Eating Garlic Has An Unexpected Effect On A Man's Sex Life

If you've ever ventured into the kitchen to cook something or looked at a recipe online, you'd find that one of the more healthy herbs that gets used quite a lot is garlic. 

Perhaps this has something to do with the unexpected effect garlic has on your early death risk. After all, it's supposed to keep your immunity in check, lower bad cholesterol, protect your liver, slow the development of Alzheimer's disease, prevent cancer, and more. Safe to say, it's a super food that can boost overall health. 

Native to central Asia and with a rich history spanning thousands of years, this species of bulbous flowering plant is a favorite in many households. It has a pungent smell (which is where the term "garlic breath" comes from) and it can be purchased in powdered and fresh varieties to make an easy addition to almost any dish. Some people even enjoy consuming it by itself (either raw or cooked) — it's known to have a sweet, buttery, and soft flavor. 

For men, garlic may offer more benefits yet, especially in the bedroom. For starters, garlic can improve blood flow by boosting nitric oxide levels in your system. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means it helps your blood vessels relax and dilate. For men, this can help with preventing or treating erectile dysfunction (ED). Let's take a closer look.

How garlic may improve a man's sex life

Quite a few studies have looked at garlic's properties that improve blood flow. For example, a 2023 study published in Nutrition and Health found that several fruits and vegetables (including garlic) were effective in the management of ED. A 2014 study published in The Aging Male, found that a non-prescription health-promoting medication in Japan that contained garlic extract was effective in improving ED in older men. 

Blood flow aside, garlic is thought to enhance sexual health and testosterone production in men too, per a 2018 systematic review of 18 experimental studies published in the Journal of Herbmed Pharmacology. The research concluded that the antioxidant properties in this herb could improve male fertility and that garlic could also boost spermatogenesis (the sperm cell production process) and testosterone levels. Testosterone performs many different functions in men, one of which is regulating sex drive. It's possible that these studies are also alluding to the ability of allicin, a compound found in garlic, to improve blood flow and testosterone production. 

If you're looking for natural ways to boost your sex drive, you could say you've found a gem in garlic. As we mentioned before, garlic is great at fighting chronic disease because of its rich supply of antioxidants (flavonoids and phenolic compounds). Antioxidants help improve serum sex hormone levels in men, per a 2020 study published in the Turkish Journal of Urology. Additionally, the S-allyl cysteine found in garlic blocks the formation of free radicals, thereby improving ED. It also enhances testosterone production. 

Did you know that garlic could make men smell better too?

How garlic could make a man's scent more attractive

According to a 2016 study published in the journal Appetite, men who consumed garlic smelled better. Researchers from the University of Stirling and Charles University in Prague asked 42 men to consume raw garlic, garlic capsules, or no garlic and then wear axillary pads for 12 hours to collect their body odor. Thereafter, 82 women were asked to smell the samples and rate them on pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity.

The body odor of the men who consumed raw garlic was rated significantly more attractive by the women. The garlicky scent was also apparently considered more pleasant and less intense, per the female subjects. Researchers think that the results may have something to do with the health benefits of garlic. "Our results indicate that garlic consumption may have positive effects on the pleasure derived from perceived body odour perhaps due to its health effects ... Previous research indicates that many animal species use diet-associated cues to select mates in good physical condition," explained a professor of psychology at the University of Stirling, Craig Roberts. Perhaps, we need more studies to really form a connection here, but this finding is unexpected, to say the least. 

As for just how much garlic you should be consuming, most studies seem to indicate that 1-2 cloves would suffice (per Heathline). Although considered safe for most people, it does come with side effects like heartburn, diarrhea, and of course, bad breath. Be mindful of eating too much garlic too. 

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