Sex toys and food can improve sex. For some it's Marvin Gaye or an episode of Outlander… what gets you going in the bedroom is highly individualized. For me it's simply a well-functioning penis. But did you know that there are certain foods that may boost your sex life? It’s true—what you eat for dinner or even for snacks can affect your hormones, increase your blood flow and get your engine revving to improve sex, says nutritionist Nicolette M. Pace. Whether you’re looking to boost your libido or increase stamina, here are the five foods she recommends to rev up your sex life.
1. SHELLFISH IMPROVES SEX
It’s a cliché but true—oysters really are aphrodisiacs thanks to their high zinc content which increases blood flow, boosts stamina and helps your body make testosterone (a hormone that is linked to sex drive). Same goes for other mollusks like clams, mussels and scallops. But if shellfish isn’t your thing, Pace reassures us that omega-rich fin fish (like salmon) can also promote healthy blood flow.
2. WATERMELON IMPROVES SEX
This summertime treat is high in the amino acid L citruline, Pace tells us, which converts to another amino acid, arginine which in turn helps nitrous oxide production (i.e., increases blood flow to organs). In fact, one Italian study found that this phytonutrient relaxes blood vessels in ways similar to Viagra. Great news for men but what about the ladies? Interestingly, another study from Texas A&M University suggested that the relaxing effects of watermelon may also increase sex drive in women.
3. FIGS IMPROVE SEX
“Figs are another super fruit that facilitate nitrous oxide production,” says Pace. This in turn relaxes the blood vessels, increases blood flow to organs and can help men attain an erection, she adds. And like oysters, figs have a certain sexy reputation to uphold (is it the shape? The scent?) which for some people is enough to get them in the mood. (Hey, this salad is pretty damn sexy.)
4. CHOCOLATE IMPROVES SEX
You’re not imagining things—you really do feel happier after a spoonful of chocolate mousse, thanks to certain compounds found in cacao that actually boost the release of feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. (Hey, they don’t call this dessert chocolate semifreddo seduction for nothing.) This sweet treat also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that is associated with lust and love, says Pace. (Note: Too much sugar, however, can decrease libido so your best bet is to stick to a couple of squares of good quality dark chocolate... rather than scarfing down or sharing bag of M&Ms.)
5. APPLES IMPROVE SEX
There are a few things that are guaranteed to dampen the mood, like say your parents stopping by for an unannounced visit or your neighbor sleep training their baby. Another total buzzkill? Dealing with a UTI or other uncomfortable inflammation. “Apples are high in quercetin, which controls prostate issues for men and cystitis in women,” says Pace. (Note: Munching on an apple won’t treat a UTI but some studies have shown that quercetin supplements may help ease inflammation… and hey, it can’t hurt.) Other foods that are high in this antioxidant include berries, cherries and, um, onions. (Maybe just skip the onion dip before a hot date, though.)