Foods For Better Sex
People who suffer from a low libido can find a world of reasons to blame for it: stress, a busy work schedule, kids and family responsibilities, and that occasional, unavoidable dark cloud called “not in the mood.” Knowing what’s behind your losing streak doesn’t make it any easier to bear.It’s easy to laugh at aphrodisiacs and other seemingly simple solutions to reignite the spark, but who can blame someone for eyeing them, if the only other solutions are things like “Get a new job” or “Drop 30 pounds?” As every successful fitness professional and bodybuilder can attest, food is one of the things you can control. Feeling like you’re in control, well, that’s sexy.
With modern science’s ever-deepening understanding of food and nutrition, we’ve been able to learn which foods have the most potential to put a quiver in your liver (that’s a good thing, by the way), and also how they do it. Here are a few arrows to keep in your arsenal.
Watermelon made big headlines a few years back when a study conducted at Texas A&M University compared it to Viagra in its ability to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. The key, researchers said, is the fruit’s high levels of the amino acid citrulline, which when converted to arginine in the human body, can boost nitric oxide synthesis and vasodilation.
You’ve no doubt heard by now that adding seafood to your diet on a regular basis is a great way to ensure you get adequate protein and healthy omega fats. Oysters may not look much like salmon or tilapia, but to people who have a taste for the mollusks, they offer fish-like benefits, along with high levels of vitamins A, B12, D, iron, calcium, selenium, copper and zinc.
What, those vitamins don’t turn you on? They at least help make arousal possible. Deficiencies in vitamins D, B12, and zinc in particular can bring you to your knees—and not in a good way. Low levels of these crucial nutrients can decimate energy levels in everyone, testosterone levels in men, and negatively impact blood flow—and don’t forget, blood is what makes you feel all tingly. A study from Turkey in 2000 found that zinc and selenium both had the potential to help restore nitric oxide activity, um, down south in men. That means more blood where you want it, when you want it.
Oysters’ zinc content, along with their reputed resemblance to certain sexy parts, has fueled the shellfish’s reputation as an aphrodisiac for centuries. Some researchers have even theorized that our ancestors were chronically zinc-deficient, in which case a blast from an oyster could theoretically boost their sexual health.
A study in 2005 added some credibility to the legend, when Italian researchers found that oysters were rich in the amino acids D-aspartic acid (D-Asp) and N-methyl-D-aspartate. In previous animal studies, both of these substances had been shown to increase testosterone levels in males and progesterone in females. Both of these hormones are crucial to maintaining a healthy libido.
3. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is probably the most famous, and exhaustively researched, of the reputed aphrodisiac foods. Researchers have known since the 1990s that dark chocolate in particular can increase serotonin levels in the human brain in a way that can mimic the effects of marijuana, and the ensuing years of research have only added to chocolate’s list of potential benefits.
In 2006, a group of Italian researchers took more direct aim at the idea of chocolate as an aphrodisiac when they measured daily chocolate intake against markers of sexual health in women. They found two things: first, women who ate chocolate daily tended toward higher sexual functionality, and second, older women were both less sexually functional, and less prone to eating chocolate daily. As academics, they were hesitant to draw any grand conclusions—after all, to be young is to be frisky. The rest of us can be a little more abrupt. What are you waiting for, ladies, a golden ticket? Unwrap and enjoy!
In recent years, a number of studies have chipped away at chocolate’s sexy powers. A 2006 study out of Australia hypothesized that if you eat chocolate merely out of “comfort eating,” it can actually prolong a bad mood. Others have placed the benefits of chocolate more squarely on its high levels of the antioxidants known as flavonols, which, like the citrulline in watermelons, can boost nitric oxide levels and blood flow. Unfortunately, these are often destroyed when raw cocoa is converted to chocolate, and they can be blocked by milk and other foods.
The lesson here is clear: Don’t gorge on chocolate out of desperation. Track down one of the new flavonoid-rich bars for a special date, and enjoy it sensually, like a fine wine. Get that serotonin a-flowin’ and turn off the cell phone.
Fruits are colorful, sweet, and you can feed them to your amour with your fingers. What more do you need to know? Peaches boost sperm count. Blueberries improve blood flow. Avocados (yes, they are a fruit) encourage testosterone and estrogen production for men and women, respectively. Fruits with vitamins C and E support a healthy libido. One of the best things about fruits: They require little preparation in order to be ready to eat.
Known for its suggestive shape, asparagus is high in a B vitamin known as folate that aids in increasing the production of histamine. Histamine is important for a healthy sex drive in men and women.3 The most delicious asparagus is just picked, it is so sweet! Grow your own or buy it fresh and organic at your local farmers market.
A recent report stated organic Sicilian avocados are taking Europe by storm. Apparently the Europeans can’t get enough of them. The ancient Aztec’s nickname for avocado was “ahuacatl,” or testicle because of the fruit’s shapely form. The Catholic Spanish priests found avocados so sexy, the forbade them to their parishioners.
Is known by many as Peru’s natural Viagra. Apparently this natural root has been known throughout Peru’s history as a sex enhancing root passed down by the Inca. According to Discovery Health’s medicine hunter Chris Kilam, the maca plant is used by the Peruvian culture to increase strength, stamina, energy, fertility and libido. Wow this sounds like a winning combination! Maybe I’ll start adding it to my morning smoothies.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
Like oysters, pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which is essential for healthy sperm production and preventing testosterone deficiency in men. They are also loaded with libido vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, E, C, D, K and minerals including calcium, potassium, niacin and phosphorous.4 Next time Halloween comes around, now you know what to do with those left over pumpkin seeds, roast those babies.
You wouldn’t normally think of celery as a libido inducing food, but according to Judy Gaman, Dr. Walter Gaman and Dr. Mark Anderson, authors of the book “Stay Young: Ten Proven Steps to Ultimate Health,” eating celery actually increases the pheromone levels in a man’s sweat, making them more attractive to women. But make sure that celery is organic! Non-Organic Celery is Packed with 67 Pesticides. You don’t want those toxic chemicals messing with your libido now do you?
The stuff that makes chilies hot, capsaicin, can actually rev up your libido. Have you ever noticed a natural high when eating chilies? Capsaicin promotes the release of chemicals that can raise your heart rate and trigger the release of endorphins that give you a natural high, which pumps that libido!
Legend has it figs were one of Cleopatra’s favorite foods. According to Dr. Nalini Chilkov, L.Ac., O.M.D, figs have been prized as a sensual food for their resemblance of the female sex organs. The ancient Greeks valued figs more precious than gold and many cultures associated figs with fertility.
Raw garlic anyone? Eating raw garlic may make your partner turn the other way in bed, but it can certainly stir up your sexual desire. The heat in garlic is what stirs up your libido. Garlic contains allicin, which is thought to increase blood flow to sexual organs. This trick doesn’t work overnight however, apparently you need to consume it for about a month to reap its rewards. If you can’t stand the raw garlic go for the capsules found at your local natural food market.
13. Anything Out of the Norm
In general, science is unkind to supposed aphrodisiacs. We can sit here and say “eat this, and so-and-so vitamin will supposedly do that,” but the truth is that arousal isn’t a math problem. Want to know how to make food sexy? It’s easy enough.
- Make it at home. This is the single best reason there is to finally learn how to cook. You’ve heard the saying that the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t love walking into a house that smells like a warm, savory meal cooked just for her. Citrulline and other nutrients may increase her blood flow, but they’re not going to stimulate her hunger, then satisfy it, all while making her feel special and loved.
- Make it unique. Lose the skinless chicken breasts and stinky broccoli, and opt for something unexpected and full of flavor. Let her peek into the pot while it’s cooking for a quick sniff and a single tantalizing taste. Serve small, flavorful portions that leave her wanting more—but also make sure there’s enough! Don’t count the calories, and don’t feel bad about it. If you can’t justify a cheat meal for your loved one, then you need to loosen up.
- Make it sensory. You may remember a recent study from the Smell and Taste Research Foundation in Chicago that said men responded more viscerally to the scent of baked cinnamon buns than to high-end perfumes, and that women like banana nut bread.
My conclusion, if you want to seriously boost your libido, stock your pantry with these items and eat them on a regular basis. Who knows you might even lose weight in the process by eating these healthy foods, and the extra exercise you’re getting in the bedroom, couldn’t be all bad.