In a previous post, I mentioned a growing list of aphrodisiac foods, or as we like to call them; foods for sexual wellness. Here, I expand on that list and explain each of our top food items in detail. These foods aren’t all aphrodisiacs, but they can be an important part of an integrated sexual wellness program that promotes increased energy and circulation, that can have obvious effects in the bedroom.
It’s well known that what’s good for your heart is also good for your overall sexual health. And, a sexy diet can have far more of an impact on our sexual health than many of us would like to believe. When our bodies are happy and well nourished, studies have conclusively shown that our libido goes up, as does our stamina and overall sexual performance. Even an elevated mood can work wonders for both attracting the opposite sex, boosting confidence, and making us Casanova’s in the bedroom.
There may be no “miracle cure” for most sexual maladies (except perhaps products like Viagra for men). The foundation of sexual wellness is rooted in a healthy lifestyle that includes foods that can help improve your mood, your energy, your circulation, all of which can have a very direct effect on sexual performance.
It’s not just a matter of eating a handful of almonds every once in a while, snacking on a celery stalk once a month, or eating as much watermelon as you can in a single sitting, hoping to see results. Aphrodisiac foods absolutely must be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits to be effective. “Use it or lose it” is rarely more true than when it comes to our sexuality. A healthy sexual appetite is intimately tied into how we feel about ourselves, as well as how much physical energy we have. Things such as erections and orgasms become easier and often, more frequent, even if we’re in the more seasoned crowd of sexual enthusiasts.
This may seem like a curious item to include, especially as a doctor. Although alcohol isn’t typically considered a food, but there’s no denying that alcohol is often deeply connected to romance and romantic encounters. Although alcohol is a depressant, in smaller amounts (a single serving), it can actually act as a stimulant. As most of us already know, it’s also extremely effective at lowering inhibitions, which can have a direct effect on sexual desire and libido. Coupled with the antioxidant properties of red wine, it’s a win-win, when used in moderation. And, although alcohol contains “empty calories”, a serving of alcohol can provide a few extra calories to increase your stamina in the bedroom. Lower inhibitions can mean less insecurity and more confidence. In moderation, it’s difficult to see anything wrong with that!
Historically, alcohol was also the delivery method for a number of aphrodisiac blends. Damiana, Jasmine, Saw Palmetto, and Vanilla Bean are among those. Scientifically speaking, in a 1979 article from the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs called “Alcohol euphoria: Possible mediation via endophinergic mechanisms”, researchers stated; “The euphoria caused by the consumption of a given quantity of alcohol presumably correlates with the release of endorphins triggered by the effect of the alcohol activating the endocrine system.” Anyone who enjoys a glass or two of their favorite spirit can certainly attest to this.
Resveratrol was all the rage for a while, and it may be the component of red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots. But no one is actually sure if that’s truly the case. Also, I wouldn’t want to encourage anyone to start drinking alcohol, but there is no denying that, when used in moderation, can be a happy, healthy part of a vigorous love life.
Almonds have a couple of very good things going for them; they’re rich in Vitamin E, and are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are one of the two “good” fats responsible for helping to lower LDL cholesterol levels in healthy people. How, do you ask, can almonds help boost libido? Well, since recorded history, almonds were eaten as aphrodisiacs in Southern Europe. They were also key ingredients in aphrodisiacal recipes in Chinese medicine. Oriental Joy Pills is one such product.
In a 1930 book called “Aphrodisiaca” it describes a recipe where walnut leaves are boiled and then cooled. The scrotum and member is then dipped into the concoction and is considered “an especially strong aphrodisiac.” Unfortunately, our panel of 32 expert volunteers have not tried this recipe yet, so we can’t vouch for the validity of this particular curiosity.
In an equally curious recipe, from the “Book of Herbs” by Matthioli in 1626 (yes, there were books in 1626), known in Persia, Arabia, Egypt, and Southern Europe, “One makes oil out of these nuts, and when this is rubbed onto the male member, it will stimulate unchaste desires. And again, unfortunately, me nor my panel of 32 expert volunteers can vouch for the validity of this curiosity either.
Back to almonds, it’s not difficult to find almonds linked to passion and fertility. In fact, the Bible even speaks of almonds as a means of courting a woman — Samson courted Delilah with fragrant almond branches, arousing her romantic interest. The aroma from almonds is supposed to have the power to excite women and perhaps the reason why it’s a common ingredient in creams and soaps.
Avocados are not only a healthy food with an interesting shape and rich in the good kinds of fats, but who knew it could also be a sexy food as well? Is it an aphrodisiac? Not directly in the traditional sense of aphrodisiacs, but it certainly can indirectly help you out in any romantic encounter. Vitamin E is often called the “Sex Vitamin.” And, Vitamin E plays a key role in the production of hormones related to sexual wellness. Low Vitamin E levels have not only been shown to shrink testicles, but Vitamin E deficiency has been linked to decreased production of the hormones responsible for sperm production and ovarian health.
In fact, in “fertility diets”, avocado is often extensively prescribed because of it’s benefits to both men and women when it comes to testicular and ovarian health. Several studies have shown that Vitamin E possesses estrogenic, androgenic and progesterone-like properties. These characteristics and help combat hormonal change. Because of this, it’s thought that Vitamin E can help ease hormonal imbalances and low libido.
Even the Aztecs revered this unusual fruit as an aphrodisiac. The avocado tree was called “Ahuacuatl,” which literally translates to “testicle tree.” In more modern times, Barbara Klein, professor of food and nutrition at the University of Illinois, remarked to the California Avocado Commission that avocado’s elevated levels of Vitamin E could “help keep the spark alive” because of its critical role in maintaining “youthful vigor and energy level.” Whether any of this is an over-statement, avocado definitely merits a place on our sexy food list.
This unlikely sexy food has a long history in Asian and European folk medicine. Whether it’s your standard garden celery or wild celery, both offer the same benefits. In both Asian and European folk medicine, celery has been used for at least a few hundred years to help lower blood pressure, improve circulation. It’s also been used to alleviate dizziness. I don’t often find myself dizzy, and when I am dizzy, there isn’t usually a stalk of celery around, so I can’t vouch for that one.
Scientifically, celery acts as a general stimulant. Stimulants help increase energy, and although celery isn’t generally considered a stimulant, try a few stalks sometime and see how you feel. You might be surprised. Once of the easiest ways to enjoy celery is to add it to any smoothie blend. And, the good news is that celery seeds are just as effective as celery stalks. So, if you find a consumable celery seed essential oil, a tea or tincture made fro celery, as long as its authentic and high quality, you can see benefits from just about any for you find. Although fresh anything is usually your best bet. This is party because the enzymes responsible for aiding in digestion are still alive in raw foods. When foods provide enzymes to help digest your food, you need to use less energy from your own body to help accomplish that task.
- Celery contains apigenin that has been shown to lower blood pressure
- It also contains iron, Vitamins A, B and C
This is probably quite an obvious one. The spiciness of chili peppers can trigger and endorphin rush in our brains, which can lead to some instantaneous feel-good feelings and euphoria — naturally. Chilis were used in numerous aphrodisiac recipes throughout the ancient world, often coupled with cacao by Mayans, Aztecs, and others. Evidence of use is seen as early as 700 B.C.
Medicinally, Cayenne is one of the few spices to appear in the American Illustrated Medical Dictionary. One of the uses listed is a “local stimulant,” which may explain why it’s so popular in herbal aphrodisiac formulations. In the short-term, sexually speaking, chili peppers can dilate blood vessels, which provides increased blood flow throughout the body, including sexual organs. Although there isn’t a lot of scientific study on this point; chili peppers allegedly aid in maintaining erections and can help support orgasms or greater intensity.
- Contains ample amounts of Vitamins A, B, C, G
- Contains iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, and potassium
- Contains capsaicin, a powerful local arthritis pain reliever
The stimulating and erotic effects of cayenne occur soon after consumption. It’s stimulating effects can be quite noticeable, and in our panel of 32 expert volunteers, we were nearly 100% positive in reporting tangible effects from the consumption of chili peppers. (It’s exactly why we use it in our “Hotter Than Hades” formulations.) Increased blood flow, stimulation, and endorphin release; it sounds like the perfect formula for igniting passion in the moment!
Chocolate is one of the most famous although not the oldest of food aphrodisiacs known. Whether it’s in a bar, a drink, drizzled on food or bodies, there is something inherently sensual about consuming chocolate. Dark chocolate contains copious amounts of phenylethylamine, which releases the same endorphins triggered by sexual activity and orgasm. Chocolate has even been shown to increase feelings of attraction between partners. Wow!
To kissing fanatics, another study in the U.K. revealed that the consumption of chocolate may be greater feelings of euphoria than kissing. Between passionate kisses and a some gooey, wondrous chocolate being melted on the tongue, the chocolate won.
The Aztecs and Mayans revered chocolate as a powerful sexual tonic for the ruling elite Chocolate can trigger all kinds of positive emotions, party because of the endorphins that get released into our systems when we consume it, and partly because it’s a stimulant. Even better is that minimally processed chocolate that’s high in cacao is not only a healthy treat, it can be a powerful antioxidant.
In fact, history is also lush with stories of chocolate being used as an aphrodisiac. In our Western world, chocolate is deeply and intrinsically linked to love, trust, and romance. (Where would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate?) It’s difficult to imagine that just 500 years ago, neither chocolate or cacao was known in Europe. It’s perhaps even more difficult to believe that cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate, was an illegal drug in Europe for a short time. Chocolate was so revered in some cultures it was used a currency.
The cacao tree originated in Central and South America, and has been cultivated since pre-Columbian times. Like Maca, it was considered a food of the gods. The cacao drink is an invention by American Indians. When Spanish conquistadors arrived in Tenochititlan (now Mexico City), they witnessed Montezuma, the Aztec ruler at the time, consume a cacao beverage before “devoting himself to many women.” From that moment on, cacao was reportedly considered an aphrodisiac of royalty.
In another naughty little historical tidbit: Early Mayan art has many instances of monkeys (considered “lewd” creatures) depicted with large erections. In their monkey hands were two items; tobacco and cacao. This is a direct reference to the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate.
Scientifically speaking, as mentioned above, cacao contains both theobromine and phenylethylannine, a neurotransmitter present in the brain that is thought to bring about feelings of love. Similarly, anadamide is a neurotransmitter that that binds itself to our THC-receptors (the active component of Cannabis). With all this going for it, it’s no surprise that cacao is so ingrained in our rituals surrounding love and passion. This light, euphoric feeling that chocolate can induce an be quite a help when it comes to igniting passion in the bedroom and romance in general.
Although coffee may not sound like a sexy food, it’s the most popular stimulant in the world. As a vasodilator, it can help in the bedroom on various fronts. By both increasing short-term energy, as well as promoting blood flow, it’s easy to see why coffee is often present when romance is in the air.
Long before coffee the drink was invented, the bright red berries of the coffee bush were chewed in Africa as a stimulant around the sixth century. The coffee nut appeared in Yemen around the twelfth century, and by the sixteenth century, the Oriental drink was sweeping Europe. It was praised as both a panacea as well as a powerful aphrodisiac.
In one curious story, Sufi priests reportedly treasured coffee because it made it possible for them to perform their all-night rituals, making it easier for them to slip into religious ecstasy. According to the literature, the Sufi’s and the Dervish were largely responsible for the popularization of coffee.
Coffee typically contains up to about 2% caffeine, and a few dashes of theobromine. Theobromine occurs naturally in chocolate and is partly responsible for sense of well-being that chocolate can provide. Combined with the energy and mental alertness that coffee provides, it’s no wonder that coffee is such an integral aspect of both our daily lives as well as our sex lives.
This isn’t often considered a food in modern society, but it was considered the “food of kings” in some places in the ancient world. This is another superfood and aphrodisiac that has such widespread use, it’s difficult to distill its history into this tiny article.
In Peru, it’s a legendary stimulant, vitality increaser and aphrodisiac. It’s been touted as the Incan Superfood and with good reason: Maca root contains about 60% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 2% lipids, with an extensive list of vitamins and minerals that include magnesium, phosphorus, iuron, zinc, iodine, Vitamins B1 and B2, C, and E. (Vitamin E is considered the “sex vitamin.”)
And it’s not just folk medicine where Maca is gaining traction as a key sexual wellness herb. In a 2000 study by Zheng, researchers discovered that a lipid extract of Maca stimulated sexual conduct in rats. In addition, an oral extract was shown to reverse erectile dysfunction in animals. Other studies have come up with similar results. In our expert panel of 32 volunteers, this was another of our Sextracts Singles that produced some of the most positive feedback, and by both men and women equally. Both sexes reported a noticeable increase in libido and sexual desire, especially when 2 of our concentrated capsules were taken twice a day.
This is one that isn’t obvious at first. But, once we look at the history and the science of olive oil, it becomes a far sexier food. Olive oil was used as a natural lubricant in the bedroom long before there was KY Jelly. Not only is it a safe, clean lubricant, it’s also 100% edible, and quite healthy to consume.
Coupled with its use as a sexual lubricant, most sensual massage oils have vegetable oils as their base ingredient. What is sexier and more seductive than an erotic massage with a romantic partner? If you’ve ever used massage oils with that massage, chances are you were using olive oil during that massage. It’s the perfect viscosity and penetrates deep into muscles, relaxing the body and increasing feelings of well-being and sensuality.
Over time, especially in the Western world, vegetable oils got relegated to the kitchen. We think of oils as messy, greasy, and for cooking. The opposite is true. They wash off cleanly with soap and water, they’re virtually odor-free, and can replenish and nourish skin. This is a shame because olive oil has been shown to boost blood circulation throughout the body, especially in our erogenous zones. Increased blood flow can provide more passionate and long-lasting sexual experiences; it’s a win-win!
While perusing the web for information on the benefits of olive oil, we found a snippet by Julietta Capella, whose family has been making high-grade olive oil for years. She said; “Everyone in Italy knows that olive oil induces more vigor and passion in the bedroom.” She said that it’s well-known in Italy that olive oil can strengthen the sex drive and ignite passion. Works for us!
Yes, this is a broad category, but seafood in general can be quite a sexy food. Oysters are probably the most well-known of the aphrodisiac seafoods, since they’ve long been considered an aphrodisiac among many cultures. Oysters have long been considered a luxury food, accompanied by candlelight and champagne.
We haven’t found much in the way of scientific studies on the use of oysters as an aphrodisiac directly, but there is much support for seafood in general for overall sexual wellness. In fact, the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA that exist in fish raises dopamine levels in the brain. Sexologist Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD say that increased dopamine levels can trigger sexual arousal.
Also, oysters contain more zinc than most any other food. Since zinc is thought to be responsible for promoting healthy libido by stimulating testosterone production, it’s no surprise that oysters have such a direct link to an increase in sexual desire. Casanova was infamous for his orgies with oysters and champagne. (And, Casanova reportedly ate fifty raw oysters a day, but just three will provide an ample dose of zinc.)
From what we can gather, the much-to-do over oysters is in the ritual and circumstance of enjoying them that accounts for much of their popularity as aphrodisiacs. In 1988, Elke Liebs wrote that a meal of oysters can become “a sensual caress, a foretaste of the act of love.” In antiquity, there is much evidence of oysters being used a aphrodisiacs. Juvenal said that only “shameless and lascivious women used oysters as aphrodisiacs.” The Asian oyster is a delicacy in both China and Japan, revered as a powerful aphrodisiac in both cultures.
In March 2005, a study was conducted to isolate the constituents of oysters. Several amino acids were found (D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate). These amino acids were then injected into rats with surprising results. testosterone was produced in male rats and progesterone in females, both of which are known to help increase libido. In a somewhat committal statement for a researcher, Dr. George Fisher, the lead researcher said; “Yes, I do think these mollusks are aphrodisiacs.”
This is old news for oyster lovers, but it’s always nice to get validation for the things we believe to be true.
Pomegranate is the symbol of the love goddess Aphrodite and, in the ancient world, was considered a fertility fruit because of its numerous seeds. In the past, many herbs were assigned uses because of how they looked, and this was especially true for the many sexy characteristics of pomegranate. From the many seeds, to the phallus-shaped bud of the pomegranate tree, to the vulva-like appearance when the fruit is first opened. Since antiquity, drinks prepared with this curious fruit have been treasured as aphrodisiacs and love potions.
But is there any science to back this hefty moniker up?
It turns out that pomegranate is rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. This is extremely beneficial in overall wellness, but not exactly in particular to sexual wellness. Healthy bodies make for happier sex, but all my scientific research uncovered just one study that pointed to sex-specific aspects of pomegranate.
The study happened at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. It involved 58 volunteers aged between 21 and 64. Just a few days in, both sexes had seen ‘significantly increased’ testosterone levels. For men, increased testosterone is directly responsible for increased sex drive. Women also produce testosterone and that manifests as increased libido. Interestingly enough, higher testosterone levels have been linked to lifting mood and increasing memory as well. The study also stated that pomegranate caused stress reduction as well. A bold claim for a bold fruit! Testosterone levels increased between 16% – 30% among the subjects. Blood pressure decreased nearly overall as well.
In general, though, fruits have countless benefits, as does vitamin C, especially for men. Sperm count and motility is increased with just 200mg of vitamin C per day, according to numerous medical studies. In one study, 75 men ages 20 to 35 who were heavy smokers with poor sperm quality were given vitamin C. Those who ingested vitamin C significantly improved the quality of their sperm and sperm counts. In yet another study, 30 infertile men were capable of impregnating their partners after just 60 days of vitamin C supplementation. (In some men, fertility was restored in just 4 days.)
So, with the possibility of increased sex drive, a long history as the fruit of the love goddess, and rich in antioxidants; pomegranate definitely deserves its place in our list of sexy foods, and is the very definition of a food aphrodisiac.
When we were kids, spinach was one of those veggies, along with broccoli, that we balked at, and sometimes were sent to our rooms for refusing to eat at the dinner table. Many of us also think of Popeye’s bursting energy and muscles when we think of spinach, but are there scientific reasons why Popeye would reach for a can whenever he needed to vanquish his cartoon enemies?
As an adult, what if someone told you that there’s a food that will boost your energy level and increase your overall health, allowing you to enjoy all aspects of the sexual experience even more, even if you were healthy to begin with? What if you were also told that this same food acts as an appetite-suppressant, making you look better naked and helping to increase blood flow to the nether regions below the belt?
You would be describing some of the sexy benefits of spinach!
Spinach and other greens (like broccoli, kale, bok choy, and spirulina) also contain important sexual wellness minerals such as magnesium and folate. Magnesium is key in dilating blood vessels, while folate increases blood flow to sexual organs. Spinach has become popular with the more seasoned crowd because it’s been conclusively shown to help protect against age-related sexual issues. Folate also helps lower levels of a harmful amino acid called homocysteine from the bloodstream. Homocysteine irritates the lining of arteries and allows plaque to adhere to them. In fact, in a study at Harvard University, researchers found that men who consumed the highest levels of folate daily were 30% less likely to develop PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease) than those who consumed foods less folate in them.
Go spinach, and relish your place on our list of food aphrodisiacs; you’ve earned it!
When lycopene was isolated in tomatoes and a few scientific studies followed, the media latched on with a fervor. Here at Sextracts Sexual Wellness products, we utilize lycopene in our formulations, and found some clearly positive benefits for sexual wellness in both the long our short term.
Usually, we advocate raw foods and foods that are minimally processed to maximize their health benefits. Oddly enough, the lycopene in tomatoes is best absorbed by the human body when it’s processed into pastes, tomato sauces and ketchup. To get the healthy benefits of lycopene in raw tomatoes, it has to be combined with leafy greens and/or oily vegetables or olive oil itself to help the lycopene absorb in our systems.
Speaking of, a study was conducted at the Madrid Urological Institute. Researchers discovered that when lycopene was ingested with olive oil, that it looked to improve erectile dysfunction (ED). The study was conducted with 40 men who were over the age of 50, who also had mild to moderate erectile issues. When they were given 8mg of lycopene from tomatoes, and 20ml (2 dropperfuls) of olive oil over a three month period, 50% of the participants experienced improved erections.
Also, in a 2011 research study called “Lycopene and cardiovascular diseases: an update“, additional evidence supported the above study. It’s generally accepted that the lycopene in tomatoes, especially when coupled with Saw Palmetto, provides prostate support. But lycopene also helps blood vessels to relax. This not only enhances overall circulation, but it can also improve blood flow to the penis, supporting a healthy erection.
So, a few minutes before your passionate romantic encounter, grab a salad, douse it with plenty of olive oil, and supercharge your cardiovascular system with this aphrodisiac food!
Many of us have a deep passion for vanilla. And although vanilla is an aromatic plant and spice, more than it’s a food, we couldn’t help including it here. Because of vanilla’s specific olfactory properties, it’s long been considered an aphrodisiac.
Vanilla was holy to the Mesoamericans. They believe that the fragrance of vanilla, especially when in perfume, “gives men the will”, when it comes to sex drive. The Mayans revered this spice for both its fragrance and its aphrodisiac qualities. Women used the vanilla pods to perfume their clothing with the specific goal of better attracting men. It only takes a cursory look today to see that many popular fragrances for bot men and women contain vanilla in them. Could an industry based on scents and the laws of olfactory attraction be wrong?
There’s also a “potency-increasing” tea blend made from vanilla, leaves and fruit of bitter melon, pieces of the ch’it palm, and some peppermint. (Andrews Heath, 1979) When it comes to aphrodisiac drinks that contain vanilla, the people of ancient Mexico were renowned for their aphrodisiac cacao drink that contained copious amounts of vanilla. In the modern world, men still chew on vanilla pods to increase their sexual virility.
Could there be a scientific reason why so many of us are attracted to this ancient spice and aphrodisiac? The fragrance of vanilla comes from vanillin. Curiously enough, vanillin is chemically related to pheremones that are known to be sexually arousing in people. In research studies that call for a “pleasant” scent, vanillin is the standard choice because it’s so universally pleasant for most humans. In another discovery, cancer patients who took part in a diagnostic procedure known to be stressful reported a show-stopping 63% decrease in anxiety when vanilla was administered before and during the procedure.
Another study in Germany discovered that vanillin can actually make you calmer as well. With such universal appeal, we couldn’t resist including this spice in our short list of aphrodisiac foods. Try it for yourself sometime, and let us know if you discovered some sexy results of your own!
It’s difficult to find those who don’t like watermelon. Recently, watermelon has been added to the sexy foods list because of one piece of scientific data:
Well, in 2008, a researcher named Dr. Bhimu Patil of the Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center decided to study watermelon, and specifically one of it’s phytonutrients called citrulline. His research revealed that citrulline is quite efficient at relaxing blood vessels. The relaxation of blood vessels, especially in male genitalia, is a precursor to erections.
Furthermore, the human body converts citrulline to L-argenine. L-argenine is growing in popularity as a sexual wellness product because it “boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”
The media latched onto this discovery with its usual fervor, and soon, watermelon was being marketed as natural Viagra. Unfortunately, citrulline is far more concentrated in the rind of the watermelon, so consumption of a usual amount of watermelon isn’t really enough to spark sudden erections. I don’t doubt some genetic engineer is working on sex fruit, modifiyng plant genes to produce citrulline in higher quantities in the fruit of the watermelon as well.
On a related note, lycopene has been recently touted as another potential aphrodisiac, partly because of how healthy it is for the heart as well as the prostate. Watermelon was always thought to be the best natural sources of lycopene known, until tomatoes muscled their way onto the scene. Although tomatoes are now associated with lycopene, watermelon still reigns supreme for lycopene content.