Healthy habits and lifestyle changes can increase libido, improve your sex life, and possibly help address issues such as erectile dysfunction and female sexual dysfunction. Sexual arousal and function is dependent on a healthy cardiovascular system and good overall health, so both men and women can improve their sex lives by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy ways to rev up your libido:
The nicotine in tobacco is a potent vasoconstrictor. It narrows the blood vessels, which can lead to damage in the arteries and veins. The small blood vessels in the penis are especially susceptible to damage – thus smoking can have a negative effect on your sex life. But there is something you can do about it: Quitting smoking can improve your sex life and increase low libido.
Regular exercise can help both men and women improve their sex lives and increase libido. Routine exercise keeps the cardiovascular system healthy, important for libido and erections.
Exercise can also increase levels of sex hormones as well as endorphins, help women feel better, and improve body image, according to Jennifer Berman, MD, a urologist and expert in female sexual medicine and director of The Berman Women’s Wellness Center in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Stress management techniques such as meditation and yoga can also help improve your sex life. “Stress is a silent killer — worse in some ways than heart disease or even cancer,” says Dr. Berman.
“It’s self-induced, it ages your body, and is gradual.” Stress also raises cortisol and adrenaline levels, which can interfere with sex response hormones. “Healing hormones are released during meditation,” says Berman.
Get More Sleep
Lack of sleep has been linked to erectile dysfunction and female sexual response problems. As with stress reduction methods, beneficial hormones are released during sleep, says Berman. “If sleep is interrupted by apnea, stress, medication, and so on, that affects brain chemistry as well as mood.” Getting enough rest can help increase your libido and improve your sex life.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
In moderation, red wine and other alcohol may have some benefits. Drinking can be liberating, and some alcohol (like red wine) contains flavonoids, which may help protect against certain diseases like heart disease and some cancers. But in excess, alcohol is a drug that is a depressant. And it can exacerbate anxiety, says Berman. Keeping alcohol consumption to a moderate level is recommended. This means one drink a day for women, two for men.
Consume Less Caffeine
Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it may have a negative effect on blood flow. But there is some evidence that chocolate, which contains some caffeine, can have a positive effect on libido. While there is no definitive proof linking caffeine to erectile dysfunction or female sexual arousal disorder, doctors do know that caffeine can restrict blood vessels, so keeping consumption to moderate levels may be the best practice when it comes to libido and a healthy sex life.
Eating a diet rich in colorful, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables is great for good overall health, which in turn can help increase your libido and improve your sex life. The Mediterranean Diet, based on healthy fruits and vegetables and foods with omega-3 fatty acids, is excellent for good sexual health, says Berman.
She adds that supplements such as a multivitamin and antioxidants like CoQ10 and lycopene (which is thought to help prevent prostate cancer) may also help boost libido. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any supplements so you can find the best choices for you.