When it comes to improving specific areas of the body, one of the first places many people turn to is food. This is because our diets and food choices can not only better our overall health but can directly impact different aspects of wellness. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the search for the best foods that increase libido naturally has been ongoing.
Libido, aka sex drive, is affected by a variety of internal and external factors, including hormone levels, medications, and sleep habits. Everyone’s libido is different, but it’s common for males and females alike to experience fluctuations over time. This, in part, is why humanity has obsessed over libido-boosting foods for thousands of years.
Foods that Improve Libido Naturally
Foods that may help people improve libido are commonly called aphrodisiacs, after Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love. Throughout human history, specific foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for increasing sex drive.
For instance, in ancient Egypt, couples dined on wine-soaked lily flowers before a night of passion. Some aphrodisiacs since then have been pretty unappetizing, such as sea cucumbers, ants and other insects, and even cobra blood. Fortunately, nature has given us plenty of more appealing options when it comes to foods that increase libido naturally. And modern-day aphrodisiacs have progressed to even commonly eaten foods. Here are 10 popular options:
The antioxidants in strawberries help stimulate circulation. Plus, they’re a decent source of zinc and are high in vitamin C, a vitamin that might boost libido.
2. Raw Oysters
Oysters are among the most famous aphrodisiacs in history. Their effects may be due to their zinc content, which some research suggests can raise testosterone levels and sperm production.
Avocados are another healthy source of folate and vitamin B6, which can help stimulate the production of sex hormones and arousal.
Figs are packed with antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber, and potassium. Figs increase libido in both males and females because of their high levels of amino acids.
Potassium, the main nutrient bananas are known for, supports the production of testosterone, the male sex hormone, which may boost libido. Tryptophan, also found in bananas, helps increase the secretion of serotonin, a hormone that lifts mood.
Fenugreek is a popular herb in alternative medicine that may help enhance libido and improve sexual function. It contains compounds your body may use to produce sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.
7. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate promotes the release of the chemicals like serotonin, which can produce some aphrodisiac and mood-lifting effects. Serotonin may also be involved in the regulation of blood flow, which could be responsible for some of its libido-boosting properties.
This Italian herb improves circulation. Anything good for the heart and blood flow is also good for the libido. Basil also has a warming effect on the body that may enhance arousal.
With high amounts of vitamins E, B6, and folate, asparagus may both support the production of sex hormones and help stimulate arousal in both men and women.
Nuts and whole grains, in general, contain arginine, which is important to blood flow, especially during arousal. Nuts, seeds, and grains are also rich in essential fatty acids crucial in the production of hormones for both men and women.
5 Supplements That Increase Libido Naturally
In addition to the foods above, some supplements show promise for helping support a healthy libido. These include:
L-citrulline is an amino acid naturally produced by the body. The body then converts it into L-arginine, which helps support improved blood flow by producing nitric oxide to dilate your blood vessels. L-citrulline is available as a dietary supplement in capsule or powder form, and it’s also naturally present in foods like watermelon, dark chocolate, and nuts.
Tribulus (Tribulus Terrestris) is a small leafy plant with roots and fruit that are popular in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. It’s also widely available as a sports supplement and commonly marketed to boost testosterone levels and improve libido.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a Peruvian root that has long been used by the local population to increase strength, stamina, energy, fertility, and libido for men and women. You can buy supplements in various forms, including powders, capsules, and liquid extracts.
Ginseng, red ginseng in particular, may aid libido and improve sexual function. In addition, red ginseng may boost the production of nitric oxide. Remember, nitric oxide helps aid blood circulation.
5. Gingko Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is a popular herbal supplement in traditional Chinese medicine. According to some research, it may affect various issues, including low libido. This is because it may raise blood levels of nitric oxide, which aids blood flow by promoting the expansion of blood vessels.
Other Tips to Increase Libido Naturally
While all of the above foods and supplements are linked to increasing libido, it’s worth noting that many aphrodisiacs do not have a large backing of scientific evidence. Plus, even some natural products may have negative effects or interfere with any medications you may be using. If you’re thinking of trying a supplement to boost libido, please talk with your doctor or a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner first.
Even more, regardless of the research indicating possible links between particular foods and increased libido, those seeking the best foods for boosting libido should ensure they are eating a balanced, heart-healthy diet. Ensuring the circulatory system is healthy and working well is vital for sexual health.
According to The American Heart Association, you can support your circulatory system with a diet that includes:
- a wide range of fruits and vegetables (with 5 to 10 servings per day)
- whole grains and other fiber-rich foods
- olive oil, seafood, and nuts, which are rich in essential fatty acids
- and legumes
Likewise, there are many steps you can take to increase libido naturally that extend beyond aphrodisiac foods and supplements. For example, practicing stress-relieving techniques, improving sleep, and adjusting your diet and lifestyle have all been shown to support a healthy sex drive.