You have heard it over and over, you are what you eat. While many of the foods you consume have a direct impact on your hormones, brain chemistry, energy, and stress levels, some also may serve a more direct purpose: I am talking about aphrodisiacs.
There is a great deal of myth, smoke and mirrors surrounding foods that supposedly boost your sex life, and throughout history, various edibles have been hailed as intense aphrodisiacs. Of course they are not potions to magically make sex better, but some really do boost body temperature, making you more susceptible to getting your 'groove going'; some provide instant energy; some help produce sex hormones; and still others spark neurotransmitters that trigger the feel good feelings of love or arousal.
Love foods that stimulate desire are prized in cultures worldwide. These foods have circulatory, relaxant and muscle strengthening effects, or visual, tactile or sensory impact that stimulates the psyche. The brain, after all is the largest sexual organ in the body.
With Valentine's day approaching, you may be looking for something a little more than Barry White and candles to get in the mood. Perhaps grabbing some silverware and experimenting with a few new and special foods can further help you feeling a little frisky.
Oysters have long been on the top of the list of libido enhancing foods. Cleopatra and Casanova had one thing in common, they loved oysters. Legend has it that Casanova ate dozens of oysters per day. The Venetian romancer reportedly once seduced a vestal virgin by seductively sliding an oyster from his mouth to hers. Current research proves this ancient wisdom. Oysters improve dopamine levels which boosts libido in men and women. Oysters are also high in zinc which is vital for testosterone production and healthy sperm.
2. Cocoa or Dark Chocolate.
All chocolate comes from cacao beans. In its processed form it is known as cocoa. The Mayans referred to cacao as nourishment of the Gods. Modern day foodies know pure, raw cacao is a super-food. It has more antioxidants than green tea or red wine. It also contains a stimulating chemical known as phenylethylamine, that stimulates the sense of excitement and well being.
Legend has it figs were one of Cleopatra’s favorite foods. Historically, figs have been prized as a sensual food for their resemblance of the female sex organs. The ancient Greeks valued figs more precious than gold and many cultures associated figs with fertility.
Rich in B vitamins, organic raw honey supports testosterone production, which can increase desire. It also contains the boron used in estrogen production, which is important for female desire. Be sure to purchase local if possible and from an ethical source.
Known by many as the 'natural Viagra of Peru,' this root has been known throughout Peru’s history as a sex-enhancing food prized by the Inca. According researchers, the maca plant is used by the Peruvian culture to increase strength, stamina, energy, fertility, and libido. this definitely sounds like a winning combination! Although a definite acquired taste, it may be worth adding to your foods for that extra 'boost'.
This expensive, earthy fungus has a pungent flavor with an aphrodisiac reputation extending back to ancient Roman times. The scent is believed to mimic andosterone, which serves as an attractant to the opposite sex. If you buying a truffle to shave over your eggs, meat or vegetables is not in your budget, you may want to try a few wild mushrooms instead.
7. Sea Vegetables.
Many cultures value sea vegetables for their aphrodisiac properties. Sea vegetables are high in vitamins B1 and B2, which aid in production of sex hormones. They also provide a source of manganese, iodine, and selenium, which may all have an effect on metabolism and mood.
8. Pumpkin Seeds.
Like oysters, pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which is essential for healthy sperm production and preventing testosterone deficiency in men. They are also loaded with the libido boosting vitamins and minerals vitamins B, E, C, D, K, calcium, potassium, niacin, and phosphorous.
Known for its suggestive shape, asparagus is high in folate which is know to aid in increasing the production of histamine. Histamine is important for a healthy sex drive in men and women. The most delicious asparagus is just picked; it is so sweet! Grow your own or buy it fresh and organic at your local farmers market.
The phytochemical that makes chilies hot, capsaicin, can actually stimulate your libido too. This is often the reason you my feel a natural high or adrenaline rush when eating spicy foods. Capsaicin promotes the release of chemicals that can raise your heart rate and trigger the release of endorphins that give you a natural high, which pumps that libido!
The ancient Aztecs referred to the avocado as 'ahuacatl,' or (loosely translated) testicle due to its shapely form. The Catholic Spanish priests found avocados so sexy, the forbade their parishioners to eat them.
12. Sweet Potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium, which combats high blood pressure, a condition that is associated with a higher risk of erectile dysfunction. Sweet potatoes are also rich in beta-carotene, providing the body with plenty of vitamin A, which boosts fertility by promoting better cervical fluid.
Raw garlic anyone? Eating raw garlic may make your partner turn the other way in bed, but it can certainly stir up your sexual desire. The heat in garlic is what stirs up your libido. Garlic contains allicin, which is thought to increase blood flow to sexual organs. Sadly, this is not a magic bullet or quick fix solution, apparently you need to consume it for about a month to reap its rewards.
Get your spoons ready – discreet dips into the almond butter jar take on a whole new meaning! Almonds have long stood as a symbol of fertility, and scientists are now bringing more fodder to the myth. Almonds are rich in selenium and zinc, both essential for reproductive health. The omega-3 fatty acids in almonds also boost blood circulation and get the juices flowing!
Cinnamon is considered to be one of the most effective natural aphrodisiacs. It heats the body, increasing appetite, both physical and sexual. Cinnamon oil has also been shown to improve cognitive function, so you can stay more focused on and attentive to your loved one.
The scent of basil has long been associated with arousal. Women used to rub basil powder and oil on their skin to attract men. It boosts circulation and protects the heart, qualities necessary to charge up the libido! There is no need to actually to bathe in basil to reap the rewards – simply garnish a meal shared with a loved one with fresh basil and let the aroma do the talking.
According to a study conducted by Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, pomegranate juice is a potent natural aphrodisiac due to its ability to increase testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that stimulates sexual appetite as well as improves the mood, reduces stress, and increases memory.
18. Pine Nuts.
Since Medieval times, people have been consuming pine nuts to stimulate the libido. They are high in zinc, which has been shown to contribute to sexual competency among males by boosting testosterone levels in the body.
Regarded as a potent spice for treating impotence, cardamom has long been deemed a powerful aphrodisiac. Cardamom contains high concentrations of the compound 1,8-cineole, which increases blood flow and releases muscular tension. Its aroma is equally as stimulating and piques the senses.
Last but not least there is an aphrodisiac specifically for the ladies. With a sweet licorice flavor, ancient Greek and Roman civilizations believed anise strengthened female sexual arousal.
If you want to seriously boost your libido, try stocking your fridge and pantry with some (or all) of these healthy, natural libido-boosting foods, and eat them on a regular basis. Who knows, this may also support your Paleo lifestyle by promoting a variety of nutrient dense foods and getting the extra exercise in the bedroom!
If all else fails in boosting your mood, think outside the box and consider getting a room at a hotel! A change of scenery and environment can do wonders for your sex drive. Always remember, your brain is your most powerful sexual organ, so use your imagination wisely.
Michal Ofer is a wellness and digestion expert and nutrition coach. She is focused on assisting clients to take control of their health and happiness through the sustainable food and lifestyle choices that best support them. Through strengthening the body from the inside out, her clients are able to reach new heights of health, happiness and wellness. Michal obtained her Professional Training and Certificate from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. She has a further studied through the University of Colorado (Boulder) and Stanford University and is a Certified 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach. Michal has also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences and a Master Life Coach Certification. For further information and to connect with Michal visit her website at www.michalofer.com