Food to help you feel frisky

February 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Cook up a special Valentine's Day dinner that will put some sizzle back into your sex life. Registered dietitian and fitness and nutrition expert, as well as a contributing editor for Health Magazine, Julie Upton shares these great ideas.

Julie's suggestions:

Whether you want safe sex, sexier sex, better sex, longer sex, express sex, conception sex, or just sex, you might want to look at what you're eating.

After talking to hundreds of men and women in short- or long-term relationships, most agree that their sexual health could be better. Women complain that they don't feel sexy and men want their mojo back. While there are thousands of products and gimmicks that claim to help improve your sex life, there's nothing better than a healthy diet and lifestyle for turning up the heat between the sheets.

Here are some of the key foods that can help you have the nutrients you need that are important for sexual and reproductive health, but won't promote weight gain.

Dark Chocolate: Chocolate is proven to get you in the mood but not just any chocolate works. Chocolate contains compounds that trigger feel-good hormones in the brain. In addition, dark chocolate is rich in cocoa flavonoids that act as antioxidants and help dilate blood vessels and make the blood less likely to form a clot.

. Oysters/Seafood:
Aside from being slippery and slimy, oysters are one of the best sources of zinc, which is essential for male reproductive health. In addition, oysters, like all seafood, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are the fats that are good for the heart.

Leafy Greens/Citrus:
The trace minerals and antioxidants packed into dark, leafy greens are essential for our sexual health. Citrus is also rich in antioxidants and vitalmin C, and folic acid, all of which which impact men's reproductive health. These foods also have been shown to help block the absorption of some of the environmental contaminants that are thought to be impacting our sexual health.

A drink or two can relax you and help reduce inhibitions, and alcohol in moderation is also heart-healthy because it raises the good HDL cholesterol and reduces the chances of blood clots. If you want a non-alcoholic sub, try Concord grape juice. Research on it also shows that it can stimulate nitric oxide production, which is a potent blood vessel dilator.

Delicate and delicious, strawberries are truly seductive, especially when covered in chocolate. They are an excellent source of folic acid, a B-vitamin that helps ward of birth defects in women and may be tied to sperm counts in men.

What to avoid for better sex:
(What lowers your libido:)

  • Excess sugar
  • Excess alcohol
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fasts
  • Sodium

About Julie Upton:
Julie Upton is a registered dietitian and communications expert specializing in nutrition, fitness and health. As a media resource for the American Dietetic Association, Upton is interviewed and quoted in over 200 articles annually, and is a frequent guest on national and local television and radio stations. She has been interviewed on the NBC Today Show, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight and is a frequent guest on CNN, WABC and Fox.

Ms. Upton is also a nationally recognized journalist who has written thousands of articles for national newspapers, magazines and e-media including The New York Times, Prevention, Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Her articles cover nutrition for babies to boomers, weight loss and maintenance and functional foods.

Her athletic accomplishments are many: Upton is a competitive swimmer, cyclist, marathon runner and triathlete. She has completed events such as the Swim Around Manhattan Island, New York City Marathon and The Boston Marathon and the Hawaii Ironman World Championships.

Ms. Upton attended the University of Michigan and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from Michigan State University. She completed her dietetic internship at Harvard Medical School and holds a Master of Science Degree in Nutrition Communications from Boston University.