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Oysters are a well-known aphrodisiac, but what about saffron, ginseng and maca? Food can be a natural and healthy way to get all engines running, and while there’s a large focus on boosting libidos, setting the mood and getting your heart in top shape can be just as essential as the functioning of other – ahem – organs. Read on to discover five in-the-mood foods and heart-smart staples to feed your sex life.
In a study recently published in Food Research International, researchers found that saffron, a spice used in cooking and as a fragrance in perfumes, helps to enhance sexual performance. Cooking a romantic Spanish paella dinner or sprinkling this spice on chicken are both easy ways to heat up things in the bedroom.
As a plant source, nuts are one of the highest in an amino acid called L-arginine. In the body, arginine turns into a gas called nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and helps to increase blood flow to all parts of the body. So go nuts! A recent study done on walnuts (the only nut to contain omega-3s) found that men who ate walnuts on a daily basis had an improvement in sperm vitality and motility. And good news for women – almonds specifically are a good source of vitamin E, which has been shown to help reduce vaginal dryness.
Long used in Chinese medicine, ginseng now has research backing its benefits to both men and women when it comes to getting busy. A study from the University of Hawaii found that there was a significant boost in libido and satisfaction among women taking ginseng. Studies have also found ginseng to help treat erectile dysfunction in men.
Widely known for its health benefits ranging from weight loss to immunity to cancer prevention, green tea may also have its merits when it comes to sex. Green tea is packed with an antioxidant called catechin that helps to keep blood vessels healthy and circulation pumping. When you go tea, go green: Green tea contains more catechins than black or oolong teas.
By way of the Andean Mountains, maca root has been used for thousands of years as a healing superfood. The root is typically consumed as a supplement in powder or pill form. A 2010 study published in “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine” revealed that maca may help to increase sexual desire when taken in a dosage of 1.5 to three grams per day for at least six weeks. Maca has a very distinct, malt flavor and is delicious when added to smoothies or shakes.
Click here to see five other foods that can spice up your love life!
By Kelly Plowe, M.S., RD, CSSD