By Lindsay Cohn
Oysters, chocolate, chili peppers—certain foods have reps as aphrodisiacs, purported to get you in the mood for love. But what happens once you’re in the bedroom? Here’s a look at eight ingredients that can boost stamina and increase passion, making your overall experience even better. (Is it hot in here all of a sudden?)
Sex can be a legit workout, elevating your heart rate, causing muscle contractions and burning calories. So it stands to reason that foods that boost athletic performance would also help you go the distance in the bedroom. One perfect food? Apples. They contain high levels of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that is shown to improve endurance and fight muscle fatigue.
Go ahead, make the joke about the shape (we did, too). Along with the giggle factor, bananas offer multiple benefits in the bedroom. “Bananas contain vitamin B6 to support stamina, and bromelin (also found in pineapple), which helps in testosterone production,” says Hum Nutrition head dietitian Alex Caspero, RD. They’re also a good source of potassium, which is important in regulating adrenal function and can help reduce muscle cramping (hey, you never know).
Millions of women experience discomfort during sex due to a lack of vaginal lubrication. The most common cause of dryness? Low estrogen levels. Flaxseed is rich in essential fatty acids and phytoestrogens or plant-based estrogenic compounds, which can help combat dryness and boost libido. Pro tip: Since it’s absorbed best in ground form, Caspero suggests adding ground flaxseed to oatmeal, cereal or smoothies to get you in the mood.
Ready to spice things up? Try ginger. This warming spice is a vasodilator, which means it increases circulation and blood flow to sex organs, according to HelloFresh in-house dietitian, Rebecca Lewis, R.D. Ginger’s warming effect comes courtesy of its active compound, gingerol, which is similar to capsaicin in peppers. It also releases feel-good endorphins, increases sexual arousal and stimulates nerve endings. Plus, “it’s a good source of the trace mineral manganese, which can improve testosterone levels, and it’s also said to increase sperm production in men,” says Caspero.
Known as “Peruvian Viagra,” maca root been used for thousands of years to boost libido and enhance stamina. In addition to revving up sex drive, it also supports healthy endocrine function, which means well-regulated hormone production, giving you improved reproductive health and energy levels. “Maca has been shown to increase sperm count in men, enhance fertility in women and reduce symptoms of menopause,” says Caspero.
Red grapes are packed with antioxidants resveratrol and boron. Research indicates that resveratrol supports erectile function, much like the little blue pill. Studies suggest that boron may increase the production of testosterone, the male sex hormone. But this isn’t just good news for guys, testosterone has been shown to boost sexual performance in women, too.
We don’t need to read a study to know that stress triggers emotional and physical reactions that can put a damper on things in the boudoir. Vanilla to the rescue. “Vanilla has a calming effect on the body that will help you relax,” says sexologist and sexuality educator Lisa Hochberger. “Since the time of the Aztecs, its flavor and aroma have been used to increase lust.”
Whew, walnuts, who knew? They’re a great source of heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can boost mood thanks to increased dopamine levels, and amino acids—specifically L-arginine, which can improve men’s sexual function. “L-arginine stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow,” says Lewis.
And we’re out…
Bio: Lindsay Cohn is a wellness writer, yogi and essential oil enthusiast. You can follow her on Instagram at @lindsay_cohn and Twitter at @lindsay_cohn.
Also published on Medium.