People have been talking about aphrodisiac foods and their ability to increase libido in both men and women for hundreds of years.
But few have looked into the scientific reasons why natural aphrodisiacs are an essential complement to thriving and passionate long-term relationships, nor have they explained why the order in which you eat specific types of food and drink is a key factor in determining whether or not you receive benefits from them.
To get started, let’s make sure you understand the basics.
An aphrodisiac is an agent that intensifies sexual desire and increases behaviors that make sex accessible and enjoyable. Essentially, these agents boost your libido, helping you get into the right frame of mind to feel and act sexy.
Your libido, aka sex drive, is defined as “a person’s overall sex drive or desire for sexual activity.”
To fully understand the effects of aphrodisiacs, it is important to first have a basic understanding of the chemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters at play when you fall in love, as these are the same agents you hope to put at play when you eat or drink. an aphrodisiac.
The initial rush you feel at the start of a relationship stimulates a feeling of euphoria in the brain, in some ways similar to feeling “high” on cocaine.
It is what creates and strengthens the initial foundation of loving memory relationships. These “love drugs” strengthen your five senses, help you focus on your love, give you more energy and stamina, imprint memories on your mind and make you feel good.
Truth be told, though, your body isn’t supposed to continuously release these chemicals over the long term.
The increased levels of adrenaline, endorphins, PEA and norepinephrine would challenge your body and brain over time. Plus, it’s hard to function properly in other settings when love completely takes over your mind.
Once you settle into a relationship after a few months or years, your chemistry is designed to shift from that initial high to producing more of your bonding chemicals and hormones instead. This shift is marked by an increase in serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin, and a decrease in testosterone, all of which are meant to keep you and your love together for the long haul.
Research shows that couples who regularly do new things together have better and more satisfying relationships.
These new and exciting experiences re-stimulate the production of that chemical cocktail you sipped during the early stages of falling in love, once again enhancing special moments and strengthening your intimate bond.
This extra boost becomes more critical over time, and it won’t happen automatically. These rekindled moments of excitement must be deliberately cultivated.
To reap the full benefits of aphrodisiac foods, you must first engage your brain.
By using all five senses and drawing attention to your emotional state with background music and an alluring atmosphere, you will begin to produce endorphins, which, in turn, will further stimulate dopamine production.
These two neurochemicals work in tandem, ensuring that the experience elicits a powerful and steady flow of pleasurable sensations.
Noradrenaline is then added to the mix, boosting memory, enhancing learning and sharpening your ability to stay focused. It also has positive effects on your arousal, reward system, mood, and blood pressure. An increase in norepinephrine can also help you put worries and distractions aside temporarily so you can have a more satisfying sexual experience with your partner.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are synthesized in the body by the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine.
Protein-rich foods like red meat, poultry, seafood, and hard cheeses increase your tyrosine levels, helping to metabolize norepinephrine.
Phenylalanine is not made internally by humans, so it must be present in our diet. Good sources include dairy products, avocados, nuts, seeds, legumes, leafy vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, some seafood, and some diet drinks.
The only neurotransmitter you need to decrease to get the full effect from aphrodisiacs is serotonin, because lower levels of serotonin allow you to focus on your love.
The main objective of a meal designed with aphrodisiac foods is to keep your serotonin levels very low.
That means keeping tryptophan — the amino acid famed for its involvement in helping Thanksgiving turkey put people to sleep — out of the limelight. If tryptophan hits your system before tyrosine, your mood and internal chemistry will be relaxed and calm, rather than excited and bursting with energy.
This means putting down the bread before you eat your protein.
Here are 3 categories of aphrodisiacs for men and women who want to increase their libido quickly:
1. Those who appeal to the five senses
The first category contains those aphrodisiac agents that evoke the full engagement of your senses, enveloping you and your love before the first taste sensations enter your mouth.
This is how you prepare and initially engage with your love on your date – the music you listen to while getting dressed, the thoughts of what your partner would like you to wear when choosing an outfit , the way you design the environment to evoke romantic feelings with fresh flowers, candles and a playlist of your favorite songs.
These things fire up your endorphins to set the stage for a night of fun.
As Dr. Ruth Westheimer says, “When it comes to sex, the most important six inches are those between the ears.”
So, the first step towards a night of passion starts with mentally preparing yourself to receive all the benefits of aphrodisiac foods by creating a romantic mood.
2. Substances, foods and drinks that give you an instant impact
The second category is what most people consider aphrodisiacs – substances that immediately increase arousal once they hit your system.
These include alcohol, capsicum (spicy foods), foods and spices with certain smells that an individual finds exciting, ginger, ginkgo biloba, and foods or supplements that give you a super dose of vitamin E. – like spinach, avocado, nuts, sunflower seeds, and squash.
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3. Nutrients that should be in your diet on a regular basis
The third category includes nutrients you should always have in your system in order to reach a peak state, such as zinc, vitamin C, iron, iodine, and vitamin E.
It’s true that what’s good for your heart is good for your sex life. A healthy, balanced diet full of these nutrients helps reduce your stress, stimulate your senses, focus on your love, strengthen your blood circulation, and elevate your energy and stamina levels.
Remember that the order in which you consume aphrodisiacs is important.
If you drink alcohol, making a cocktail the first thing to hit your lips will give you an immediate hit of dopamine, which works in partnership with endorphins to solidify the meaning and enjoyment you derive from your magical evening. For women, you will also receive an extra dose of testosterone to boost your sex drive.
Your first bite of food should always be protein. This encourages energy, stamina, focus, and strong circulation of blood and oxygen throughout your body.
A meal high in protein and low in carbohydrates increases your dopamine levels.
And most importantly, don’t eat excessive carbs or sugars before protein, so try to leave the carbs and sugar for dessert.
Now you’re ready to wake up and feel sexy all night long.
Joy Nordenstrom is a relationship coach who helps men and women overcome attachment issues and develop healthy relationships that foster lasting love.
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