Want to improve your sexual drive? We’ve all heard the claims about oysters, chocolate and even strawberries being aphrodisiacs increasing sexual arousal and desire. A quick Google search will give you an even longer list of foods that are supposedly the ones to eat to get you in the mood. From avocados, to kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, broccoli, watermelon and walnuts. The list goes on and on. That all sounds amazing, there’s something there for everyone! However, before you get too excited, sadly there is very little scientific evidence as their role as aphrodisiacs. For instance research on the libido enhancing properties of oysters has only been conducted in rats and as yet there are no studies to support the effect in humans.
It’s not all doom and gloom though when it comes to improving sex drive. Although there isn’t specific research looking at the direct effect of foods and increased libido there is plenty of evidence in relation to foods and their effect on the production of testosterone and increased blood flow. This is very relevant because testosterone boosts sexual desire in both males and females and blood flow to the sexual organs is needed for sexual performance and pleasure.
Oysters, Prawns, Pumpkin Seeds, Pine Nuts, Beef & Lamb
These foods are rich in the mineral zinc. Zinc is vital to reproductive health. It’s needed in the production of the tail of sperm and ovulation and importantly regulates levels of testosterone. Low levels of testosterone have been shown to adversely influence arousal and desire.
Salmon, lamb, eggs, nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts) and pumpkin seeds
All these protein foods contain the amino acid arginine. Arginine is a precursor of the compound nitric oxide (in other words it gets converted into nitric oxide in the body). The inner lining of the arteries, the endothelial layer, produces nitric oxide and when it is released into blood causes the blood vessels relax. This increases blood flow and that of course includes blood flow to the sexual organs. In women a reduced blood circulation to the pelvis and clitoris is associated with reduced lubrication and orgasm and in men blood circulation is needed for erectile function.
Is high in natural nitrates that in the body are converted into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to relax and hence increasing blood flow to sexual organs.
Blueberries, blackberries and red onions
It is the flavonoid compounds anthocyanins that give these foods their deep purple colour. When anthocyanins are taken up by the endothelial layer they stimulate the release of nitric oxide leading to the relaxation of the blood vessels and increased blood flow.
Cacao contains compounds that enhance our mood contributing to feelings of happiness and euphoria. Anadamide enhances feelings of pleasure and phenylethylamine (PEA) boosts our mood. These compounds are present in high concentrations in raw cacao but during the processing into chocolate much is lost. The better the quality the chocolate and the higher the concentration of cacao solids the more of these compounds will remain. Eating a good quality chocolate with 70% or more cacao solids is recommended.
Cacao is also full of flavonoids that cause the cells lining the blood vessels to relax by stimulating the release of nitric oxide. Another benefit of cacao is its high concentration of magnesium that encourages relaxation of the muscle in blood vessel walls. Both the flavonoid and magnesium content of chocolate will increase blood flow to the sexual organs.