There are often mixed opinions on the idea that certain foods can increase sexual desire. But a new study provides evidence that a fish-rich diet might actually improve your sex life.
Researchers at Harvard University interviewed 501 couples trying to conceive and asked them to track their seafood consumption, dietary habits, and sexual activity. They followed the couples for a year, or until they got pregnant.
The study found that couples who ate fish twice a week or more had sex 22% more frequently than those who didn’t. It also found that eating more fish helped the couples (who were all trying to conceive) get pregnant easier: 92% of couples who ate fish twice a week or more became pregnant, compared with 79% of the couples who ate fish less often.
Of course, there’s an obvious question here: Wouldn’t more sex lead to a greater chance of pregnancy? Researchers wondered this, too. But even after controlling the frequency of sex, they still found that eating more fish was linked with an increased chance of getting pregnant.
“Seafood may help in semen quality, ovulation, and other markers,” the lead author, Audrey J. Gaskins, tells the New York Times. “Or maybe these couples are the ones spending more time together. But if it’s fish that’s bringing them together, that’s still casual, although through a behavioral pathway, not a biological one.”
Fish contain many nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and iron, which pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant are encouraged to include in their diets, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA).
That said, women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan on becoming pregnant should avoid fish with high levels of mercury, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The APA recommends that women aim for two to three servings of low-mercury fish — such as salmon, tilapia, shrimp, tuna, cod, or catfish — per week.
It’s also important to note that once pregnant, women may want to avoid fish with high levels of mercury,
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