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Top 10 Foods That Increase Libido and Sex Drive

by Dr. Laurence Levine

Dr. Laurence Levine
Dr. Laurence Levine

​Dr Laurence Levine is a Professor of Urology and practices at Rush University Medical ...

Expert in male sexual health, leading Urologist in USA



A healthy diet can help with sex drive and libido in men and women

Looking for some foods that increase libido? If so, that’s a smart move. 

When it comes to improving your sex life, it makes sense to employ a variety of sexual wellness strategies. The more you implement, the better your results will be.

Whether you want to increase your desire for sex, hope to resolve premature ejaculation or just need greater stamina in the bedroom, paying attention to foods that boost libido can help.

If you've experienced symptoms of premature ejaculation and would like to learn ways to prevent it, please see our Ultimate Guide To Premature Ejaculation. 

You’ve probably heard the word ‘libido’ thrown around before. 

Although you may have an idea of what the term means, let’s define libido in detail before moving on.

Quick FAQs

 Libido refers to how strong or weak your desire for sexual intimacy is. Mainly altered day to day by exposure to different psychological, biological and social factors. 

There are several different factors that may affect your libido levels. People with higher to natural libido levels tend to get quality sleep, regular exercise and eat a clean healthy diet.

A healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables will always be beneficial to your health and wellness. Some foods and beverages that may increase your libido levels fast are dark chocolate, fatty fish, pumpkin seeds, avocados, pomegranates, watermelon, beef, select herbs like garlic, Ginko biloba, ginseng, green tea and occasional glasses of red wine.

No, having a low sex drive is not life-threating, however, you may experience negative psychological factors that affect your mood, energy levels, motivation, and confidence.

 

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What Is Libido and Why Does It Matter?

Libido refers to how strong or weak your desire for sexual intimacy is.

For some, the urge can be very strong, indicating a high libido. Others may fall in the middle ground or ‘average range’. Still, others may have a low sex drive or low libido.

How much sex do you need to feel like you’re getting enough? Once per year, month or week? Or is the answer never, daily or multiple times per day?

Answering this question gives you a good idea of where your libido falls in that spectrum.

However, the comparison game isn’t usually healthy. We all have unique sex drives after all. 

Having said that, a variety of factors affect male and female libido.

  1. Social factors, such as relationships at work and home
  2. Psychological factors, such as stress
  3. Lifestyle conditions like diet, exercise and more
  4. Age. Generally, the older we get, the less sex drive we have
  5. Self-image. Do you view yourself in a positive light?

We can also experience day-to-day ups and downs in our sex drives.

The most important thing is that you and your partner are happy with each other’s sex drive. If not, there's no need to fret. 

You can make some positive changes.

Can Foods Increase Your Libido?

Happy couple with high sex drive

The great news is they can. 

First off, putting clean healthy foods into your body allows it to perform better on all levels, including sex.

So, in a general sense, it’s true. Better fuel means better performance whether that involves hitting a baseball or hitting the bedroom.

Consuming the right foods results in an optimal circulatory system. Cardiac health also can improve from a healthful diet, leading to greater sexual stamina.

Besides that, sex first starts in the brain. A healthy diet allows you to think clearer and promotes brain health. It also helps you to better manage potential mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety that can interfere with a fulfilling sex life.

Put all that together and what’s on the menu matters a great deal when it comes to your libido. But not all foods are of equal value.

Not surprisingly, you’ll need to go natural. 

Foods with 50 ingredients and shelf life of five years aren’t going to do you any favors. 

Here are 10 specific foods that help increase your libido worth considering.

Top Ten Foods that Can Increase Libido in Men and Women

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of libido-enhancing foods, it’ll give you a good running start. There’s no need to overwhelm yourself, trying to cram all of these foods into one week.

Rather, see it as an opportunity to gradually ‘invite’ foods onto your dinner plate. Not only are these foods enjoyable from a culinary standpoint, but they also can lead to plenty of other enjoyment later on—wink, wink. Let’s start with one of the all-time favorites.

1. Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate And It' Benefits to Sexual Health

Most people who want to improve their love life are happy to hear that dark chocolate is a natural libido booster. It helps to increase both serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. These are your ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters.

An antioxidant found in cocoa known as flavanols also help to increase blood flow and relax blood vessels. This provides ample blood flow to all the right places at the right time!

The amount of flavanols present in chocolate can vary greatly depending on the way it's produced and the specific brand. The best source of flavanols come from unsweetened cocoa powder. You can also purchase fortified powder if it promises at least 200 mg of flavanols per serving.

These days, there are endless dark chocolate brands to choose from. For the best results, go for the less processed varieties when you want to improve your libido.

2. Green Tea

Green Tea Benefits to Libido

Whether you prefer it hot or cold, green tea can bring some much-desired heat to your sex life. Catechins are compounds generously found in green tea. They help with blood flow and reduce belly fat.

There are two specific ways catechins can improve your blood flow. First, they eliminate free radicals known to inflame and harm blood vessels. This makes them more effective at transporting blood.

Secondly, catechins help blood vessel cells to let go of nitric oxide, increasing blood vessel size and improving blood flow.

Most people imagine the only way to consume green tea is by drinking it straight. Actually, there are plenty of other ways to integrate it into your diet.

Green tea works well in smoothies and oatmeal. You can also add green tea powder to your baked goods and yogurt.

3. Fatty Fish

Salmon and Fatty Fish Benefits to Libido

While all types of fish properly prepared will give you some significant dietary benefits, certain species are particularly helpful for an improved libido. Fatty or oily fish such as sardines, salmon or tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These acids increase dopamine in the brain and promote heart health and blood flow.

Also high in vitamin B6 and protein, consuming fish leads to healthier blood production. Few foods offer so much protein at such a low-calorie level. This means a leaner physique that performs better during sex.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds Health Benefits

One of the best foods for libido improvement is pumpkin seeds. They’re rich in zinc, iron, fiber, protein and potassium. Besides zinc’s ability to improve your eye health, immune function and wound healing, the high concentration of this mineral is especially good for men.

If you’re searching for foods that boost libido in males, pumpkin seeds do just that. A zinc deficiency, on the other hand, can result in low testosterone levels.

Scientists are still studying why zinc is so important in the production of testosterone. In one study, men who were given 30 mg of zinc displayed increased free testosterone levels.

Add pumpkin seeds to your trail mix, salad, or cereal. They’re a valuable libido enhancer.

5. Avocados

Sexual Health Benefits From Eating Avocados

The versatility of the avocado makes it a culinary favorite. They’re also a significant source of vitamin E, making for healthy nails and skin.

Avocados are rich in vitamin B6, potassium and monounsaturated fats. These help to promote good circulation and a healthy heart, both a necessity for a great sex life.

The natural benefits of avocados help to prevent artery damage too. Erectile dysfunction is twice as likely in men who have heart disease.

According to one study, researchers found that avocado consumption lessens the risk of metabolic syndrome, a known risk factor for erectile dysfunction. In fact, men with metabolic syndrome are nearly twice as likely as the general population to struggle with ED.

Avocados are easy to use and versatile enough for any meal. Try some mashed avocado on your toast at breakfast or use it with chips and salsa, on a sandwich or salad.

6. Pomegranates

Pomegranates Found to Increase Libido

According to a two-week study by Queen Mary University Edinburgh, daily consumption of pomegranate juice significantly increased testosterone levels in women and men.

Besides potentially increased testosterone levels, pomegranates help to enhance blood flow, thereby improving your libido. Their high levels of antioxidants are the main reason for this.

Pomegranates make for a unique but extremely healthy sweet treat by themselves. They also work great on salads, cereals and yogurts.

Whether you’re searching for foods that increase male libido or foods that increase female libido, pomegranates should be in your arsenal of tasty go-to snacks.

7. Watermelon

Watermelons Have High Levels of L-Arginine

Most people look forward to a summer gathering that includes watermelon. But did you know that watermelon is more than just a refreshing way to cool down?

The vitamin B5 present in watermelon is vital for stress management. That’s a good thing since high-stress levels can cause both male and female libidos to plummet.

And once you’re in the mood for sex because of lower stress levels, your body will get rid of cortisol after orgasm. This helps to decrease stress levels all the more. Watermelon can help to make sure you have limited stress so you feel more in the mood in the first place.

Watermelon can be deemed to be one of the best fruits to increase libido also provides other B vitamins which help with sexual endurance and energy production. And since watermelon is a vasodilator (helps to widen blood vessels), it works much like a natural Viagra.

8. Beef

Beef Prepped For Cooking

Although beef often doesn’t make the list of what to eat to increase libido, it’s well worth considering. The saturated fats contained in beef are important sex hormone building blocks. This includes testosterone, vital for increasing libido in women and men.

Beef also contains plenty of zinc which is important from a fertility and increased sex drive standpoint. Beef is rich in iron which helps with energy production and improved blood flow too.

Whether you plan on grilling a steak or marinating beef for kebabs, your sexual health will thank you. If you can find leaner cuts of meat to include in recipes, that’s always your best choice.

9. Try Some Herbs

It turns out that herbs do more than provide a healthful flavor-alternative for your favorite dishes. They can also benefit your sexual health. And each herb has its own unique medicinal properties. Here are a few to consider.

Garlic

Natural Garlic Powder

It has high levels of allicin, which can help with blood flow. That increased flow may help men struggling with erectile dysfunction too.

Ginko Biloba

Ginko Biloba Powder

Another herb to consider is Ginkgo biloba. Deriving from the leaves of the Chinese Ginkgo tree, the herb is considered useful in treating sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressants.

Ginko biloba can be purchased online or at health food stores. This herb can be used as a tea. It’s also found in liquid extract, tablet and capsule forms.

Ginseng

Ginseng Root Powder

Still another worthy herb for an improved libido is ginseng. Although scientists have yet to discover all the benefits of ginseng, a recent study found this herb beneficial in treating sexual dysfunction for methadone users.

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris Plant

Don’t let the name scare you off. One study found it effective in improving female sexual interest/arousal disorder.

The four-week study reported an increase in satisfaction, sexual desire and arousal. Hopefully, further studies will yield more valuable information since this was a relatively small test group (only 60 individuals).

10. Red Wine

Benefits of Drinking Red Wine

Highly regarded as an aphrodisiac, red wine has been touted as useful in lowering the risks of diseases such as heart disease. And according to a 2009 finding (Mondaini 2009), sexual function may also be improved by consuming red wine.

As with any study, it’s valuable to keep in mind this research was only conducted with a small sample size. Further research will likely shed additional light on the value of red wine and increased libido.

Also, keep in mind that drinking too much red wine could have the opposite effect on your libido. In both health and increased sex drive, moderation is key.

Takeaways

By adding these foods to your diet on a regular basis you can see an increase in libido. 

Not to mention, most of the foods that encourage higher sex drive and libido typically are an overall healthy choice for the long game as well. 

Although the decision to eat a certain food may seem like it doesn’t matter much, over time your daily food choices will add up. You can make your dietary preferences work towards a higher libido rather than against that goal. 

Taking care of your health in this way will increase your chances of a long and fulfilling sex life.

So, get out there and start adding the top 10 libido-enhancing foods to your daily diet.

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Dr. Laurence Levine
Dr. Laurence Levine

​Dr Laurence Levine is a Professor of Urology and practices at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is focused specifically on Male Sexual Health and is past President of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA). Dr. Levine graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine where he received his MD and completed his training in Urology at the Harvard Program in Boston.​


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