It's nearly Valentine’s Day, and talk of love is in the air.
And while we all like to think we have a raging inferno burning inside, as many as one in five Brits experience reduced libido at some stage in their lives, with many struggling to understand why.
In fact there can be many reasons why our sex drive diminishes - age, stress, fatigue, hormonal imbalances and emotional concerns in both men and women have a part to play, and for many the issue can come and go.
Luckily, there is much that can be done to help you get back into your stride, and some of them start in the kitchen. Even if you don’t have a problem but want to ramp things up, consider that certain foods have long been heralded as libido boosters and fertility supports.
Bright red beetroot is a great bedroom booster, particularly for males who may have lost the spring in their step.
A good source of a compound called nitric oxide that naturally helps to increase blood flow by causing blood vessels to dilate, beetroot is a good food to support sexual performance and may help your man go that extra mile.
Another sexy food, wet-and-wild watermelon is rich in a whole host of nutrients while also boasting a high level of an amino acid called citrulline, which has been shown to help aid sex drive by increasing blood flow to our nether regions.
Try to eat the rind and even some of the seeds if possible as a lot of goodness is found here. Blend into a smoothie if you don’t like the crunch.
Not for nothing has this root vegetable superfood been dubbed nature’s Viagra. Used for many hundreds of years as a fertility support and libido booster in Peruvian culture, research has proved its ability to increase strength, stamina, energy, fertility and libido.
It does this by supporting our adrenal glands, helping to balance sex hormone production and make the body more resilient to the daily grind. A winning combination in the bedroom for men and women!
Try adding a teaspoon of maca powder to a morning smoothie, yoghurt, cereals or even to cake recipes.
Before you reach for the Milky Bar, remember we are talking about good quality dark chocolate here, preferably above 70% cocoa solids.
This rich source of cacao is naturally high in a number of compounds that are very supportive of body and mind. Magnesium helps to relax muscles and ease tension in the mind, as well as supporting the production of serotonin, the body’s happy neurotransmitter.
Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine – a compound that we have been shown to produce when we are in love.
Given that low mood and stress can be strongly linked with lower sex drive, a few squares of dark chocolate daily is a good way to pump up the passion.
They aren’t the sexiest of foods, but pumpkin seeds have a plethora of benefits.
Being high in zinc which is essential for mood, mind and hormone balance as well as sperm health, they are a great support for sexual health in men and women.
They are also loaded with libido-supporting vitamins B, E, C, D and K and minerals including calcium, potassium, niacin and phosphorous, as well as being a great source of arginine which research continually shows is essential for sex drive.
Alice Mackintosh is a Nutritional Food Therapist. For more information, visit her website.
Which food gets you in the mood? Share your favourites in the Comments box below.