Boost Your Libido: 21 Foods to Increase Your Sex Drive Naturally
by KYLE O’CONNOR
What you eat during the day has a big impact on how you perform between the sheets at night. While it’s still true that the most important thing you can do to boost your libido is eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight, there are a number of specific foods that will have a direct effect on how amorous you feel.
Some of these foods increase male and female sex hormones, while others elevate mood or boost sperm production. The most important foods, however, play a critical role in increasing blood flow. Sex drive is all about circuitry, and foods which stimulate your nervous and circulatory systems will send more blood flowing to your sex organs, resulting in enhanced sexual arousal and performance.
Keep in mind, of course, that we are not medical professionals. You should always consult with your physician before making any dramatic changes to your diet.
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- Watermelon — Watermelon is rich with citrulline, an amino acid that helps improve blood flow to the heart and genitalia, as well as to the rest of the body.
Citrulline is highly effective at relaxing blood vessels, producing an effect similar to drugs like Viagra. Result: Increased blood flow to your sexual organs.
One note: citrulline is actually found in higher concentrations in watermelon rind than in the flesh, but there’s still plenty citrulline in the delicious flesh to make eating it worthwhile.
- Dark Chocolate — Long rumored to be an aphrodisiac, a 2006 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who ate chocolate on a daily basis had higher sexual function than those who didn’t. That’s because dark chocolate contains both serotonin, which boosts your mood, and phenylethylamine, which mimics the brain chemistry of a person in love.
- Asparagus — Asparagus is rich in folate, a B vitamin that helps increase your production of histamine. Proper levels of histamine play an essential role in sex drive for both men and women.
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- Oysters — Oysters are packed full of zinc, essential for testosterone production and the maintenance of healthy sperm. Of course, you could just take a zinc supplement, but it’s not nearly as tasty!
Oysters also boost dopamine, a hormone which results in increased libido in both men and women.
- Pumpkin seeds — Like oysters, pumpkin seeds are also extremely rich in zinc, and quite a bit cheaper. Another important note: Zinc deficiency can make a woman completely lose her sex drive.
Pumpkin seeds are also rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids, which act as a precursor of prostaglandins—hormone-like substances that play a key role in sexual health.
- Garlic — Sure, it’ll do a number on your breath, but garlic also contains allicin, an compound thought to increase blood flow to the sexual organs.
Sauerkraut — Fermented cabbage produces compounds known as isothiocyanates, shown in studies to prevent the growth of cancer cells. And if that’s not enough, it’s also packed with fiber, vitamins, calcium and minerals.
- But what we’re really interested in is its libido boosting qualities. A 2002 study published in theJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that 90 percent of men felt a noticeable libido boost after eating sauerkraut.
- Bananas — Bananas are rich in the enzyme bromelain (as are pineapples). There is some evidence that bromelain will increase libido in men, although the verdict is out on exactly why. Bananas are also good sources of potassium and B vitamins like riboflavin, helping to increase the body’s overall energy levels.
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- Avocados — With tons of vitamin B6 to increase male hormone production, and potassium to regulate a woman’s thyroid gland, avocados play a role in boosting libido for both sexes. They’re also rich in folic acid, important for energy and stamina.
- Nuts — All nuts play a role in supporting libido, since they contain high levels of essential fatty acids that are critical to the production of the hormones we all need to stay amorous. They’re also rich in L-Arginine, great for improving circulation and enhancing erectile response.
What’s more, the smell of almonds actually is purported to act as an aphrodisiac that attracts women. And pine nuts are packed with zinc, critical for healthy sperm.
- Eggs — Rich in vitamins B5 and B6, both essential to maintaining balanced hormone levels and reducing stress. Plus, eggs are an excellent source of cholesterol, an important precursor to testosterone and estrogen.
- Fish — Most fish (particularly mackerel and salmon) contain large amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, which enhance the nervous system and boost circulation. And, as we know, a huge part of healthy sex for both men and women is increasing blood flow.
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- Chilies — Chilies are hot because they have tons of capsaicin, a chemical which also increases blood flow and triggers the release of mood-enhancing endorphins.
- Nutmeg — Long used in Indian medicine to boost libido, at least one animal study has shown an extract of nutmeg to have the same effect on mating behavior as Viagra. Sprinkle some on your cappuccino.
Libido Boosting Foods Specifically for Men
Men have different dietary requirements when it comes to enhancing their performance in the bedroom. Specifically, men should consume foods high in zinc, which boosts sperm production, and foods that assist testosterone production, leading to stronger erections and an increased sex drive.
Starting around age 30, men’s testosterone levels begin to dip at a rate of about 1-2% a year. This corresponds with an overall drop in male sex hormones (androgens), a process called andropause. If a man experiences a significant drop in libido, that could indicate a medical condition. In that case they should get their teststosterone levels checked by a urologist, who may recommend testosterone replacement therapy.
But for milder cases where a man is experiencing a natural slow decline in testosterone production with age, there are ways to enhance your diet naturally to help the body produce more testosterone on its own.
- Broccoli — High in Indole-3-carbinol, a compound that helps reduce estrogen levels, broccoli is a great libido booster in men (although it can have the opposite effect in women). Brussel sprouts are also a great source of Indole-3-carbinol.
- Steak — Few foods are better at boosting testosterone than steak, plus it’s packed with protein, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Stick with grilled or broiled lean beef for best effects.
- Beans — It doesn’t matter if they’re baked, canned, red, lima, kidney or navy, beans are the top performer when it comes to zinc-rich vegetables. And they’re loaded with protein and fiber too.
- Celery — Raw celery boosts production of androsterone, an odorless hormone released through male perspiration. While you can’t smell it, androsterone apparently acts as a pheromone, triggering female attraction.
Libido Boosting Foods Specifically for Women
The best sex-drive enhancing foods for women are those that increase levels of estrogen, the female sex hormone. While most of the foods that boost libido in men have a similar effect in women, some (like broccoli) can actually diminish estrogen levels.
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- Soy — A 2008 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that a healthy dose of soy each day may boost some women’s sexual drive and arousal, apparently due to the large phytoestrogen content of soy products.
Note, however, that women with a history of breast cancer should not eat large amounts of soy, as the binding of estrogen receptors can actually increase the chances of cancer’s reoccurrence.
More Esoteric Libido-Boosting Foods
- Maca root — The lowly Lepidium meyenii or maca plant, native to the Andes, has a root that packed with minerals (especially selenium, calcium, magnesium and iron), fatty acids and amino acids.
Maca contains a chemical called p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, which reputedly has aphrodisiac properties. Small-scale clinical trials have shown that maca extracts can heighten libido in men and improve semen quality, and maca has been shown to increase mating behavior in male mice and rats.
- Goji berries — Also called Wolfberries, and available in most health food stores, these berries typically come in a dried form that’s boiled to make a tea. Goji berries are reputed to increase testosterone levels.