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Food And Sexual Health: How Your Diet Affects Your Love Life, Family And Lifestyle

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Diet is inextricably linked to reproductive health. The perks and damages of that nutrition can bring to our bodies are mainly felt from conception, pregnancy, infancy, childhood and puberty.

This is according to a study published in the Health Affairs journal. According to this study, these stages are mostly affected by the type of diet due to the attributed high metabolic rate and dynamic growth that accompany these developmental periods.

  1. Diet and fertility

Healthy body weight and nutrition have compelling effects on a couples’ ability to conceive. Scientists in Kenya have raised concerns that the prevalence of male infertility has increased. A study conducted at the Kenyatta National Hospital reports that the prevalence of infertility among men had risen from 7.6 percent in 2013 to 14.12 percent by 2018.
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Apart from using drugs such as miraa, cocaine, heroin which hinder testosterone stimulation, diet has a contributing factor. The plunging sperm counts can be corrected if men embarked on adjusting their diets. Harvard University scientists attribute the inability of men to father children to sugary and high fat diet. Their findings underscore that “Your sperm is what you eat.” Adherence to some particular type of diet influenced the differences in fertility numbers among the study population. Apparently, men whose diet contained lots of fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken had higher sperm count as compared to those who feast on red meat, fried food and sweetened beverages.

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To boost male fertility

It is advisable to adjust diets to healthier options with whole grains, nuts, seafood, poultry, fruits and vegetables. This diet nourishes the body with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids that boost sperm production.


In women

Adequate amounts of iron lower the risk of ovulatory infertility. This is according to The Nurses’ Health Study II. In addition, Harvard researchers came up with a “Fertility Diet” that incorporated more monosaturated fat such as avocado and olive oil, more vegetable protein, high fibre foods such as whole grains, more vegetable iron sources than meat, multivitamins and high fat dairy.

  1. Diet and sex drive

Humans have for many years tried to look into the best foods for improving sex drive. In Kenya, we informally relate groundnuts, pomegranate, horny goat weed and even eggplant to increased libido. It is believed that regular consumption of such foods reduces the need for artificial libido enhancers as we age.

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Though aphrodisiacs cannot be scientifically attributed to spontaneous and direct increase in sex drive, the manner that they are eaten or the mineral content may be an important aspect in increasing blood circulation, boosting metabolism and having a general positive effect on sex drive. It is important to note that sexual desire is dependent on many factors such as stress levels, relationship status, and one/s preferences. Diet associated with sex drive has featured in both African traditional medicine and science.

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Notably, nuts and seafood have been found to contain essential minerals that are needed for cell metabolism and stamina. Oysters in particular contain high amounts of zinc. Zinc has been found to be helpful in treating erectile dysfunction in people with kidney disease by regulating testosterone levels. Even though sex drive fluctuates naturally, more research needs to be done to associate libido with diet.

  1. Diet and reproductive cancers

Evolving diet in the Kenyan population has been linked to the rising cancer incidence in the country. This is according to a study by scientist Dr. Geoffrey Maiyo. Extensive research reveals that diet has a considerable impact in the etiology of cancer including those of the reproductive organs.

Red flags

  • Traditional African diet contained foods rich in fibre, which is potentially cancer inhibiting; however, “westernised” diet containing high amounts of fat, cholesterol salts and sugars seems to be in most of our tables.
  • Additionally, aflatoxins in our cereals,
  • Reusing frying oils and herbicide contaminated vegetables are possible carcinogens yet they are part of our daily meals.


Apart from cervical cancer which is caused by a long term infection of the human papilloma virus, other reproductive cancers are mainly due to genetics or carcinogens among other causes.

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According to research, one of the ways that diet can increase the risk of reproductive cancers is by interfering with the modulations of hormones and biomarkers (natural indicators of disease in the body). The mutagenic potential of these biomarkers varies substantially with every individual. Evidence of intake of plant based diet having a protective effect on development of hormone-related cancers continues to increase. Phytochemicals (food components produced by plants) such as phytoestrogens, phytosterols and flavonoids have been shown to have anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, if you are a meat lover, go easy on it. Studies have shown that red meat is good but in small and less frequent portions.

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