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Feed Your Libido-Vegan Sources of Zinc to Boost Your Libido-Recipe Included

Zinc is an essential mineral that carries out numerous functions in your body, including promoting a healthy immune system, protecting the liver from damage and it even helps you to heal from wounds. Find yourself deficient in this mineral and your libido will be screaming out to be fed. Zinc is vital for testosterone production, which affects sexual desire, vigor and stamina in both men and women. Zinc deficiencies in men can cause sexual performance problems, which can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Zinc also helps to prevent PMS symptoms in women and plays an important role in the function of the prostate gland in men. Semen also contains zinc; not enough zinc in your diet and those little guys may be too weak to get to where they need to go. On the other hand, in Chinese Medicine it is believed that excessive ejaculation can reduce the amount of zinc in your body, leading to a loss of sexual desire. It’s a vicious cycle isn’t it? Zinc also allows acuity of smell and taste and a deficiency could lead to a loss of those senses. What a bummer it would be if you couldn’t smell and taste all the sexy food you have been working so hard on.

So how do you know if you are deficient? Some common signs of a possible major deficiency in zinc are acne, fatigue, white spots on your fingernails, hair loss, high cholesterol, prostate trouble, irregular periods, impotence and infertility. However, even a minor deficiency can affect your sexual desire and function, so taking the time to make sure you are getting enough of this mineral during the day can have a positive outcome on your romantic evenings. If you are concerned, there is an oral test that can be done at a doctors’ office, as well as a blood test to determine if you are zinc deficient. Vegetarians and vegans need about 50% more zinc in their diet then meat eaters. Since there is an array of plant-based zinc sources, there is no need to panic and since most Americans are believed to be deficient in this vital mineral, it’s time to eat up people!

Sexy Veggie Food Choices: tempeh, beans including lentil, adzuki beans, chickpeas and lima beans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts including cashews, pecans, pine nuts, almonds and Brazil nuts, tahini, flax seeds, flax oil, peas, blackberries, kiwi, peas, summer squash, corn and sweet potato, oats and seaweeds including kelp and dulse.

Try this recipe for my “Just Can’t Get Enough Granola” to start boosting your zinc today.

Just Can’t Get Enough Granola

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 quarts

Ingredients
3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
ΒΎ cup raw slivered Almonds
ΒΎ cup raw chopped Walnuts
1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup Coconut flakes
ΒΎ cup Pure Maple Syrup
Β½ cup Olive Oil
Β½ cup Sucanat
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Β½ teaspoon Cinnamon
Β½ teaspoon Cardamom
ΒΎ cups dried Apricots

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except the apricots.
3) Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil, in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until golden brown and well toasted.
4) Transfer granola to a large bowl to cool.
5) Add apricots, tossing to combine.

* Be ware, this is so addicting! If you don’t gobble it all up in one sitting it will keep in an airtight container for a few weeks.

Photo Credit: average jane at flickr for creative commons

9 comments
  1. Derrcik

    You state that vegetarians and vegans need 50% more zinc than meat eaters. Interesting. Please point me to your source for this. I want to read more. Thanks.

  2. Rachel Venokur-Clark

    Hi Derrcik,

    Thanks for the comment. It’s a great question. You can find many websites catering to vegan and vegetarian nutrient requirements online. Most say something to this respect: β€œVegetarians may need as much as 50% more zinc than non-vegetarians because of the lower absorption of zinc from plant foods, so it is very important for vegetarians to include good sources of zinc in their diet.” This particular statement is from diagnose-me.com. It is because of the rate of absorption of plant-based sources of zinc that vegans and vegetarians may require 50% more plant-based sources compared to that of meat/dairy eater.

  3. Penne

    I’m not sure how long articles on this site are supposed to be but I’ve done quite a lot of nutritional study especially as it regards meat-free eating and I’ve never come across a recommendation to ingest 50% more zinc. Most veg*ns blood have normal ranges of zinc when tested.

    I do think informational sources are important and in this case more than one since contradiction happens often and rumor-mongering in nutrition seems to be particularly virulent (witness the whole idea that we can’t survive without protein, which supposedly only comes from animal sources, or that protein needs to be “combined” which itself was a theory put forward by a sociologist who retracted that hypothesis several years ago but for which the myth still strongly persists).

    One of the biggest factors in zinc levels are deficiencies in the soils. Remember that animal sources are also only as good as what they are ingesting as well which is why most who are deficient in B12 are not veg*n. Currently many fields are overtaxed so industrially produced foods as well as processed foods are likely to be lower in zinc. A good diet that is conscientiously sourced is indeed important (and reduces hunger signals meaning less food is needed to satisfy urges and meet nutritional needs).

    What’s particularly missing here though is the warnings of what too much zinc can do to the body especially when coupled with claims of increased sexual vitality (which we’ve seen the frenzy caused by male enhancement products). Zinc can interfere with iron and copper absorption (usually Americans strive for far too much iron which actually interferes with zinc absorption, so with the iron obsession many have that may be one of the main causes of lowered zinc levels). Too much zinc especially at one time can also cause very painful stomach distress. In fact, swallowing modern pennies can do severe damage to the stomach lining and even be fatal and often is in dogs (and birds given fruits and juices from tin cans).

    Recently, nasal sprays with zinc were banned because the zinc destroyed the sense of smell which besides taking away a great joy (and much of our ability to taste) can be dangerous in that it interferes with knowing if a food has spoiled or if there is a gas leak.

    Further the type of zinc in supplement form consumed, whether in pill or fortified food (which is essentially a food-wrapped pill) is important. Zinc oxide and zinc carbonate are generally poorly absorbed while zinc sulphate is considered better. Chelation allows better absorption so doses can be smaller (about half) to help avoid side-effects of too much. Since many supplements come in doses of 50mg or even more, cutting the pills in half or even quarters might be a good idea and not taking them within two hours of other supplements to avoid interference with other nutrients.

    One more thing to take into consideration is that the US RDA is quite a bit higher than the recommendations in Canada and the UK. As with protein the governmental guidelines may be too high. That can be hard to wrap one’s mind around since so many of the RDAs are just high enough to prevent deficiency symptoms (as in Vitamin D) and not actual good health.

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