the vitamins B, C, D, and E that help control stress and your nerves—all factors that impact penile health," says Dr Deepak Arora, Chandigarh-based sexual health practitioner.
High Calorie Means Lower Sexual Health
Avni Kaul, nutritionist and wellness coach, founder of Nutri Activania, says "Anything that is good for the heart is good for the penis - that is the general rule. Consuming food rich in fats and calories coupled with a sedentary lifestyle can lead to heart diseases and a smaller size penis. Lack of exercise or physical activity increases cholesterol in the arteries, thereby reducing the flow of blood to the penis.”
Antioxidants help fight free radicals in the arteries and also strengthen the arteries. Wholesome and natural foods prevent the build-up of harmful plaque deposits within your blood vessels that compromises blood flow to the penis. Poor dietary choices with meals that are calorie-laden and nutritionally-empty create clogged arteries and greatly impact sexual function.
However, upping your intake of specific foods can actually boost your sex life. Here is a round-up of top 12 foods that are not just aphrodisiacs but are great for a healthy penis.
It all started with an apple in Eden. Not only do apples boost muscle strength and size of the organ, but also keep it healthy for your old age. "Apples are abundant in the flavonoid quercetin that inhibits the secretion of the prostate-specific, androgen-regulated, tumour markers in the prostate cells, decreasing the risk of prostate cancer," says Avni Kaul, nutritionist and wellness coach, founder of Nutri Activania.
Bananas contain a special enzyme called bromelain, which specifically “delivers an anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning effect, helping to increase testosterone. They’re also well-known known for their high potassium content, which is crucial for blood circulation and therefore, sexual health," says Avni Kaul.
There was a reason why you were always asked to eat chukandar! And that is nitrates - which are vasodilators, that open up blood vessels and increase blood flow to the penis (among other parts of your body) and keep it active.
Not only do the compounds found in cruciferous veggies like broccoli help combat cancer, it also is loaded with fibre to keep you feeling full and satiated for a longer time. But that is not why this floret is good for sexual health. According to Avni Kaul, its vitamin C content boosts blood circulation and has been linked with an improved libido.
“Carrots are packed with vitamin A, which helps regulate the synthesis of the sex hormone progesterone, and also stimulates sperm production,” explains Dr Prakash Kothari. For an interesting spin, grate them with curd to make a tasty raita.
Apparently, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan would always nibble on cashews - this is what a guide at Agra once told me. Turns out, his harem was mighty pleased. "Cashews are an excellent source of zinc, a power nutrient that’s a known T-booster in men, specifically because it blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen,” explains Avni Kaul. “The zinc content in the prostate gland and sperm is higher than in any other body tissues,” says Dr Deepak Arora. What’s more, this dense snack has the lowest fat percentage out of any nut and is also an excellent source of copper.
Studies have shown that men who eat more spicy food and hot sauces, have better testosterone levels in the body. The increased levels of testosterone have been attributed to a compound in chillies called capsaicin. Hot sauces like tabasco sauce have been known to release chemicals, which increase heart rate, mirror signs of arousal and rev up your libido. All-natural spicy foods help your blood flow by reducing hypertension and inflammation.
A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, found that men who like spicy food tend to have higher-than-average levels of testosterone. Capsaicin stimulates nerve endings, and raises heart rate and is also responsible for releasing endorphins and other “feel good” hormones. This makes sense. After all, better mood, better sex.
Chicken & Eggs
Before you think you have to turn into a herbivore to be a mighty man, we would like to add at least one awesome food you can't say no to. "Chicken contains vitamin B-3 which, increases blood flow to the skin and mucous membranes, which intensifies an orgasm," says Dr Arora. The other plus is of course the awesome muscle-building capacity of chicken. "Eggs are rich in the mega vitamin B6, which drives up testosterone and sex drive in men, and is high in protein which helps stamina and performance," says Avni Kaul, adding, "Eggs also help balance hormone levels. This can decrease stress that often inhibits an erection."
Garlic & Onions
Top off your fresh veggies, or even delicious pizza recipes with garlic and onion - both contain a powerful compound called allicin, which helps thin the blood, relax the arteries, and in turn, improve the circulation necessary for an erection, according to Dr Kothari. Better circulation, means a firmer erection, and leads to greater physical endurance in the bedroom.
Avocados might be difficult to store in India, and expensive, but are filled with juicy, omega-3 fatty acids, the good-for-you kind that boost heart health. "Avocados are also rich in vitamin B6 and folic acid, which have the power to ramp up your energy, too. Additionally, vitamin B6 helps regulate prolactin, a libido enhancer,” notes renowned sexologist, Dr Prakash Kothari.
Peanuts are one of the most nutrient-dense, affordable snacks that can probably be purchased anywhere, so remember this next time you’re at a convenience store: it contains ample amounts of protein, fiber, and healthy monounsaturated fats to satisfy your hunger and fuel your body—plus, they’re completely cholesterol-free. But what you may not know, is that peanuts contain the amino acid I-arginine, which, according to Dr Prakash Kothari, helps relax and widen blood vessels, thus increasing blood flow throughout the body—and once arginine is consumed, the body converts it into nitric oxide—which is a compound found in Viagra.
If you’re not fond of cracking the shell, smear it in the form of butter to get in an adequate dose. The essential ingredient, in this case, l-arginine, is still carried over to the spread during the manufacturing process, so this too will improve blood circulation and provide a stronger erection.
Saffron or kesar is a spice that is just what the (Ayurvedic) doctor ordered for spicing things up. It has long since been prized as a spice that enhances libido. Saffron is an age-old natural remedy for sexual problems. The herb also deserves its place on the bedside table because of its antioxidant, mineral and vitamin components that help to make the brain more aware as well as boost the immune system and mood that causes the decrease of mental disorders as well, according to this study published in Natural Medical Journal.
Pirocrocin, a chemical found in the spice, saffron, makes the body more sensitive to the touch—especially the organs. According to Varanasi-based Ayurvedacharya, Hari Das Sharma, "Take a pinch of saffron and mix into a glass of warm milk. Consume this sexual stimulant at bedtime."
(Aarti K Singh is an independent writer with close to two decades' experience in various media. Having worked in radio, TV and print media, she is now indulging in her passion to rediscover the world, besides juggling a PhD and raising her son.)
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