Many people will concur test that the results of dieting – a slimmer figure and increased confidence – have a positive effect in the bedroom.
However, according to chief nutritionist for the New Atkins Diet, Linda O’Byrne, certain tasty, diet-friendly foods can also set pulses racing well before a target weight is hit.
Linda said: “Some foods can increase your libido by providing nutrients which are stimulatory, increase the blood flow and also boost feelings of wellbeing.
“In addition to this, following the Atkins approach has the knock-on effect of helping to lose weight, decrease bloating and improve mood, all of which can help to increase confidence and turn on that ‘mojo’.
“Eating well also improves overall health and wellbeing, whereas a diet rich in refined carbs and processed foods can create a feeling of being depressed and ‘under the weather’, which impacts sexual desire.”
Here, Linda shares her top Atkins-friendly foods for boosting the libido and feeling sexier than ever:
“This herb has been shown to stimulate libido and increase fertility. It is a good source of both iron and magnesium, which promote cardiovascular health by prompting muscles and blood vessels to relax, thus improving blood flow and making for the increased desire and ability to make love.”
Tip: Why not lay basil leaves on top of sliced mozzarella and tomato for a classic Italian starter?
“Among the many other health benefits of this superfruit, it was also viewed as a powerful aphrodisiac in Mayan cultures. Avocados are packed Vitamin E, which improves the production of testosterone and the female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. Having an imbalance of these hormones may suppress mood and sexual desire, so it’s vital to optimise their production.
“Avocados also contain beta carotene, a potent antioxidant which can help in making people feeling happier and more in control of their sexual wellbeing.”
Tip: Add sliced, ripe avocado to salads for a change in texture and taste.
Pumpkin Seeds and Flaxseeds
“These seeds are packed with Omega 3 acids which keep sex hormone production at its peak. Omega 3 can also increase the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which increases testosterone production, leading to heightened desire, as well as serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone.”
Tip: Pumpkin seeds make a great snack on their own or try adding a handful of flaxseeds to protein shakes.
“Garlic has many heart protecting properties, such as improved blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride reduction, as well as blood cell and blood vessel protection.
“In addition to this, it contains high amounts of the compound, allicin, which can improve blood flow and selenium, which increases iron absorption. This can have a knock on effect on your sexual, as well as circulatory, health – just make sure your partner is eating garlic too!”
Tip: Try to eat garlic daily by adding to meals to boost flavour. Why not fry a couple of cloves in a little olive oil and drizzle over vegetables?
“These hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which is what gives peppers their heat and can increase the heart rate and blood flow, which can, in turn, lead to sexual arousal.”
Tip: Add one chopped chilli pepper to diced tomatoes, coriander and spring onion and allow to sit for a few hours before eating, for a salsa with a sexy kick.
“A well-known aphrodisiac, this shellfish has been a renowned libido enhancer since Roman times. As oysters are high in both protein and zinc, they increase testosterone production. Having increased testosterone – whether male or female – leads to increased libido.”
Tip: Why not enjoy oysters with your partner as an indulgent, romantic starter?
“Adding zinc, which is abundant in beef, to your diet can stop testosterone from converting to oestrogen, which in turn can increase sexual performance and desire in both men and women.”
Tip: Enjoy a four to six ounce rump steak as a delicious main course, served with a side of sautéed spinach or spring greens.