Effortlessly Improve Male Sex Drive with These 8 Common Foods

10606650524_ac07ee1277_zScience exposes the best foods to stimulate male libido and how to block negative hormones from crushing your sex drive.

Was there a time you seemed to always have a throbbing erection? Was it in high school? College? 

One hormone can convert to the other and vice versa to find balance.

As men age, their hormonal levels change and there is a natural dip in testosterone, approximately 1% each year starting at age 30 [17]. But this doesn’t mean your libido has to suffer.

Testosterone is the primary hormone that boosts male sex drive. And although nutrients like vitamin D, zinc and BCAAs can improve testosterone, limiting or blocking xeno-estrogen absorption is just as important.

Sex hormones–mainly estrogen and testosterone–work like a seesaw. One hormone can convert to the other and vice versa to find balance. Having some of both is essential. 

However, synthetic forms of estrogen (aka xeno-estrogens) have a stronger effect than the natural estrogens the body produces or the estrogens found in foods (aka phyto-estrogens–i.e.,. soy, hops).

Similarly, the FDA cautions the use of synthetic testosterone products due to the possible risk of heart attacks and stroke [21].

This is why blocking xeno-estrogen absorption and eating natural testosterone-boosting foods will help get your libido back up in a healthy and safe way.

Scientific research supports these eight common foods to effortlessly improve male sex drive.


1. Brussels Sprouts. All cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, have healthy phytochemical compounds that block estrogen activities [25]. Not only that, these little nuggets are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Eat more cruciferous vegetables: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, bok choy, collard greens, turnip, rutabaga.

2. Beef. It’s true! Beef can improve testosterone levels and get you excited for sex. For every 6 oz. steak, you get 11 mg of zinc [8]. Zinc is important for hormone regulation but also supports a healthy immune system, fights against oxidative damage, and improves the quality of sperm [18, 19, 24].

Grass-fed beef is also an excellent source of protein, iron and B vitamins.

3. Flax. Flax seeds are a major source of lignin and phyto-estrogens, which significantly reduces effects of xeno-estrogens. Studies have shown that high levels of these dietary lignans are associated with a lower risk of chronic disease and act as powerful anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories [3, 22].

Flax not only benefits male testosterone levels but also prostate cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and digestive issues [1, 2, 4, 6, 14].

Flax is a healthy source of fat and fiber that can be easily added to any shake, salad or cereal.

Other healthy lignin-packed foods: Sesame seeds, curly kale, broccoli, apricots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, dark rye bread [15].

4. Cheddar cheese. As long as you are not sensitive to cow dairy, cheddar cheese is a great source of protein (including branched chain amino acids – BCAAs), zinc (3.5mg) and vitamin D (27 IU) [8].

Consuming BCAAs with high-intensity exercise has been shown to increase testosterone while decreasing the risk of injury, illness and cortisol levels [23].

Interestingly, cortisol is a stress hormone with conflicting effects on male and female libido. Preliminary research has shown that women are less sexually aroused with stress, while high cortisol increases male sexual drive [9, 12, 13]. However, despite men having more sexual desire, stress has been found to negatively effect sexual performance [12].

Other sources of BCAA’s: Cottage cheese, sour cream, eggs, yogurt, wheat, ricotta cheese, whey protein, meat.

5. Oysters. The folk-tales are true! Oysters are a great aphrodisiac because they are a rich source of zinc, even more than beef. One oyster (3 oz.) contains 74mg of zinc, which is 495% of the recommended daily value [26].

Research explains that zinc deficiency is very common and significantly decreases testosterone levels, even in healthy young men [20]. So, start shucking those oysters to boost your libido.

Other zinc-rich foods: Beef, lamb, fish, raw milk, beans, legumes, oats.

6. Herring Fish. This tiny fish is jam packed with vitamin D (214 IU per 100g) [8]. Vitamin D deficiency is common in the winter months for people living far from the equator. Vitamin D is a cholesterol-derived steroid hormone that is crucial for bone strength, mental health and balancing testosterone levels [17].

Direct sun exposure is the most common way to increase vitamin D levels, but there are also foods and supplements to give men a boost. 

Other sources high in vitamin D: Sardines, cod, caviar, eggs, fortified dairy products.

7. Avocado. A diet full of healthy oils and fats can increase testosterone levels and improve sperm quality [7, 10, 11]. Fresh avocados are a great source of healthy fats, mix them with some raw garlic, onions, tomatoes, and lime juice to create a nutrient-packed guacamole snack.

Other healthy oils and fats: Fish, almond, walnut, brazil nut, extra virgin olive oil, argon oil, coconut, hemp, flax, sesame.

8. Pomegranate. These little antioxidant and anti-cancer seeds pack a lot of punch [5, 16]. Pomegranates are one of the richest zinc-containing fruits, and although they can’t compare to beef or oysters, they have many benefits for prostate health [8].

Other potent anti-oxidants: blueberries, strawberries, wheat grass, red grapes, nuts, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, green tea, tomatoes.

But let’s not forget other factors that help boost testosterone and male libido:

Hormonal issues are often complex. Your low sex drive may be a sign for something more important going on.

Have you been suffering from any of the following?

  • Chronic poor libido (>six months)
  • erectile dysfunction
  • infertility (>one year)
  • problems with urination
  • depression or anxiety
  • impaired concentration or memory
  • chest pain
  • breast enlargements

If so, please visit your primary health care physician to get individualized medical support.



1. Almario RU, Karakas SE. Lignan content of the flaxseed influences its biological effects in healthy men and women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(3):194-9. [link]

2. Azrad M, Vollmer RT, Madden J, Dewhirst M, Polascik TJ, Snyder DC, Ruffin MT, Moul JW, Brenner DE, Demark-Wahnefried W. Flaxseed-derived enterolactone is inversely associated with tumor cell proliferation in men with localized prostate cancer. J Med Food. 2013 Apr;16(4):357-60. [link]

3. Caligiuri SP, Aukema HM, Ravandi A, Pierce GN. Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory oxylipins in older subjects are normalized by flaxseed consumption. Exp Gerontol. 2014 Nov;59:51-7. [link]

4. Cassani RS, Fassini PG, Silvah JH, Lima CM, Marchini JS. Impact of weight loss diet associated with flaxseed on inflammatory markers in men with cardiovascular risk factors: a clinical study. Nutr J. 2015 Jan 10;14:5. [link]

5. Danesi F, Kroon PA, Saha S, de Biase D, D’Antuono LF, Bordoni A. Mixed pro- and anti-oxidative effects of pomegranate polyphenols in cultured cells. Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Oct 27;15(11):19458-71. [link]

6. Demark-Wahnefried W, Polascik TJ, George SL, Switzer BR, Madden JF, Ruffin MT 4th, Snyder DC, Owzar K, Hars V, Albala DM, Walther PJ, Robertson CN, Moul JW, Dunn BK, Brenner D, Minasian L, Stella P, Vollmer RT. Flaxseed supplementation (not dietary fat restriction) reduces prostate cancer proliferation rates in men presurgery. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Dec;17(12):3577-87. [link]

7. Derouiche A, Jafri A, Driouch I, El Khasmi M, Adlouni A, Benajiba N, Bamou Y, Saile R, Benouhoud M. Effect of argan and olive oil consumption on the hormonal profile of androgens among healthy adult Moroccan men. Nat Prod Commun. 2013 Jan;8(1):51-3. [link]

8. Food and Nutrition Information Center [link]

9. Goldey KL, van Anders SM. Sexual thoughts: links to testosterone and cortisol in men. Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Dec;41(6):1461-70. [link]

10. Hämäläinen E, Adlercreutz H, Puska P, Pietinen P. Diet and serum sex hormones in healthy men. J Steroid Biochem. 1984 Jan;20(1):459-64. [link]

11. Hämäläinen EK, Adlercreutz H, Puska P, Pietinen P. Decrease of serum total and free testosterone during a low-fat high-fibre diet. J Steroid Biochem. 1983 Mar;18(3):369-70. [link]

12. Hamilton LD, Meston CM. The role of salivary cortisol and DHEA-S in response to sexual, humorous, and anxiety-inducing stimuli. Horm Behav. 2011 May;59(5):765-71. [link]

13. Hamilton LD, Rellini AH, Meston CM. Cortisol, sexual arousal, and affect in response to sexual stimuli. J Sex Med. 2008 Sep;5(9):2111-8. [link]

14. Hutchins AM, Brown BD, Cunnane SC, Domitrovich SG, Adams ER, Bobowiec CE. Daily flaxseed consumption improves glycemic control in obese men and women with pre-diabetes: a randomized study. Nutr Res. 2013 May;33(5):367-75. [link]

15. Lignans: Phytochemicals. Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University. [link]

16. Lucci P, Pacetti D, Loizzo MR, Frega NG. Punica granatum cv. Dente di Cavallo seed ethanolic extract: antioxidant and antiproliferative activities. Food Chem.  2015 Jan 15;167:475-83. [link]

17. Morley JE. Scientific overview of hormone treatment used for rejuvenation. Fertil Steril. 2013 Jun;99(7):1807-13. [link]

18. Oluboyo AO, Adijeh RU, Onyenekwe CC, Oluboyo BO, Mbaeri TC, Odiegwu CN, Chukwuma GO, Onwuasoanya UF. Relationship between serum levels of testosterone, zinc and selenium in infertile males attending fertility clinic in Nnewi, south east Nigeria. Afr J Med Med Sci. 2012 Dec;41 Suppl:51-4. [link]

19. Omu AE, Al-Azemi MK, Kehinde EO, Anim JT, Oriowo MA, Mathew TC. Indications of the mechanisms involved in improved sperm parameters by zinc therapy. Med Princ Pract. 2008;17(2):108-16. [link]

20. Prasad AS, Mantzoros CS, Beck FW, Hess JW, Brewer GJ. Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8. [link]

21. Seftel AD. Re: Testosterone Products: Drug Safety Communication – FDA Cautions about Using Testosterone Products for Low Testosterone due to Aging; Requires Labeling Change to Inform of Possible Increased Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke. J Urol. 2015 Sep;194(3):759-60. [link]

22. Setchell KD, Brown NM, Zimmer-Nechemias L, Wolfe B, Jha P, Heubi JE. Metabolism of secoisolariciresinol-diglycoside the dietary precursor to the intestinally derived lignan enterolactone in humans. Food Funct. 2014 Mar;5(3):491-501. [link]

23. Sharp CP, Pearson DR. Amino acid supplements, and recovery from high-intensity resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr;24(4):1125-30. [link]

24. Tvrda E, Peer R, Sikka SC, Agarwal A. Iron and copper in male reproduction: a double-edged sword. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2015 Jan;32(1):3-16. [link]

25. Zeligs MA. Diet and Estrogen Status: The Cruciferous Connection. J of Med Food. 1998, 1(2): 67-82. [link]

26. Zinc fact sheet. Health Professionals. [link]

The Place for Understanding Men Widget

Photo: Flickr/ Roberto Trombetta

About Dr. Alison Chen ND

Dr. Alison Chen ND is the co-creator of the Naturopathic Doctor Development Center and winner of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine’s Humanitarian award. Her background in competitive gymnastics, volunteer work in Africa, and an honors degree in biology give her a well-rounded view to living well. Originally from Toronto, Dr. Chen travels the world with her partner. You can learn more at http://www.dralisonchen.com/gmp.


  1. Great info. Thanks! BTW, all beef is fed grass. Most (95%) is raised on grass pasture for first year or so then finished on a combination of grass and grain. Both grass- and grain-finished are a good (>10%) or excellent (>20%) of the same 10 essential nutrients and vitamins, including zinc, iron, protein, and B vitamins.

Speak Your Mind