Looking for a little boost in the bedroom? Life can get to you sometimes, and we often become so bogged down in everyday stresses that the last thing on our mind is sex. Still, physical intimacy is important and a healthy part of a committed relationship. If, during the stress of day-to-day life you let intimacy with your partner take a backseat, then you could be neglecting an important way to reconnect with one another.
Furthermore, feeling sexy and sensual is part of the overall human experience, and contributes to feeling attractive and confident. It’s normal to experience lulls, but feeling asexual and unbalanced for long stretches can produce some negative energies.
For centuries, certain foods and substances have been rumored to have aphrodisiac properties. By definition, an aphrodisiac (named for the goddess Aphrodite) is a food, drink, or substance that increases sexual desire. How do these foods accomplish that task? They may reduce stress, increase blood flow or positively affect neurotransmitters. All of these effects can improve libido.
If you’re feeling a little blah in the bedroom, try one of these 25 foods to give you a little boost. What you do with it is entirely up to you.
1. Basil: You can use this sweet, pungent herb to liven up your meals and your sex life. Sprinkle a little chopped, fresh basil over tomatoes or top off a homemade vegetable soup with it. It not only adds fresh flavor, but it could also enhance sexual desire by increasing heart rate and improving blood flow.
2. Cinnamon: Eating cinnamon heats up your body and, in turn, your sex drive. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties, and can help normalize blood sugar. Try this warming spice sprinkled on a warm glass of almond milk.
3. Pine Nuts: Loaded with zinc, which is essential for producing testosterone, pine nuts have reportedly provided men with sexual stamina since the Middle Ages. Grind them up with basil, garlic, and olive oil for a delicious pesto.
4. Cardamom: In the Arabian Nights, you can read of the use of this ancient spice as an aphrodisiac. The spice comes in pods, which you can grind for use as needed. Cardamom is warming and pungent, and can increase blood flow, which probably accounts for its aphrodisiac properties. It is also an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent. You can macerate ground pods in hot water to make a tea, like a classic Indian chiai, or sprinkle it over a stir-fry or soup.
5. Celery: This crunchy, aromatic vegetable serves as a flavor base for soups and stews in cuisines around the world. It is also high in essential nutrients necessary for great sex, and it contains two chemicals — androsterone and adrostenol — which serve as a sexual attractant when ingested. If that’s not enough to get you drinking your Glowing Green Smoothie every day, then consider this: celery also makes you more physically attractive.
6. Garlic: It may not make your breath smell all that great (but is it weird I like the smell on my hands after chopping it?), but garlic contains allicin, which increases blood flow. The result may be improved stamina and sexual energy.
7. Avocado: This silky, mild fruit has a reputation as an aphrodisiac extending back to ancient Aztec times. In fact, the Aztecs called the avocado tree “Ahuacuatl,” which translates to “testicle tree.” Slice half an avocado and eat it alone or as part of my taco salad recipe.
8. Almonds: These nuts are an ancient symbol of fertility extending back to Biblical times. The sweet fragrance may also serve as a sexual attractant. Avo’s are also high in beneficial fats, fiber, and vitamin E.
9. Chili peppers: The capsaicin in peppers heats up the body and increases blood flow. They also cause the brain to release endorphins, which are a feel-good chemical. Along with the internal effects leading to sexual desire, they have temporary external effects that cause the outer appearance of sexual desire, such as flushed skin and swollen lips. This creates a powerful one-two punch that just may cause sexual desire, and many cultures throughout history have used peppers as an aphrodisiac. Sprinkle cayenne on avocados, or add a little to zip up soups and stir-fries.
10. Honey: 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. Use honey to sweeten a cup of tea. Be sure to purchase local if possible and from an ethical source.
11. Carrots: It may be the shape that does it for some people, but carrots also contain vitamins that are important in hormone production.
12. Ginger: Just like chili peppers, ginger spices things up and increases circulation and body temperature. In fact, legend says famous French courtesan Madame du Barry provided ginger to all of her lovers to increase their desire and improve their pleasure. Mix up a batch of Detox Tea, or add ginger to stir-fries.
13. Coconut water: The water from coconuts contains the same level of electrolytes as your blood. It is also a metabolism booster that increases blood flow, and thus, may serve as an aphrodisiac. Along with minerals, coconut water is high in vitamin C.
14. Arugula: Ancient Romans used this peppery, leafy green vegetable as an aphrodisiac. Along with aphrodisiac properties, arugula promotes digestion and is a great source of vitamins A and C. Add a little arugula to your salad greens.
15. Watermelon: Rich in citrulline, watermelon increases nitric oxide, opening blood vessels and speeding up circulation, which may increase arousal.
16. Chocolate: Pure, dark chocolate has a centuries old reputation as an aphrodisiac. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which stimulates the same hormone your body releases during sex. It also sparks dopamine production in the brain. It doesn’t take much. Try a square or two of low-sugar, vegan dark chocolate.
17. Asparagus: While the shape may contribute to the belief in this vegetable’s aphrodisiac properties, it also increases circulation in the genitourinary system, leading to increased sexual desire.
18. Truffle: This expensive, earthy fungus has a pungent flavor with an aphrodisiac reputation extending back to ancient Roman times. The scent is believed to mimic androstenone, which serves as an attractant to the opposite sex. If you can’t afford a truffle to shave over your veggies, then try a few mushrooms, instead.
19. Vanilla: This sweet pod is a mild nerve stimulant, which can enhance sexual sensation.
20. Nutmeg: This sweet spice’s aphrodisiac reputation dates back to early Hindu cultures, where it was believed nutmeg’s warming properties stimulated sexual appetites while its ability to sweeten breath increased attraction. Try grating a little fresh nutmeg into your tea.
21. Sea vegetables: Many cultures value sea vegetables for their aphrodisiac properties. This may because sea vegetables are high in vitamins B1 and B2, which aid in production of sex hormones. It is also a source of manganese, iodine, and selenium, which may all have an effect on metabolism and mood. Sprinkle a little dulse on your salad for some salty flavor.
22. Red wine: In moderation, red wine increases blood flow, relaxes you, and lowers inhibitions. Have a few ounces of red wine, but don’t overdo it.
23. Coriander: Also used in the Arabian Nights as an aphrodisiac, the seeds of the cilantro plant offer a pungent bite to foods. The spice has warming properties, which is the most likely source of its aphrodisiac characteristics. It also serves as an anti-inflammatory and expectorant. To use, sprinkle a little ground coriander in guacamole or add to soups.
24. Pomegranates: The seeds of this luscious red fruit improve blood flow and are rumored to increase genital sensitivity.
25. Aniseed: Girls, this one is for you! With a sweet licorice flavor, ancient Greek and Roman civilizations believed anise strengthened female sexual arousal.