Low libido is one of the most sexual conditions. Up to 43% of women and almost 30% of men experience low sexual desire, which can be caused by a variety of factors.
Stress, poor sleeping habits, anxiety disorders, and chemicals that disrupt the hormone balance of the body call all cause inhibited libido, which can manifest in a variety of ways, from low sexual activity to an inability to become aroused or gain an erection.
There are thousands of different solutions for both men and women that seek to address the issue of low libido, ranging from pharmaceutical medical solutions to herbal extracts and supplements.
The efficacy of these solutions varies, as do the potentially negative side effects they can cause. Boosting libido, however, is often as simple as changing dietary practices and consuming more foods that boost the libido naturally.
There is a large body of scientific evidence that supports the management and promotion of libido and sexual health through dietary practices. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 7 most effective foods that boost sexual function and desire, and take a look at the science behind them.
Top 7 Libido Boosting Foods
Oysters have been used as a natural aphrodisiac for thousands of years. Commonly used in gourmet fare, oysters have long been associated with hedonistic and epicurean pursuits.
Aside from their rich nutritional content, which includes high levels of protein, vitamin C and B12, copper, phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids, oysters also contain a large amount of zinc, which has been proven to boost libido in both men and women.
Zinc is able to boost the testosterone production of the body. While testosterone is traditionally associated with male health, responsible for most of the major male secondary characteristics such as lean muscle mass, endurance, and aggression, it also has therapeutic benefits in boosting libido function in both sexes.
Both men and women produce testosterone naturally, although in far higher levels in the former versus the latter.
A 2010 clinical study performed by the BC Centre for Sexual Medicine found that marginally increased testosterone levels in women causes a significant increase in sexual desire and frequency.
A similar trial performed in 2009 reflected the same results in the male body, attesting to the aphrodisiac properties of oysters.
The high vitamin B12 content of oysters has also been demonstrated to deliver an improvement in the cardiovascular function of the body, relaxing blood vessels and improving the rate at which the heart is able to provide blood to the tissues and musculature.
This effect has been clinically proven to increase sexual function and even improve erectile health. Lastly, the high protein content of oysters also boosts libido and sexual health.
Fast facts about oysters:
- Oysters contain high levels of zinc, which boosts sex hormone levels
- The rich vitamin content of oysters is able to increase cardiovascular function, boosting sexual endurance
- Oysters contain plenty of protein, which boosts sexual desire
Like oysters, almonds have functioned as a natural aphrodisiac in many cultures for millennia, and are used in fertility symbolism around the world. Similarly to oysters, almonds contain high levels of zinc and vitamin B12, which boost sexual performance in both sexes.
Almonds are also known for their high fatty acid content. Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to regulate libido function in the human body, and are a proven fertility booster. The libido-boosting properties of almond don’t have to be gained through dietary consumption, either.
There are a number of proven health benefits to using almonds and almond oils in aromatherapy and massage techniques, so incorporating almond oil into the bedroom can have a powerful libido boosting effect.
Fast facts about almonds:
- Almonds are high in sex hormone boosting vitamins and minerals
- The high omega fatty acid content of almonds boosts fertility
- Almond essential oils have aromatherapy benefits for libido
Although the avocado isn’t seen as a libido boosting aphrodisiac in modern times, it has a rich history of use as a sexual health promoting superfood.
The first documented consumption of avocado is found in archeological evidence gathered about the Aztec people of South America, who named the avocado tree the ahuacuatl, or the “testicle tree”.
In a hilarious case of highly effective reverse-psychology advertising, when the avocado first became popular in the US in the 1920’s the American Avocado Growers Association published newspaper advertisements that denied the scandalous libido-boosting properties of the fruit, which inevitably resulted in a surge in avocado sales.
The libido-boosting properties of avocado are linked to its high content of vitamin E. Vitamin E is commonly referred to as the “sex hormone”, as it has a powerful link to the sexual health of the body.
A 2009 Chinese clinical investigation found that vitamin E supplementation can stimulate the reproductive organs, and has been demonstrated to improve sexual performance. Like almonds, avocados also contain high levels of fatty acids.
Fast facts about avocado:
- Avocado was used as an aphrodisiac by the Aztecs
- The high levels of vitamin E in avocado boosts overall sexual health
- Avocados also contain high levels of fatty acids that improve sexual function
Strawberries, like the other foods on this list, are another culturally significant food that has strong ties to sexual health and fertility. In ancient Roman times, the strawberry was associated with Venus, the god of sex, desire, and prosperity.
Folk practices in parts of Bavaria include tying small baskets of fresh strawberries to the horns of cattle in spring to promote the fertility of their livestock.
These traditions are backed up by modern science- strawberries are extremely rich in antioxidants, which improve cardiovascular function and sexual health. One strawberry contains 7.1 mg of vitamin C, which has been demonstrated to improve sperm count and quality.
A popular practice in the consumption of strawberries is dipping them in chocolate, which is another powerful and proven aphrodisiac.
Strawberry fast facts:
- Strawberries have a rich cultural significance as an aphrodisiac
- The high vitamin C content of strawberries boost sperm count
- Combining strawberries with chocolate creates a powerful female aphrodisiac
Watermelon has been referred to as a “natural viagra” by multiple researchers due to the high level of aphrodisiac phytonutrients it contains. The popular summer fruit contains high levels of citrulline, a potent nonessential amino acid.
When citrulline is absorbed by the body, an interesting effect occurs. The digestive system converts citrulline into nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessels, arteries, and veins of the circulatory system through a process called vasodilation, allowing the heart to pump more blood, faster, throughout the body.
Vasodilators and nitric oxide have been clinically proven to dramatically increase sexual performance, specifically in men. Increased nitric oxide levels have been proven to result in stronger, longer lasting erections, and improved sexual endurance.
Watermelon fast facts:
- Watermelon contains phytonutrients that improve sexual function
- The high citrulline levels of watermelon increase nitric oxide concentration in the blood
- Nitric oxide boosts erection strength and endurance
6. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato has increased in popularity in recent years as it is rich in a wide variety of nutrients that offer a broad spectrum of health benefits.
Often referred to as a “superfood”, sweet potato is rich in potassium, a critical micronutrient that has a proven positive effect on blood pressure regulation.
High blood pressure is the leading cause of erectile dysfunction, restricting the amount of blood the body is able to supply to the penis and therefore inhibiting the ability to gain and maintain an erection.
Potassium has been clinically proven to boost the ability of the body to gain an erection and is a powerful erectogenic compound as well as offering protection from heart disease and stroke.
Sweet potato fast facts:
- Sweet potato is a superfood that is rich in potassium
- Potassium lowers blood pressure, which causes erectile dysfunction
- High potassium levels are associated with good sexual health
7. Sesame Seeds
Similarly to oysters, sesame contains high levels of zinc, which dramatically increases testosterone production in men, and marginally boosts testosterone levels in women.
The high magnesium content of sesame seeds also promotes better sexual function Sesame seeds also contain a significant chunk of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B6, which has been demonstrated to play a critical role in the production of serotonin in the brain.
Balanced serotonin levels have been clinically proven to result in longer sexual performance and more satisfying sex, making sesame seeds a powerful aphrodisiac food.
Sesame fast facts:
- Sesame contains libido-boosting zinc and magnesium
- The high levels of vitamin B6 in sesame seeds promotes serotonin production
- Balanced serotonin levels result in better sex
Libido Boosting Foods Summary
Most of the causes of low libido and poor sexual performance are easily fixed by practicing healthy lifestyle habits and improving dietary intake.
Not only will the foods on this list deliver a boost to libido, but they also promote better overall health and protect the body from disease.
The best thing you can do to boost your libido and experience better sex is to eat a healthy diet rich in micronutrients and perform light physical exercise several times a week, which also provides a wide range of other health benefits.