Anti-Aphrodisiacs: 8 Foods That Really Ruin the Mood
We already know there are foods that are awesome at spicing up our sex lives — oysters, chili peppers, chocolate. This list of effective aphrodisiacs is long, and many of us swear by them. But there is another side to the aphrodisiac story.
READ: 9 Simple Aphrodisiacs to Help Put You in the Mood
Just as there are foods that make sex better, there are foods we should avoid if we have sexy plans for the evening. There's a strong link between what we eat and how we feel, and libido killers can come in the most unexpected of places. In fact, soy, one of our favorite health foods, is near the top of the no-no list!
There are some foods that negatively impact our hormone levels (or raise the wrong ones!), and others that kill our energy level. Some, like sugars or carbs, make us feel bloated or gassy, throwing even tried and true leafy green vegetables and beans off the list. Even worse, there are those options that makes you smell funky "down there" — the last thing we want!
READ: 10 Foods to Improve Your Sex Life
Here are some of the foods you should absolutely keep off the menu if you have steamy evening plans:
By all measures, beans are a super nutritious food. They are high in fiber, high in antioxidants, and can help you maintain a healthy weight. But it may not be what you want to eat right before sex.
"Beans are considered an anti-aphrodisiac for their gas-causing abilities," says Rene Ficek, a Registered Dietitian who is also the Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating (SSHE.) "Beans contain indigestible sugars that can make it down to our colon and function as prebiotics to feed our good bacteria, and make for a healthier colon. Before it ends up in our colon, these sugars reach our stomach, and the floating stools from trapped gasses make us feel bloated and gassy," says Ficek.
Not a recipe for feeling sexy!
Planning a special movie night at home? Reconsider, says Dr. Kat Van Kirk, a marriage, family and sex therapist. "The chemicals used in the inner lining of microwave popcorn bags have been linked to lower sex drive for men. They contain perfluoroalkyl acids, such as PFOA or PFOS, known to significantly lower sperm counts," says Dr. Kat.
Concentrated sugar, like you’ll find in sweets, sodas, and alcohol is bad news.
Sugar makes you crash and burn. It also feeds yeast and bacteria, making for bloating, lower immune and funky smells, says celebrity holistic nutritionist Sally Pansing Kravich.
It may be delicious, but those carbs are bad for more than your thighs. Eating a big plate of pasta runs the risk of turning down the body heat, says Ficek.
"If your favorite date spot is your local trattoria, substitute protein dishes for large portions of pasta. A large meal of carbohydrates can cause an insulin spike which can make you feel bloated and tired, essentially killing the mood," says Ficek.
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"One of the biggest health myths that needs debunking is that soy is a health food," says Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, author of "The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food."
"In Asia, soy's well known for its ability to tank the libido. Zen monks use soy as an aide to celibacy and Japanese wives serve extra helpings of tofu to unfaithful husbands to kill the ability, the desire," says Daniel.
READ: When It Comes To Your Stomach, Is Soy Friend or Foe?
The science behind that is all soybeans contain phytoestrogens known as isoflavones. "These plant estrogens aren't identical to mammalian estrogens, but they are close enough to interfere with the production and utilization of testosterone in the body," Daniel says. Some studies have shown it may contribute to reducing a man’s libido.
The occasional tofu dinner wouldn't have much of an effect on sex life, but if a vegetarian or vegan man chooses soy-based protein over other plant-based proteins on a regular basis, it may make a difference. "Researchers have proposed that the estrogenic properties (that is, those that emulate the female sex hormone estrogen) of soy's isoflavones can cause testosterone levels, along with sexual desire, to drop," says Ficek.
Food is certainly a factor in stimulating or suppressing sex drive, but so are the beverages we drink. It is widely accepted that alcohol can encourage relaxation, but overindulging can dull your senses and suppress libido, says Ficek. "Alcohol also acts as a depressant, which can lower erectile function. Furthermore, the hops in beer are thought of similarly to soy in regards to estrogenic properties, and the carbonation in beer tends to cause bloating and gas," says Ficek.
That's not all: Dr. Kat says quinine, which is the main ingredient in tonic water, can lower testosterone levels. And gin, like any alcohol, can cause issues with sexual performance.
Drinking too many caffeinated beverages, such as soda and coffee, can lower your sex drive by causing adrenal fatigue. "If your adrenal gland does not produce enough hormones, you can suffer from both decreased desire for sex and inadequate energy to perform," says Ficek.
"Furthermore, a cup of coffee in the morning spikes up stress hormones, such as cortisol, in your body," he adds. So, if you're in mood for some romance and love, it is best to decrease the coffee intake from your and your partner's diet.
Anything That Alters pH
The foods you eat can influence the taste and smell of your vagina or semen by altering the pH, says Dr. Kat. Alcohol, broccoli, asparagus, dairy, red meat, onions and garlic can all affect the natural pH balance of your genitals for up to two or three days after ingestion.