If the Barry White soundtrack and silk sheets no longer add heat to your sex life, then it’s time to fire up your diet.
While it may be tempting to stock up on Victoria’s Secret lingerie, health experts say the key to getting back in the mood is having proper eating habits to increase energy, get pulses racing, and blood flowing in all the right places.
“There is no magic food to increase your libido, but being deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, can lead to decreased libido and blood circulation,” says New York City-based nutritionist Cindy Moustafa. “Eating foods that are high in B vitamins, zinc, vitamin E and some others are the best ways of ensuring your libido stays where it should.”
Moustafa adds the secret to getting more physical is implementing a proper meal plan rich in the nutrients needed to improve energy, circulation, and of course, increase one’s confidence.
“When you start to feel food, it changes your perception about everything, including getting your significant other in the bedroom more often,” she says.
And while those Twinkies may make you feel full, they’ll also potentially put a major damper on your evening plans.
Here are 10 must-have foods to rev up your sex life, as recommended by experts:
Popeye may have had a point when he declared, “I’m strong to the finish, ‘cause I eats me spinach.” This dark leafy green is loaded with folate, a water-soluble B vitamin that serves to help the body form red blood cells. But when it comes to the bedroom, spinach can provide a much-needed energetic boost. “Foods rich in folate are perfect for improved circulation, and if you don’t eat enough folate-rich foods, irritability and fatigue can be side effects, which is not going to help you in the sex department,” says Moustafa. “Make folic-rich foods, like spinach, a part of your daily diet.”
This tangy leaf isn’t just for spicing up bland pizza–and we couldn’t be more thankful. “Basil has anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce swelling in the body, making blood flow easier to all body parts, including those sexual organs we want to excite,” says Nikki Sharp, author of “Five Day Detox.” “It has also been known to promote sexual desire in men just by smelling it. It increases blood flow and heart rate.” While Sharp recommends adding basil to smoothies, water, soups, or salads, we think the occasional mouthwatering slice could just as easily drive anyone wild.
This sweet, warm, and comforting spice can be a key ingredient in adding some much-needed zest to your sex life. JJ Virgin, nutritionist and author of “The Virgin Diet Cookbook,” points to a 2009 study, which reveals cinnamon has the potential to reduce blood glucose levels. “Steady blood sugar equals sustained energy without spikes and crashes that can kill your mood in the bedroom,” she says.
Watermelon is worth eating not onlu because it’s delicions, but it also has the capacity to heat things up in the bedroom. “Watermelon has the potential to increase libido due to an amino acid called citrulline,” says professional health coach Lori L. Shemek. “Citrulline helps to dilate blood vessels similarly to Viagra used to treat erectile dysfunction.”A 2008 article published by AgriLife Research maintains that when watermelon is consumed, citrulline is converted to arginine, an amino acid that impacts the circulation system. “The citrulline-arginine relationship helps heart health, the immune system, and may prove to be very helpful for those who suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center. “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.
Consider trading in the black lingerie for red hot cayenne pepper instead. Grown throughout South America, this steamy spice contains the active ingredient capsaicin, which is proven to increase heart rate, metabolism, blood flow, and sweat, similar to sex. While eating too much cayenne pepper is life-threatening, a little powder in your dish will easily raise temperatures.
One of the world’s most beloved desserts has been seducing people for thousands of years. Luscious chocolate was first cultivated in Central and South America where Aztec Emperor Montezuma would reportedly indulge in up to 50 goblets of a chocolaty frothy drink every day before going to his harem. Chocolate still reigns supreme as mouthwatering enough to lure nearly any hungry admirer. “We’ve all watched a sexy scene in a movie where a man is feeding his woman chocolate-covered strawberries to woo her,” says Moustafa. “But there’s real science to this. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a chemical compound that can produce feelings of euphoria and happiness by releasing dopamine, the neurotransmitter in the brain that surges during orgasms." A 2006 study also concluded that women who’ve consumed chocolate were more likely to have an increased libido than those who didn’t. However, if you’re willing to indulge, stick to dark chocolate as it’s less processed and won’t pack on the pounds when consumed in moderation.
Garlic can do a number on your breath thanks to its pungent flavor, but surprisingly enough, it can also reportedly add some much-needed spice to sex. “While garlic may be counter-intuitive to being a food that helps your libido because of the lingering taste in your mouth, body, and skin, it’s actually one of the best,” says Virgin. “This is because of its ability to improve blood flow to organs, due to its compound allicin. Extra blood flow means more sensitivity, a double win for health and sexual benefits.” Just do your sweetie a favor and make sure to thoroughly wash and rinse your mouth after savoring a dish featuring garlic.
Chocolate, meet your match. The Totonacan women of Mexico wore vanilla bean pods on their hats to look more desirable and used vanilla bean oil to make their skin glisten. The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago also maintains that vanilla is one of the most arousing scents to older men, in particular. Consider whipping up a creamy vanilla dessert to serve for a romantic dinner for two…drizzled in chocolate, of course.
There’s a reason why oysters have always been considered an aphrodisiac. Apparently, this seafood has more zinc than any other food (76.7 mg in 6 medium oysters). According to a 1996 study, the essential mineral is key not just for overall good health, but for potentially boosting testosterone levels in men. “Zinc is essential for the release of sex hormones, such as testosterone, so each zinc-rich foods, like oysters,” says Shemek. “Zinc is very important and a zinc deficiency can show itself in reduced testosterone and sperm count–not good for the bedroom.” Not a fan of slurping on this raw dish? Shemek says zinc can also be found in meat and pumpkin seeds. Heads up: Doctors recommend no more than 40 mg a day of zinc to avoid unwanted side effects, like nausea and vomiting. Talk about a serious mood killer!
Bananas highlight potassium, an essential mineral no one can live without. Not only is it crucial for keeping your brain, nerves, and heart, in tip-top shape, but it’s also required for excellent muscle health. And nutrition experts say strong muscles are important for more intense contractions during orgasms.