Munch on these five healthy foods for an increased libido (iStock)

If you’re more excited to sleep than have sex in the bedroom, your sex drive might need a little boost. A low libido can happen at any point in your life for a variety of reasons. Studies show that 32 percent of women and 15 percent of men lack the desire to have sex regularly. A few potential causes of a decreased sex drive could be due to depression, stress, obesity or certain medications.

Rather than heading out to purchase new lingerie, a trip to the nearest grocery store might help. Not only does eating healthy foods help you feel better about yourself, and in turn boost your confidence, a healthy diet can also increase your mood, energy levels and stamina, which all contribute to boosting your libido. In addition to an overall healthy diet, research shows specific foods and nutrients can help sizzle things up in the bedroom. Be sure to include these five foods in your diet to supercharge your sex drive.

Avocados

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A source of vitamin E for healthy skin and nails, avocados also provide potassium, vitamin B6 and monounsaturated fats for a healthy heart and circulation, which is critical for an active sex life. Studies show men with heart disease are twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction as both conditions can result from artery damage. Try some mashed avocado on your toast in the morning, or add slices to your sandwich or salad.

Chocolate (and Cocoa Powder)

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One of the most popular foods for its indulgent flavor, chocolate can help boost your mood by increasing both dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, also known as your “feel good” neurotransmitters. In addition, chocolate offers varying amounts of flavanols (a naturally occurring antioxidant in cocoa) that helps relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. Since the amount (and therefore benefits) of cocoa flavanols vary greatly in chocolate depending on the brand and how it’s processed, it’s best to get your cocoa flavanols from unsweetened cocoa powder or a fortified powder from a major manufacturer that guarantees at least 200 mg in a serving.

Fatty Fish

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You may have heard that fatty fish like tuna, sardines and salmon are swimming with omega-3 fatty acids, which are not only good for your heart but also raise levels of dopamine in the brain that improve circulation and blood flow. Fish is also high in protein and a good source of vitamin B-6, which aids in healthy blood production. For example, just one ¼ cup serving of wild-caught Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna provides nearly 25 percent of your daily need for protein and 10 percent of your daily need for vitamin B-6, along with omega-3 fatty acids. Who knew a tuna fish sandwich could put you in the mood?

Green Tea

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Could a hot cup of tea heat up your sex life? Green tea is rich in compounds called catechins, which in addition to helping reduce belly fat has been shown to help promote blood flow for a better sex life. Catechins promote blood flow in two ways. First, they kill off free radicals that damage and inflame blood vessels, increasing their ability to transport blood. Second, they cause blood vessel cells to release nitric oxide, which increases the size of the blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow. In addition to a hot mug of green tea, try adding it in your morning oatmeal, blend up a green tea smoothie or add some green tea powder to your yogurt or baked goods.

Pumpkin Seeds

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One of the best plant sources of zinc, pumpkin seeds (or papitas) also contain protein, fiber, potassium and iron. Important for immune function, wound healing and eye health, zinc also plays a role in a man’s sex drive as having a zinc deficiency can lead to low testosterone. While it’s not exactly understood why a lack of zinc impacts testosterone, the mineral may affect the cells in the testes that produce testosterone. One study found that men who received 30 milligrams of zinc per day showed increased levels of free testosterone in their bodies. Enjoy pumpkin seeds for a snack, or add them to your salad or cooked grains for a little crunch.

The visual (red color) and eat-it-with-your-hands qualities of watermelon may also lend to its libido-boosting effect, Lamb adds. Plus, watermelon is super satisfying (since, you know, it’s roughly 90 percent water), making it the perfect low-calorie snack.

Korean red ginseng

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Less common than “white” ginseng, Korean red ginseng contains chemical compounds called “ginsenosides,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Studies show these compounds may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Other research has linked red ginseng supplementation to an increase in sexual arousal among menopausal women.

On the other hand, a 2015 paper of aphrodisiac foods in Sexual Medicine Reviews concluded that the data on red ginseng is inconclusive. Also, long-term use of red ginseng—or taking it alongside prescription drugs—may lead to headaches, digestive problems, or blood pressure issues, the NIH warns. If you want to try it now and then to boost libido, the NIH says that kind of short-term use appears to be safe. But taking it daily may be risky, so talk to your doc before you give it a go.

Crab legs

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Crab legs are high in zinc, a mineral that not only supports performance but endurance, says Jessica Swift, RD, a registered dietitian in Washington, D.C. One serving of crab has almost all of your recommended daily value of zinc. Go light on the butter as you want to maximize your health benefits in this meal.

Chickpeas

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Chickpeas are full of vitamin B6, which is essential for a healthy sex drive and increasing your libido, says Swift. They may also help to regulate the production of testosterone (vital for sex drive) and dopamine (the feel-good hormone). Try this sheet pan chicken tikka with cauliflower and chickpeas recipe for a quick weeknight meal.

Dark chocolate

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Dark chocolate (70 percent or higher) contains compounds that actually boost the release of feel-good hormones, putting you in the mood for some togetherness, says Brigitte Zeitlin, RD, founder of BZ Nutrition in New York City. Pair it with some dried apricots, as the amino acids in the fruits can give you a boost of energy.

Cayenne pepper

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Capsaicin is the main compound in cayenne pepper that gives the spice its zesty kick. It will also give your libido a boost because it improves circulation and elevates blood flow, Zeitlin says. Try seasoning fish, chicken, or beef with some cayenne pepper to infuse some heat.

Red wine

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“Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that promotes good blood flow and circulation, including to the genitals,” says Alyssa Dweck, MD, an OBGYN in Westchester, NY. “However, this is one item to consume in moderation. Too much of a good thing is not good in this case,” she adds.

Pistachios

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Pistachios provide healthy fats that might enhance blood flow and improve erectile dysfunction, Dr. Dweck says. Bake up a batch of these apricot and pistachio biscotti, or add pistachios to pesto for more nutty goodness in this roasted veggie pasta with parsley and pistachio pesto recipe.

Bananas

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Bananas are rich in potassium, which promotes healthy blood pressure levels and strong muscles. Potassium might also help reduce leg cramps, which can sometimes be a real problem in the bedroom, Dr. Dweck says. Add a frozen banana to your post-workout smoothie or add banana slices to overnight oats for some natural sweetness.

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Avocados are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, a nutrient that’s essential to hormone production and sexual response. Just one-third of an avocado contributes around 20 vitamins and minerals that promote good overall health. Enjoy avocado toast, whip up some guacamole, or add a few slices to your salads and sandwiches.

Honey

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Honey can help enhance sexual stamina by boosting energy levels, Dr. Dweck says. Manuka honey, in particular, boasts plenty of health benefits as well, from treating acne to improving gut health. Add a touch of honey to a warm cup of tea to soothe a sore throat or in a homemade salad dressing to balance the acidity of balsamic vinegar.

Almonds

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Almonds contain protein and healthy fats, which are nutrients that provide you with slow, sustained energy for a romantic night ahead, says Christy Brissette, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago.

“Almonds are an excellent source of magnesium and vitamin E, an antioxidant that promotes blood flow and prevents clotting. This is important because blood flow to the right places is essential for getting in the mood,” she says. “Magnesium also helps regulate blood pressure levels along with muscle and nerve function. High blood pressure is a common cause of erectile dysfunction.”

Eggs

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Eggs have long been a symbol of fertility in cultures throughout the world, and they might be a good go-to for getting in the mood if you’re trying to start a family. Two large eggs provide 12 grams of high-quality protein along with 13 essential nutrients, like riboflavin, pantothenic acid and selenium, Brissette says. Riboflavin plays a key role in energy production, while pantothenic acid helps regulate sex hormone production and selenium can aid in reproduction.

Beetroot and leafy greens

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“For increased blood flow, you want to increase your intake of beetroot and green leafy veggies. They help boost the production of nitric oxide (NO),” says Felice Gersh, MD, an OBGYN in Irvine, California. “NO helps dilate arteries and keeps the blood flowing freely and well.” Try this charred garden greens with shaved beets salad recipe and these beet-berry cakes to get your fill of the red veggie.

Markham Heid Markham Heid is an experienced health reporter and writer, has contributed to outlets like TIME, Men’s Health, and Everyday Health, and has received reporting awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Maryland, Delaware, and D.C.

Supercharge Your Libido

Just like a car stops without gas, our libido needs to fuel to function. If your love life has taken a dip, the spark in your step has waned, or your drive and energy for sex and pleasure has burnt out, I have good news for you!

There are certain foods and nutrients that you can choose to enjoy thriving health, pleasure, and a supercharged sex life. Just as our body requires adequate amounts of nutrients to function properly, there are specific nutrients needed to fire all the hormones involved in a vibrant libido.

Your body simply can’t enjoy great sex if the proper nutrients aren’t available to make it function. And this is true for everyone. Single or coupled.
For example, B vitamins are crucial for reaction and response between lovers and for adequate blood flow to sex organs. Vitamin B3 is needed for the flush of blood to skin and organs that increase orgasm, and B1 is needed for proper nerve signaling and the production of energy.
Vitamin C, apart from increasing your immune system, is used by the body to support hormone synthesis that will help improve mood and sexual desire.
Minerals like selenium, zinc, and magnesium are also crucial for sperm production in males, the production of testosterone and other sexual hormones in both men and women, and in supporting the neurotransmitters that allow you to be ‘turned on’.
When you are looking for loved up foods to boost libido and pleasure, I am looking for things that will provide the specific nutrients that support sexual energy. I am especially looking for nutrient dense foods that increase activity in what is called the mesolimbic dopamine pathway which is the governing center for libido; supporting neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, bonding and feel good hormone oxytocin, mood boosting serotonin, norepinephrine and acetylcholine. We want to keep this pathway open and flowing!

Read on to learn 5 foods to boost your life between the sheets and bring back your sexual sparkle!

1. Maca:

This root vegetable, found in health food stores in powder form is native to Peru’s Andes region, has been used for centuries for fertility, arousal, and hot flashes.
Researchers found a few promising studies that indicate it might help healthy menopausal women with sexual dysfunction, as well as men with erectile dysfunction. Maca is also an adaptogenic food; regulating and balancing hormones for fertility, libido and energy.

2. Cacao:

Chocolate increases both serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, giving us feelings of pleasure, happiness, and lowering our stress levels. — Chocolate can be a great <<mood>> booster if you know what I mean! Cacao also increases blood flow through the arteries and releases blood vessels–sending blood to all the right areas.

3. Pine Nuts:

Zinc is the key mineral necessary to maintain sexual potency and pine nuts are super rich in zinc with around 58% of your daily requirement in a small serving. Pine nuts have been used to stimulate the libido as far back as Medieval times. Serve them sprinkled on salads or in a classic pesto to spark up some lovin’.

4. Pumpkin Seeds:

If mood is the obstacle to an adventurous sex life, pumpkin seeds could be your new best friend-with benefits! These guys are like crunchy little Prozac pills. They are one of the best food sources of an amino acid known as tryptophan, which helps the production of serotonin in your brain. Pumpkin seeds help the brain to circulate serotonin–crucial to a sexy mood!

5. Oily Fish:

It’s no secret that oily fish like wild salmon, sardines, and tuna are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, but here’s what you mightn’t know: Omega 3’s raise dopamine levels in the brain. The is good news for lovers, as a spike in dopamine improves circulation and blood flow, triggering arousal. Dopamine will help you feel more relaxed and connected to your partner, which makes intimacy more fun!

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20 Foods To Boost Libido & Sex Drive In Men & Women

17

Blueberries

Blueberries make things harder, but in a good way. According to a joint study from the University of East Anglia and Harvard University, eating flavonoid-rich foods is associated with a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction. Of the six main types of flavonoids, three in particular—anthocyanins (found in blueberries), flavanones and flavones (both found in citrus fruits)—offer the greatest benefits in preventing erectile dysfunction.

18

Nuts

Here’s how nuts can boost sexual stamina: Pistachios, peanuts, and walnuts all contain the amino acid L-arginine, which is one of the building blocks of nitric oxide—a naturally-occurring gas that helps guys maintain their erections. Plus, nuts also help reduce cholesterol levels. The less cholesterol you have in your system, the easier it is for blood to circulate throughout your body, which can help you maintain a firmer erection longer. Stay hard and lose your belly with these killer snack foods for weight loss.

19

Garlic

According to historians, ancient Egyptians used garlic to boost their sex drive and stamina. While they didn’t have modern-day science to confirm that it actually worked, they were most certainly onto something. Researchers have confirmed that consuming the plant helps stop the formation of new fatty deposits, called nanoplaques, inside arterial walls. Yes, that includes the arteries leading to your penis, too. Keep your heart healthy and your erections strong by adding some of the kitchen staples to your weekly dishes. But bear in mind that garlic won’t make your breath smell particularly seductive, so keep it out of your date-night diet.

20

Oats

If you want to go long enough to help your date reach the big-O (hint: you should), reach for some oatmeal. The popular breakfast cereal is a good source of l-arginine, an amino acid commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction. Plus, whole grains like oatmeal also help lower cholesterol levels. Having high cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, a condition that clogs and narrows arteries, impairing blood flow. This could eventually lead to heart problems, but you’ll likely notice issues below the belt first. The arteries surrounding the genital area are narrower than coronary blood vessels, so they’re more susceptible to clots. Simply put, the better your cholesterol levels are, the better your erection will be, too.

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How about what a guy eats? Is there any link between food and sexual performance?

Absolutely! This is a big topic, of course. I’m going to focus here on a few of the key food nutrients that have a clear link to sexual performance.

First are foods that promote the production of a key chemical in the body called nitric oxide. This is actually a gas that is released in minute amounts and is vital to both healthy blood vessels and the ability to get an erection. Nitric oxide is made from an amino acid called arginine. The following foods are rich in arginine:

  • Beans
  • Soy products
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Oats
  • Cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna

Another class of nutrients important for sexual health are the bioflavonoids. These are plant compounds that work like antioxidants, scavenging byproducts of the body’s metabolism or harmful molecules resulting from exposure to environmental pollutants like smog, cigarette smoke or pesticides. Fruits and vegetables are the main sources of bioflavonoids. The table shows the types of bioflavonoids and some of the best food sources for each.

What’s the buzz with pomegranate juice? It seems like the latest cure for what ails you…including a drooping sex drive.

Pomegranate juice is great stuff. Expensive, but great. It’s packed with vitamins and natural antioxidants. Although, as mentioned before, taking additional antioxidants in the form of mega-doses of vitamins or supplements hasn’t been shown to increase fertility, keeping natural sources of antioxidants in our diet (such as from blueberries, broccoli, and a host of other fruits and vegetables) is probably what nature intends. Research from several quarters suggests that natural antioxidants are “heart healthy” and may reduce the buildup of plaques that could clog arteries. As I’ve said repeatedly, what’s good for the heart is good for the penis, so having a glass of pomegranate juice every day is probably a good thing.

Okay, got it. Pomegranate juice is a good way to get some antioxidants. Never mind that it costs five bucks at Whole Foods – it’s worth it! What about other sources – in foods, for example?

Lots of foods contain antioxidants, and they’ll all help a guy’s sexual health. As you’ll see, many of these foods also contain the other nutrients we’ve been talking about. The general message is obvious: Fresh, whole foods are always going to be better for you than refined or processed foods. Here are some of the best foods for upping your antioxidant levels:

  • Berries
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pomegranates
  • Ginger
  • Citrus fruits
  • Beans
  • Kale
  • Red cabbage
  • Artichoke
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Garlic

Other foods to help boost sexual performance:

  • Anthocyanidins found in berries, cherries, grapes, fruit skins and true fruit juices
  • Catechins found in true teas (not herbal teas)
  • Flavanones found in citrus food sources
  • Flavones found in grains, celery, parsley and other herbs
  • Flavonols found in grapefruit, oranges, apple kin, berries, onions, endive, radishes, tomatoes, leeks, broccoli and red wine

Used with permission from Size Matters.

OB/GYN Help

4. Nuts and seeds

Pumpkin seeds are extremely rich in zinc and promote the health of the male prostate gland.

Nuts are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which act as a precursor of prostaglandins hormone-like substances important for sexual health.

Cashews and almonds are chock-full of zinc, as a host of healthy snacks containing L-arginine which is one of the building blocks of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring gas that helps men maintain their erections.

Nuts also help reduce cholesterol levels.

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The less cholesterol you have in your system, the easier it is for blood to circulate throughout the body and down the penis, which can help maintain a firmer erection longer.

Walnuts are doubly helpful in the love department, as they are also rich in omega-3s.

  1. Pomegranate

Pomegranate has been linked to antioxidants that support blood flow.

They are rich in nutrients that are essential for the production of sperm and antioxidants, which help promote blood support.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research and performed at the Male Clinic in Beverly Hills found that pomegranate juice, such as POM Wonderful, had a positive effect on erectile dysfunction.

  1. Garlic

Researchers have confirmed that consuming garlic helps stop the formation of new fatty deposits, called Nano plaques, inside arterial walls. It includes the arteries leading to the penis too.

The pungent herb is a natural blood thinner often used to prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The anticoagulant properties help ensure plenty of blood flow to nether regions. You and your partner can both benefit from a healthy dose of garlic before an amorous evening.

7. Omega-3s

Omega-3s help prevent the build-up of plaque in arteries, thus improving blood flow throughout the body, as well as tuna and halibut, might be the key to enhancing your sex life.

  1. Red Wine

As much as it sounds pretty obvious, research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that one to two glasses of red wine a day increased sexual desire and lubrication in women.

Women who drink one to two glasses have high sexual desire compared to ladies who don’t drink any per a Journal of Sexual Medicine.

  1. Bananas

Bananas are one of the top sources of potassium, which helps to counteract the effects of foods high in sodium.

  1. Oysters

Oysters are brimming with zinc, a mineral that elevates testosterone while simultaneously boosting growth factor hormone. Both enhance muscle growth and physical performance in and out of the bedroom.

Oysters are also an excellent source of zinc, which aids blood flow to sexual organs in both genders.

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Want to spice up your sex life? These 7 foods will boost his libido

If your action in the bedroom has been a little lacklustre lately, you might need to introduce these foods into to his diet.

Properties in foods such as dark chocolate, nuts and fish can help improve sex drive, which is not just good for the relationship but also good for your health.

Recent studies have found that getting between the sheets several times a week, for men, can lead to healthier blood vessels, increases circulation and decreases their chances of a heart attack or stroke.

According to UK nutritionists Charlie Turner and Lee Foster, founders of Neat Nurition, there are some every day, readily available foods that can lift his libido.

The pair told The Sun, these are the seven foods they recommend men eat if they want to spice up their sex life.

Nutritionists Charlie Turner and Lee Foster say eating these supermarket-available foods can spice up your sex life. Source: iStock

Dark chocolate has always been considered the healthier alternative to milk and white chocolate but there might be yet another reason to have some after dinner.

According to Charlie and Lee, it increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which makes us happier and more like to be “in the mood”.

It also increases blood flow and relaxes blood vessels – sending blood to all the right places.

Nuts do not discriminate.

Almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and peanuts are all believed to increase libido and reverse impotence in men – they provide the raw material for a man’s healthy production of hormones.

Dark chocolates and nuts are both good at increasing hormone production in men. Source: iStock

Forget the little blue pill, Charlie and Lee say garlic can help with the effects of erectile dysfunction

While it might be the last thing you want your partner to eat before a night of passion, it increases blood flow and contains high levels of allicin.

Gum anyone?

Broccoli and celery

We’ve all heard that greens are good for us… but there could be an added bonus to men eating both broccoli and celery.

The boys say these foods can “spark your sexual appetite and increase libido”.

Celery contains androsterone, which is an odourless hormone released through male sweat and acts as a turn-on for women.

While broccoli increases testosterone by helping to remove excess oestrogen.

Fish

While it’s not fish per say that’s linked to increased libido, it’s Vitamins B rich foods that can help ignite things down below.

Fish contains Vitamin B3, which is in charge of anaerobic metabolism and provides sexual energy and raises blood flow to the genitals.

While the B6 regulates prolactin, responsible for levels of sexual enjoyment in men.

If fish is not your thing, you could try spinach leaves, legumes or brown rice as alternatives.

Nutritionists recommend more broccoli and fish to boost sex drive. Source: iStock

Porridge is a staple winter warmer breakfast.

Turns out that could also help with things in the bedroom, given that oats increase the amount of testosterone in the bloodstream.

Research out of San Francisco’s Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality found that including oats in your diet improved men’s libidos in just 8 weeks.

Whey protein

When it comes to whey protein, it’s not just good for bulking up.

Men consuming protein rich in whey can increase testosterone levels, which in turn aids sexual desire as well as performance and satisfaction.

Whey protein is also on the list to increase testosterone levels. Source: iStock

Food to increase libido

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