Chelsey Amer, MS, RD, CDN, shares the best libido-boosting foods to help you get in the mood.
Hoping to spice up your sex life? Quite literally sprinkling some foods that increase libido into your diet may do the trick.
Your libido is another term for your sex drive, and any number of factors can impact it—namely those related to your lifestyle and diet.
As you may guess, your overall wellness will likely influence how often you’re in the mood to be physically intimate.
Many lifestyle aspects can affect your libido, including:
Eating enough nutrient-rich foods keeps your hormones and circulation happy. Good circulation and hormonal health are also vital to enhance your sexual desires.
To improve your nutritional habits and general well-being, focus on eating a balanced diet rich in:
Pop culture leads us to believe that chocolate and strawberries are the ultimate aphrodisiacs. However, there’s little scientific evidence to support that these are actually foods that increase your libido. (Still, they do make excellent Valentine’s Day gifts!)
That said, what foods actually do boost your libido?
If you’re looking to enliven your sex life, try adding these libido-boosting foods to your diet.
Ginseng is a popular herb in Chinese medicine for health and wellness. It’s well-known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but ginseng is also an established aphrodisiac.
Although studies are limited, studies on rats show that ginseng intake is associated with an increase in testosterone, a key male sex hormone to boost sex drive.
In addition, a small study on humans found that ginseng improves sexual arousal in post-menopausal women.
Tip: You can consume ginseng in tea form by letting the fresh herb steep in warm water. Alternatively, you can also add ginseng extract powder or oil to stir-fry and soup recipes.
Ginkgo biloba is another herb championed as one of the best foods for libido. Experts suggest that it helps improve blood flow to your sex organs, which is an essential step to enhance desire.
Next, a 2008 study found that taking Ginkgo biloba in tandem with sex therapy “significantly increased sexual desire and contentment” compared to a placebo or supplementation alone.
Maca is an adaptogenic plant that increases testosterone and improves mood.
It’s exploded on the global market in recent years as an answer to improve fertility and issues with sexual arousal. Though research is limited, preliminary studies show maca’s promise as a food to boost libido for males when taken daily.
Tip: Maca is perhaps most popular in powder form. You can mix it into smoothies and superfood energy balls to boost alertness and productivity, too!
Although garlic and romance don’t seem like a likely pair, this allium vegetable may help bring back that spark.
As a bonus, garlic is also well-known for its heart-healthy benefits.
Tip: Get more of this libido-boosting food into your diet by adding it to sauces, stews, stir-fries, and roasted vegetables.
Extracted from the bark of trees, this West African plant is known as a “natural Viagra” of sorts. Although yohimbine is a promising libido-boosting food, it also comes with some warnings.
First, it’s bitter in taste. Second, while some studies report that it can help sustain a longer erection, its sale isn’t properly regulated and is even banned in some countries. For this reason, consult a medical professional before adding it to your diet.
Most people have heard of oysters’ starring role as an aphrodisiac, but there’s minimal scientific evidence to support this idea. However, some evidence points to oysters’ high zinc content to support its status as one of the best foods for libido.
Zinc is a mineral that influences sex hormones, including testosterone. Some studies show that zinc can intervene to amplify sexual appetite in individuals with kidney problems.
Tip: Other good dietary sources of zinc include meat, hemp seeds, cashews, and cheese.
Fenugreek is popular supplement that can both boost milk production in nursing mothers and enhance sexual health in men. Its flavor is similar to that of maple syrup.
When it comes to its role as a food that boosts libido for males, studies suggest that fenugreek can increase testosterone, in addition to:
However, current studies evaluating its libido-boosting effect on females aren’t as conclusive.
Tip: You can eat fenugreek seeds whole, or crushed up into a powder and mixed into a smoothie or sauce.
While these foods that increase libido show promise, remember that there may not be a quick-fix natural solution that ramps up your sex drive.
That said, a combination of nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, sex therapy, and confidence-building are your best bets to help your libido thrive. Fortunately, the majority of these natural enhancements have minimal side effects.
Of course, you should always ask your doctor before adding a new herbal treatment into your routine. After all, they know you, your medical history, and any medications you take. As a result, they can help you make the best decision not only for your sex life, but also for your greater health.