And what exactly are those sexy eats? In this list, you’ll find a well-balanced menu to prepare your body and brain for the bedroom. Building more of these super sex foods into your daily diet is one of the easiest (and tastiest) ways to improve your health for optimal sex.
Spinach and Other Green Vegetables
Spinach is a potent source of magnesium, which helps dilate blood vessels, according to Japanese researchers. Better blood flow to the genitals creates greater arousal for men and women.
Spinach and other green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, and bok choy are also good sources of our favorite sex nutrient—folate.
Extra insurance for good reproductive health, folate may lower blood levels of a harmful substance called homocysteine. This abrasive amino acid irritates the lining of arteries and encourages plaque to adhere to it.
The antioxidant catechin found in tea promotes blood flow all over the body for sex power and brainpower; it enhances memory, mood, and focus. One particularly potent catechin, a compound called ECGC prevalent in green tea, is thought to increase fat burn.
A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who consumed the equivalent of three to five cups of green tea a day for 12 weeks experienced nearly a 5 percent reduction in bodyweight. Drink freshly brewed green or black tea every day—hot or iced. Bottled teas don’t offer the same benefits.
And keep the sugar out of it. Unsweetened tea is an excellent alternative to high-calorie, sugar-laden soft drinks and juices. One 12-ounce can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it.
The high-fructose corn syrup in many soft drinks raises insulin levels, which can over time develop into diabetes. Studies also show that getting too much sugar lowers the body’s ability to produce endorphins. Low endorphins can lead to depression, and depression sucks the life out of your sex drive.
Peaches and Other Fruit
If you’re looking to add some deductions to your 1040 form, eat more grapefruit, oranges, and peaches. Men who consume at least 200 milligrams of vitamin C a day improve their sperm counts and motility, according to research at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
The daily vitamin C takers significantly improved the quality of their sperm, with the 1,000 mg group showing the greatest boost in sperm counts.They are filled with high concentrations of the good-for-your-heart, good-for-sex phytonutrients lycopene, beta carotene, and, the big one, citrulline.
When you eat watermelon, the citrulline is converted to the helpful amino acid arginine. “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it,”.
Over easy, hard-boiled, or scrambled, eggs aren’t the most sensual food on the menu, but it’s hard to beat them for a fit and healthy body inside and out. Eggs are rich in vitamins B6 and B5, which help balance hormone levels and ease stress, and are important for a healthy libido.
Calorie for calorie, eggs deliver more biologically usable protein (if you eat the yolks) than any other food, including beef. Eggs are an excellent part of a weight-loss strategy thanks to their protein and B12, a vitamin that studies have shown is necessary for breaking down fat.
Italian researchers recently found that the antioxidants and alcohol in the wine may trigger the production of nitric oxide in the blood, which helps artery walls to relax, increasing blood flow to the genitals.
Just limit yourself to a glass or two. More alcohol than that can put a damper on sexual performance. Worth noting: even teetotalers can benefit from the red grape. Dark grape juice contains antioxidant polyphenols that protect the cardiovascular system and help keep skin flexible and elastic.
Next up: red meat. Lean cuts are great sources of zinc, a mineral that curbs production of a hormone called prolactin, which at high levels can cause sexual dysfunction, according to Berman.
Zinc is also a key muscle-building nutrient, and the high concentrations of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) in beef, studies show, may spur weight loss. Choose filet mignon or other deep red cuts with round or loin in the name, because they are the leanest.
Seeds and Nuts
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and other nuts all contain the necessary monounsaturated fats with which your body creates cholesterol—and your sex hormones need that cholesterol to work properly.
That’s something the ancient Romans didn’t know when they tossed walnuts at newlyweds for good breeding luck. Long linked to fertility—the shell, of course, resembles a man’s cojones; the inside meat is vulvalike in form—nuts make a perfectly sexy snack. Packed with muscle-building protein and filling fiber, they are a heart-healthy, albeit calorie-dense, treat.
Brazil nuts are the richest source of selenium—a mineral that has been linked to preventing cancers of the prostate and colon—you can eat. Pecans deliver the most antioxidants of any nut. Adding them to your diet may reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Protein is so important to weight maintenance that you should eat it with every meal and snack. Proteins boost metabolism a little more during digestion than any other type of food.
Plus protein increases metabolism by helping to build muscle and stall the muscle loss that naturally happens as we age. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat is, so the more lean muscle on your body the better at burning calories it will be.
So, how do you eat more protein without going overboard on eggs and meat? Beans—they’re good for the heart and your glutes. Kidneys, garbanzos, black beans, and navy beans are full of muscle-building protein.
While they may not be the best choice for a side dish if you plan on sex for dessert, building your meal plan around a foundation of beans and legumes will ultimately pay off for you sexually.
Navy beans are particularly rich in potassium, which regulates blood pressure and heart contractions, something you'll need as your heart starts racing when he does that special move that makes you melt.
If what’s good for your heart is good for your love life, oily coldwater fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna should figure heavily into your weekly meal rotation.
The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish help to raise dopamine levels in the brain that trigger arousal, according to sexologist Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD.
Other health benefits: anti-inflammatory properties that fight blood clots and heart arrhythmias, better brain function, and protection against dementia.
Eating oatmeal is one of the few natural ways to boost testosterone in the bloodstream. The male hormone plays a significant role in sex drive and orgasm strength in both men and women.
Oats (as well as seeds, ginseng, nuts, dairy, and green vegetables) contain L-arginine, an amino acid that enhances the effect nitric oxide has on reducing blood vessel stiffness.
L-arginine has been used to treat erectile dysfunction. Like Viagra, it helps relax muscles around blood vessels in the penis. When they dilate, blood flow increases so a man can maintain an erection.
Oatmeal and other whole grains like whole-grain bread, brown rice, and barley also qualify as good-for-the-heart, better-for-the-gut foods. They are slow-burning, complex carbohydrates that won’t drive your blood sugar through the roof. They keep you feeling fuller longer and provide excellent energy.
Oysters and Other Shellfish
In addition to their reputation as the ultimate aphrodisiac (thanks to their resemblance to female genitalia), raw oysters actually do have a connection to sexual function. Oysters hold more zinc than most any other food, and it is believed that this mineral may enhance libido by helping with testosterone production—higher levels of the hormone are linked to an increase in desire.
Zinc is also crucial to healthy sperm production and blood circulation. While Casanova reportedly ate 50 raw oysters a day, about six will provide double the recommended daily allowance of 15 mg of zinc.
Dark chocolate, in particular, contains a compound called phenylethylamine that releases the same endorphins triggered by sex, and increases the feelings of attraction between two people.
The brains of both men and women showed greater stimulation while the chocolate melted on their tongues than when their tongues were tied in a passionate kiss.
Strawberries and Other Berries
Red is sexy. Red roses, sports cars, slinky red dresses . . . strawberries.
Strawberries can be considered sexy for another reason besides their sensual color: They are high in the B vitamin folate that helps prevent birth defects, and vitamin C, a potential libido booster.
Blueberries (and blackberries) are just as sexy. Ideal for a great morning-after breakfast in bed, so you have energy for round two, both berries contain compounds that are thought to relax blood vessels and improve circulation for a natural Viagra-like effect.