You’ve heard it all before. You can’t outrun a bad diet and all that stuff. Or statements telling you how you should give yourself a treat, because you don’t want to go insane. You see the articles and media about massive cheat meals, protein cookies, and If-It-Fits-Your-Macros (IIFYM) types of diets that seem to give room for poor food choices. Everywhere you turn, there is a cross between a red and green light, and you don’t know what is real or fake anymore when it comes to nutrition.
But one thing remains true, in spite of all the B.S. (bro-science) out there. Poor diets and lack of exercise form up to make a brutal tag team against your motivation and your sex drive. Let’s look at how this happens and what you should do about it.
Direct Effects of Poor Diet Choices
One of the major mood killers is a crap diet. Consider the following if your sex drive has tanked:
Effects of Fast and Fried Food
You know the saying that food does for your body what fuel does for your car? It’s true. You need proper nutrition to give you the power, strength, and endurance to push through a workout. Since sex is very much a workout for both parties, you need the same nutrition to bring your A-game to the party.
Fast food and fried food are not on the menu, nor are they considered aphrodisiacs in any part of the world. Why?
Diets high in unhealthy, artery-clogging fat and sugars will effect the vascular tissues of your heart and reproductive organs—especially in men—and that will make it hard to get in the mood or can even cause erectile dysfunction (ED).
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Yes, too much caffeine can cause problems with hormonal balance. That said, if you are drinking decaf before your workout or a nightly romp, you could be doing your performance a disservice.
Studies from the American Heart Association have looked at the physiological effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on the body and found that those who drink a cup of regular coffee experience a 30 percent increase in circulation for about 75 minutes. Decaffeinated drinkers had no such benefit.
Caffeine helps increase awareness, wakes up the mind, body, and can even reduce inflammation throughout the body. Whether you want to crush an evening workout or need some perking up for sex, choosing caffeinated coffee over the other option could help you out.
Alcohol is a master depressant, numbing sexual stimulation, battering sex hormone levels, and dampening your mood. That is why the harder you drink, the harder it is to think and feel anything at all.
Not only that, but men should be particularly wary of what’s going on when they drink more than 14 drinks a week. All that alcohol could permanently damage cells in your testicles, impacting your fertility.
Too Much Sugar
Here’s an eye-opener for the next time you want someone to give you some sugar. In 2013, Clinical Endocrinology published a study where researchers measured T-levels in men between the ages 19 and 74. The men ate 75 grams of sugar and saw an almost immediate 25-percent decrease in their testosterone levels.
So, if you’re eating sugary foods all the time, you are squashing your sex drive and energy levels. Sugar not only hampers your hormone production, it flips a switch in your brain that takes you from feeling motivated to extremely tired.
Other Effects of a Poor Diet on Your Workout and Sex Life
In order for men and women to maintain the ideal level of sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen), you need to prevent inflammation. Otherwise, inflammation will disrupt your homeostasis—or natural equilibrium—and disrupt hormone production and secretion. Certain foods are more likely to cause inflammation than others, while some ingredients will prevent inflammation or reduce the potency of it if you already suffer from it.
The foods you should avoid include corn oil, soybean oil, refined carbohydrates, pasteurized dairy products, lunch/deli meats, and trans fatty acids.
Eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties instead, like blueberries, leafy green vegetables, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, walnuts, and salmon.
Low Testosterone and Impotence
Low-T, a condition related to reduced levels of testosterone in both men and women, is often a cause for low sexual drive, decreased arousal, chronic fatigue, muscle wasting, and even poor moods. Similarly, if you are having trouble getting it up or keeping it up—otherwise known as erectile dysfunction—it could be due to a lack of nitric oxide, testosterone, poor circulation, and inflammation.
But what does a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional choices have to do with low-testosterone and impotence? The link is strong. A lack of exercise has been found to be directly connected to reduced production of testosterone, along with an elevated risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, and obesity.
In 2014, a study published in India’s J Physiol Pharmacol Journal found that during a 12-week period, men who originally had low testosterone levels could increase their hormone production by becoming more physically active.
Avoid refined vegetable oils and too-salty foods, as these contribute or worsen impotence and cause inflammation. Focus instead on selenium-rich options like wild-caught fish, like halibut, salmon, and sardines. Nosh on nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and mushrooms. Also make sure you are getting enough zinc from grass-fed animal proteins.
Lack of Exercise and Lack of Sex
What happens when you pair a bad diet with a sedentary lifestyle? You gain weight, you have low energy levels, and you exponentially raise your risk of developing life-threatening conditions.
But you also don’t want to have sex. Studies have proven that both men and women have more sexual desire when they exercise at least 30-60 minutes a day for 3-5 days a week. More intense workouts, between 75-85% of your VO2max or 1RM also benefit your libido.
Exercise also tones the muscles needed for sex, allows for more stimulation of erogenous zones, and heightens pleasure through a more developed kinesthetic sense (or awareness of sensations in the body).
And as we have seen time and again, nutrition plays a major role in having both the energy and power to push through the workout regimen I just described.
By now, you should realize that a healthy libido is tied to more than just hormone levels and age. Your lifestyle is a deciding factor in just how much desire you have. Fortunately, you can change your diet and sedentary lifestyle into something much more healthy. Start by following the tips above. Eat better. Move better. And love better.
It’s that simple.
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