Quinoa: Foo-Foo No More

Quinoa is one of those foods that self-proclaimed manly men make fun of, like arugula, or quiche, or pretty much any vegetable that can't be found nestled above a half-pound burger patty. That's too bad because, ironically, quinoa, despite sounding a bit foo-foo, might actually be the ultimate manly meal.

Quinoa is not a cereal grain but a seed, and it can be used practically anywhere you'd use rice. And while I'm not aware of any specific studies to support quinoa's ability to turn you into a sack master, just about every nutrient in quinoa has the potential for improving your sexual ability and even increasing your muscle mass.

Testosterone authority Lee Myer has pointed out some of quinoa's intriguing, man-friendly attributes. They include:

  1. High ecdysteroid content. Ecydsteroids are compounds that are structurally similar to androgens, i.e., sex hormones like testosterone. They appear in nature as plant and insect growth factors, but also seem to increase protein synthesis rates in humans, along with having positive effects on skin and bone and breaking down fat.
  2. Quality protein. Plant protein is notorious for being deficient in one or more amino acids (an incomplete protein), which means that you have to eat them in combination with other well-matched foods in order to get a complete protein. Quinoa, however, has all 9 essential amino acids, making it an excellent protein source.
  3. High amounts of magnesium. By some estimates, up to 80% of athletes are deficient in magnesium, but it plays an important role in keeping levels of free testosterone high.
  4. Lots of zinc. Similar to magnesium, adequate levels of zinc are crucial in maintaining normal or high levels of testosterone, but zinc also acts as a mild aromatase inhibitor, preventing testosterone from converting into its sister, estrogen.
  5. High levels of arginine and glutamic acid. These amino acids are well known for pumping up levels of nitric oxide, which can in turn pump up erections.

Quinoa Steak

Eating quinoa regularly could potentially lead to better sex and potentially better body composition. It could certainly lead to better nutrition.

There's the possibility that eating quinoa a couple of hours before sex might improve the quality of your erection, courtesy of the arginine and glutamic acid. The rest of the beneficial effects, like increasing testosterone and enhancing sex in general, would occur over days and weeks, not hours.

  1. Saowanee, Kumpun,"Ecdysteroids from Chenopodium quinoa Willd., an ancient Andean crop of high nutritional value," Science Direct, Vol. 71, April 15, 2011, pp 1226-1234.