Aphrodisiacs are substances that increase libido (sexual desire), potency or sexual pleasure. Different substances from plants and the ocean have been used historically in different cultures to energise, vitalise and improve sexual function and physical performance. Below are some of our favourite foods to support libido. Get in the mood by chowing down on these:
Oysters contain a substantially high level of the essential mineral zinc. A deficiency of zinc in human beings has been shown to cause fertility issues through preventing the production of sperm and influencing testosterone levels. The level of zinc in seminal fluid is positively linked with the quality of sperm.
How to enjoy? Opt for oysters as a starter to your meal. Perfect on a date!
Maca is traditionally used by the Andean region for its aphrodisiac and fertility enhancing properties. A study conducted a 12 week double blind placebo-controlled trial in which treatment with different doses of maca were compared to placebo. An improvement in sexual desire was demonstrated with maca after 8 weeks of treatment.
How to enjoy? Add a teaspoon of this mild-flavoured powder to your breakfasts, such as in smoothies, porridge or bircher muesli.
We know you’ll all love us for this one! Chocolate (cacao) has many different effects on human sexuality, mainly acting as an aphrodisiac. Cacao powder and chocolate contain a group of fatty acids which, in combination with other components in chocolate such as caffeine, produces a transient feeling of wellbeing and euphoria. This euphoria can support the production of serotonin (our feel-good neurotransmitter). Serotonin has been found in some regions of the female genital tract, and therefore may be involved in the process of sexual arousal.
How to enjoy? Don’t be choco-late to the party! Have a few squares of dark choccy with nuts as a snack or after dinner treat.
Pistachio nuts are rich sources of plant protein, fibre and antioxidants. They are relatively high in the amino acid arginine, which can enhance blood flow by boosting a certain compound that relaxes blood vessels. A study conducted showed that a 3 week diet that included pistachios adhered to by those with erectile dysfunction showed an improvement in their symptoms.
How to enjoy? Make a delicious crunchy pistachio granola or simply grab by the handful as a convenient and healthy snack!
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Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. J Endocrinol. 2003 Jan;176(1):163-8.
Montagna MT, Diella G, Triggiano F, et al. Chocolate, "Food of the Gods": History, Science, and Human Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(24):4960. Published 2019 Dec 6. doi:10.3390/ijerph16244960
Leonti M, Casu L. Ethnopharmacology of Love. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:567. Published 2018 Jul 3.
Aldemir, M., Okulu, E., Neşelioğlu, S. et al. Pistachio diet improves erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 23, 32–38 (2011).