When there’s a slump in our sex life, it’s common for many of us to seek medical sexual stimulants, like Viagra, to help boost our libido.
But these types of pharmaceutical solutions can sometimes result in possible side effects.
For those looking for an alternative to prescription or over-the-counter medication, while reducing the risk of side effects associated with them, many foods have been known to have aphrodisiac properties to help boost your sex drive.
What is an aphrodisiac?
An aphrodisiac is a substance or food that increases sexual desire, arousal, performance and pleasure in men and women.
These can range from plants, herbs, spices, foods and chemicals that are natural or unnatural.
There are various reasons people want to take aphrodisiacs to improve their sex life, such as to:
- Boost low libido
- Improve sexual performance
- Have more pleasurable sex
- Build a healthier relationship
- Treat sexual dysfunctions (such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, sexual arousal disorder, and orgasmic disorder)
There are many health benefits linked to sex. A good sex life is known to be an important part of a happy and healthy relationship and can even improve your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
What foods are aphrodisiacs?
Food science researchers have discovered many connections between certain foods and their ability to boost sexual desire.
Many foods have ‘feel good’ compounds that can make and boost sex hormone levels, and their effect on men and women can vary.
Below are the most common natural aphrodisiac foods widely believed to help put you in the mood and spice up your sex life.
Historically, chocolate has been purported to have an aphrodisiac effect, particularly in women. It has the power to increase the production of serotonin and phenylethylamine in the body, which are hormones responsible for feelings of wellbeing, excitement and happiness. It also contains an alkaloid, a stimulant that increases energy and libido, and magnesium found in chocolate also helps to relax, providing a more conducive mood for sex.
Tip: Try dark chocolate that is at least 75% cacao
Fresh oysters are an energetic food full of phosphorus, iodine and zinc, which is believed to increase testosterone and sperm production in men and vaginal lubrication in women. It also contains dopamine, a brain chemical that increases sexual desire.
Hot chilli peppers
Capsaicin, the compound that makes chilli peppers spicy, stimulates nerve-endings on the tongue, releasing epinephrine (adrenaline), endorphins, and sex-drive-boosting chemicals. It also increases our metabolism, giving us a warm and exciting feeling in the body, provoking very active sexual stimuli in men and women.
As well as containing the colour of passion and being considered a symbol of sensuality, strawberries are considered a good aphrodisiac for having a high concentration of vitamin C, which improves our blood flow and is vital for the production of sex hormones and chemical neurotransmitters in the brain to increase libido. It also contains zinc, which is a nutrient most associated with sex, as it governs testosterone, and is said to prepare a woman’s body for sex more quickly.
Tip: Consume a handful of strawberries before sex
Peanut is a food with high energy value. They contain a high concentration of vitamin B3, responsible for helping with blood vasodilation (increasing circulation), and consequently, libido and the growth of sexual appetite. Like most oilseed, hazelnuts and walnuts also promote greater circulation, helping erection and libido.
Royal jelly and honey
Royal jelly has the power to stimulate the nervous system to the genital region. Not only is it supposed to increase sexual desire and libido but stamina and fertility too. A study revealed that it can also increase sperm count and plasma testosterone levels in men.
Honey, in turn, has been said to help produce and regulate sexual hormones and nitric oxide, increasing sexual appetite. Nitric oxide can help blood vessels widen, increasing blood flow and helping create erections and clitoral engorgement.
Maca, also known as the ‘Peruvian Viagra’, is a sweet root vegetable that is rich in magnesium and fibre and can increase energy, stamina, fertility, and libido.
A small study has even indicated that the maca root can help reduce the loss of libido incited by antidepressant drugs.
Figs are luscious fruit known for their aromatic and sensual scent and texture. They are a great sexual stimulant that is loaded with amino acids, which boosts sexual stamina and increases libido. They are also believed to enhance fertility and the secretion of pheromones, which is described as a chemical factor that triggers a social response from others.
This vegetable is known to be a sexual booster. It contains a high amount of vitamin E, which can increase blood and oxygen flow to the genitals, and potassium, which is related to sex hormone production.
Other natural aphrodisiac foods and herbs to try
- Banana: Bananas are a great source of vitamin B6, in addition to omega 3, potassium and other enzymes that stimulate the production of serotonin and encourages an increase in libido
- Ginseng: This herbal supplement, used for centuries in Chinese medicine, can help the release of nitric oxide, among other components, increasing sexual desire and helping erection
- Ginkgo biloba: Originated in China, Ginkgo biloba is a plant that improves circulation in blood vessels, increases the sensitivity of genitalia, and contributes to improved sex drive
- Blueberry: This fruit has substances that help to relax the blood vessels, increasing the flow of blood and promoting a longer erection for men
- Saffron: This is a Southwest Asian spice derived from the crocus sativus flower. It’s very popular for its potential aphrodisiac properties, improving erectile dysfunction in men and higher levels of arousal and increased lubrication in women
Avoid self-medication and see your doctor
All aphrodisiac foods and stimulants mentioned above are natural and free from chemical modifications and manipulations.
For some people, they are a healthier and safer method for sexual enhancement and boosting libido.
It’s worth noting that many of the aforementioned aphrodisiac foods have not been backed or lack robust scientific evidence, while some may also have negative side effects.
Always consult your doctor before choosing to supplement or substitute prescribed medication for natural aphrodisiac foods.
If you are already experiencing problems with sexual dysfunction or low libido and need support, please consult your doctor to find the appropriate treatment for you.