Sex drive or libido or desire for sexual activity, is as old as humanity; and so are the remedies to stimulate a lagging libido and increase sexual desire. Aphrodisiacs, as these remedies are called, are named after the Greek goddess of fertility, Aphrodite, born from the sea foam in Cyprus. Certain foods are said to be great natural aphrodisiacs. "In our age of sexual innuendo, the kitchen is the new bedroom," suggests Amy Reiley, America's leading aphrodisiac foods expert, in her book 'Fork Me, Spoon Me'. "It's easy to create 'in the mood' dishes when you select the right ingredients". So, let's check out some of these foods that can naturally boost your sex drive.
A well known aphrodisiac, oysters probably top the list of foods that boost sex drive, especially in men. And that is because oyster is rich in zinc which, scientists have proved, plays an important role in increasing serum testosterone levels in men. Six medium oysters provide 76.3mg of zinc and that is 500 percent more than the recommended daily value for zinc.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin and squash seeds are popular foods in India and other Asian states. The outer shell of the seed is cracked and the seed within is eaten. 100g of seeds provide 10mg of zinc and 70 percent of the recommended daily value. So, if you are not much keen on oysters, go for roasted pumpkin seeds to increase your libido.
Estrogen is associated with sex drive in women. The word 'oistros' in Greek means sexual passion or desire and the suffix 'gen' means the 'producer of'. Studies have shown that fruits such as avocado and grapefruit contain dietary fibers that boost production of estrogen in a woman, especially in menopausal women.
Olive and Olive Oil
While estrogen levels are important, the latest research shows that the male hormone testosterone, the hormone in charge of libido for men, also plays a role in a woman's sex drive. Olives and olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, contain high amount of omega-3 fatty acids that increase testosterone levels.
Cold-water Fish (Salmon, Tuna)
Studies suggest that nitric oxide is essential for the expression of normal libido and it is likely that nitric oxide is required both in the male reproductive tract and in the brain. Nitric oxide is produced from the amino acid arginine and plays an important role in triggering erections, and repairing the veins and arteries that supply blood to the penis. There are many foods and drinks that boost nitric oxide output; cold-water fish like tuna and salmon, beans, soy, walnut and oats
are some such examples. Actually, any food that creates better blood flow and circulatory efficiency will likely enhance sexual response.
"α-Lactalbumin, a minor constituent of milk, is one protein that contains relatively more tryptophan than most proteins. Acute ingestion of α-lactalbumin by humans can improve mood and cognition in some circumstances, presumably owing to increased serotonin," reports Dr Simon Young in his research article 'How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs'. Because of its circulatory, relaxant and muscle-strengthening properties, milk not only invigorates the senses, it also boosts energy.
"Almonds are packed with essential fats that regulate prostaglandins, required for the production of sex hormones," says Ritika Samaddar, Head - Dietetics, Max Healthcare, New Delhi. Soak 10 almonds overnight, peel the skin off and add to a cup of warm milk, add a pinch of nutmeg or saffron to it, and voila, drink it to get back your mojo.
Do you find yourself moaning just from the sheer pleasure of biting into a piece of chocolate? That's because chocolate contains mood-lifting hormones - serotonin and phenylethylamine (PEA). "Chocolate is not like a food, it's like a drug," said Dr Andrea Salonia, the lead author of the study which found that chocolate can have a positive physiological impact on a woman's sexuality. "Women who suffer mood swings as a result of their menstrual cycle may also suffer a dip in their sexual function. I strongly believe eating chocolate may improve their sexual function," she says. Chocolate can help reduce levels of cortisol and catecholamines - the stress buster hormones, because stress is another sex drive dampening component. Want to avoid the sugars? Then choose dark chocolate instead.
This unique fruit with its unique properties can trigger your libido and energize you like nothing does. Banana contains tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax and improve your mood. Banana is also rich in vitamin B6 that is known to lower hormone prolactin levels in the body; high prolactin levels causes low testosterone levels, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction and impotency in men. And if that's not enough reason, banana, a good source of dietary fiber, is rich in potassium, a mineral that increases muscle strength and is an energy booster. Just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.
This common spice has been reputed to be an aphrodisiac herb by a number of different cultures. Ginger is said to have a warming effect that boosts libido. Five to ten grams of ginger a day would be a good dose to try. Apparently, fresh ginger is more potent than dried ginger; so you'd probably need less of this to achieve the same potential testosterone-boosting effect.