Written by Nutritionist Cassandra Barns
They may not seem very sexy. But inside their plain-looking exterior, nuts and seeds are little treasure troves of nutrients that can help increase libido, keep your energy up and keep things fizzling in the bedroom!
Here are five reasons eating seeds and nuts could be your secret to a better sex life.
When it comes to nutrients that boost sex drive, zinc is the first in line. This is because it’s vital for healthy levels of testosterone – a key driver of sexual desire in both men and women (women’s bodies make much less of it than men, but it’s still important).
Oysters are loaded with zinc, which is one of the reasons they’re considered an aphrodisiac. But for a more everyday – and perhaps more palatable – source of zinc, seeds and nuts are winners. In fact, they’re our best plant sources of this mineral. Stock up on sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, cashews and pecans for a zinc pick-me-up.
Hormone-supporting essential fats
Seeds and nuts are loaded with essential fatty acids, of course. Healthy fats are the body’s raw materials for making sex hormones including oestrogen and testosterone, both of which play an important role in libido.
Protein and fibre for blood sugar balance
If you’ve ever talked to a nutritionist, you’ve probably heard about the importance of good blood sugar balance. This basically means eating the right foods to maintain a stable level of glucose (sugar) in your blood and energy to your cells, and it’s important for many aspects of our health.
But how does it relate to good times in the bedroom? Well, by keeping your blood sugar stable, your energy and mood can improve – you’re less likely to crash out on the sofa or get grumpy and irritable! It helps keep your sex hormones in balance, too. And in the longer term, it helps maintain good circulation, including to the genitals – vital for arousal in both sexes and for erection in men.
Nuts and seeds are fantastic for supporting blood sugar balance. They’re rich in both fibre and protein, which means they break down slowly and help you feel full, preventing cravings for sugary foods. They make a great accompaniment to meals and snacks as they help slow down the digestion of carbohydrates from other foods, too.
There’s nothing like feeling tired or stressed to put out the fires of passion!
And while no nutrient or food can make up for lack of sleep or a demanding day at work, magnesium can certainly help. This miracle mineral helps convert food to energy, yet also aids relaxation and sleep – a quality that’s earned it the nickname ‘nature’s tranquiliser’. So, it can help you feel more refreshed and ready to get frisky! And that’s not all: increasing magnesium intake also seems to boost testosterone levels, at least in men1 – meaning it could be just as important as zinc for stoking the fires of passion.
The great news, of course, is that seeds and nuts are our richest ‘everyday’ source of this super-mineral. Pumpkin seeds win the day, providing up to 150mg of magnesium per two tablespoons – 40% of our recommended daily intake.
Seeds and nuts are rich in vitamin E, selenium and manganese. All of these have antioxidant properties that are vital for protecting sperm and helping them stay healthy and strong! While this may not be as important for everyday bedroom antics, it’s certainly essential if you’re trying for a baby.
How to get your seeds and nuts
Nuts and seeds can, of course, be eaten plain or with fruit as a snack, as well as chopped up into porridge or yoghurt or sprinkled over salads.
To change things up, I love Clearspring’s tamari-roasted nuts and seeds – try their Tamari Roasted Pumpkin Seeds or Tamari Roasted Sicilian Almonds. They make a super-healthy, low-carb, high-nutrient snack and are perfect if you find plain nuts or seeds a bit boring to snack on!
Another great way to get more seeds into your life is Clearspring’s organic seed-based protein powders, such as their Austrian Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder. They can be added to smoothies or stirred into porridge, or even added to soups to give a boost of filling protein as well as libido-supporting super-nutrients.
Reference:1. Maggio M et al. The Interplay between Magnesium and Testosterone in Modulating Physical Function in Men. Int J Endocrinol. 2014;2014:525249.
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