Lack of libido can create problems for relationships and couple’s ability to feel connected. There can be a number of factors that impact a person’s desire to “get frisky”; including psychological reasons such as stress, depression, and anxiety, medications, self-esteem, and so on. Low libido may also be due to hormones being out of balance, or circulatory problems such as poor blood flow.
Consuming a diet high in healthy fats, whole fruits and vegetables, and antioxidants is a good start to supporting a healthy libido; and avoiding trans fats and saturated fats, sugar, and processed foods can help too. But are there any foods that can specifically help boost your sex drive and performance?
Yes! Here are our top 5 foods that you might want to incorporate into you and or your partner’s diet to help keep the “fire” going or to get that “spark” started.
#1. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba is a a tree, native to China, that has been grown for thousands of years for a variety of uses. Ginkgo has the ability to improve blood levels of nitric oxide, which improves circulation via the dilation of blood vessels (1).
As a result, ginkgo biloba may also be useful for treating various symptoms of sexual dysfunction by improving blood flow to those areas of the body.
Research has been done on the use of ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. After consuming 60–120 mg of ginkgo biolba daily both male and female participants said they experienced positive effect on all 4 phases of the sexual response cycle: desire, excitement (erection and lubrication), orgasm, and resolution (afterglow), although effects appeared stronger in female participants (2). This herb can be consumed in capsule, tablet, liquid extract, and dried leaves/tea form (2).
#2. Eat Chocolate
Throughout history, chocolate has been a symbol of desire. Not just because of its delicious taste, but because of its power to improve sexual pleasure.
Dark chocolate increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, making us happy and help put us in the ‘mood’. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, which is a compound that we have been shown to produce when we are in love. Given that low mood and stress can be strongly linked with lower sex drive, a few squares of dark chocolate daily is a good way to pump up the passion. Plus, cocoa increases blood flow, which aids in stimulation during sex.
As a result, chocolate can produce some aphrodisiac feelings of love and mood-lifting effects. Although the role it plays in boosting a healthy libido may be more psychological than physical (3,4).
#3 Pistachio Nuts
Pistachios may have a variety of health benefits, including helping lower blood pressure, control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease (5,6,7).
Moreover, they may also help reduce symptoms of erectile dysfunction. In one small study, men who consumed 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of pistachio nuts per day for three weeks experienced increased blood flow to the penis and firmer erections (8).
Research shared at a 2005 conference of the American Chemical Society that oysters, clams, and scallops contain compounds that raise testosterone and estrogen levels. This is due in part to their vitamin D and zinc levels (9). A boost in healthy hormone production translates into heightened sexual desire in many cases.
As noted above, oysters are an excellent source of zinc and vitamin D. Six raw oysters contain 32 mg, or 291% of the Daily Value for zinc, and 269 IU or 67% of your Recommended Daily Intake for vitamin D; both of which can help boost testosterone levels, and subsequently aid in blood flow to sexual organs in both genders.
Don’t care for mollusks? Feast on lobster or crab instead. Both types of shellfish are loaded with zinc too (9).
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root vegetable that mainly grows in the Andes of central Peru. Maca is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. It has been used for years to enhance fertility and sex drive.
A 12-week study noted that 42% of men who took 1,500–3,000 mg of maca daily experienced an increased sex drive (10). Furthermore, in a review of 4 studies in 131 people, taking maca consistently for at least 6 weeks improved sexual desire. It also helped treat mild erectile dysfunction in men (11).
Additionally, some evidence suggests that maca may help combat the loss in libido that may occur as a side effect of certain antidepressant medications (12).
Most studies found that taking 1.5–3.5 grams daily for at least 2–12 weeks was sufficient to boost libido (13, 14). You can buy supplements in various forms including powders, capsules, and liquid extracts.
So, eat a whole foods-based diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, incorporating our top 5 foods to boost your libido, to kick your sex drive into overdrive. Feel the love!