We’ve rounded up the best examples of foods that can help you get it up — and keep it up — naturally.
1. Chilli peppers
The fiery compound that gives chilli peppers their heat, capsaicin, is associated with higher testosterone levels. A recent study found that men who enjoy spicy foods tend to have more testosterone than those who can’t take the heat. In fact, the researchers found a direct correlation between frequent consumption of hot sauce and higher levels of testosterone — which means higher libido. Now that’s pretty hot!
The fact that such a tasty fruit can work wonders on your sex life is the cherry on the cake. Cherries are loaded with a plant chemical called anthocyanin, which actually cleans your arteries of plaque and keeps your blood flowing freely. Plaque buildup is a known cause of erectile dysfunction.
These ruby-hued health bombs are also one of the most potent sources of vitamin C out there. A 49-gram serving (1/2 cup) of red acerola cherries delivers 822 mg of the vitamin — that’s seven times as much as the same amount of orange juice, and 913% of the recommended daily value.
Saffron has long been used as an herbal aphrodisiac and a remedy for erectile dysfunction, without any of the unpleasant side effects brought on by modern medicine. Now, the penis-friendly perks of the dried Crocus sativus flower have been scientifically proven — especially in men on antidepressants.
Researchers gave 36 men, who struggled with a low libido related to antidepressant medication, 30 mg of saffron every day over a four-week period. These men reported significant improvements in their erections and sexual desire, compared to a placebo.
As an added bonus, saffron also seems to work on women. Researchers gave 38 women on antidepressants 30 mg of saffron daily for four weeks. At the end of the study, they reported that their sexual arousal and lubrication had improved, compared with taking a placebo.
It turns out juicy watermelons can help you quench your thirst in more ways than one. The summertime staple is full of L-citrulline, an amino acid that might help with erectile dysfunction. Your body converts the compound into L-arginine, which dilates your blood vessels by raising nitric oxide levels in your bloodstream. One study found that men who took a combination of 800 mg of L-citrulline and 300 mg of transresveratrol reported improved erectile function and hardness over a thirty day period, compared to those who took a placebo.
5. Dark Chocolate
Chocoholics, you’re in luck — your beloved snack might also help you in the sack. The main ingredient in chocolate, cacao, increases the levels of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, in your brain. The higher your serotonin levels, the less stressed you’ll feel. (Stress is a major factor in erectile dysfunction.) This can give your libido a major boost, and might even make your orgasms more intense.
That’s not all — one study found that cacao also relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow, sending blood rushing to all the right regions.
It’s no accident that the number one Valentine’s Day gift is a box of chocolate — it’s long been thought to be an aphrodisiac in women as well.
Who knew your favourite Indian takeaway could help turn you on? Fenugreek, one of the most widely used ingredients in Indian cuisine, is a proven testosterone booster. In one study, 30 men were given 600 mg of fenugreek extract every day over a six week period and observed for any changes in libido and sexual function. The results were astounding: a majority of participants reported increased sex drive, as well as an increase in strength.
In another study, 30 college-aged men performed four sessions of weightlifting every week over an eight-week period. Half of the men were given 500 mg of fenugreek every day, and half were not. The group that took the supplement showed an increase in testosterone, whereas the group that didn’t take it experienced a slight reduction in the hormone. The group that took fenugreek also showed a 2% reduction in body fat.
It’s a no-brainer that salmon is good for us. The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish offer a sea of health benefits for everything from our brain to our heart. But did you know it helps our sex drive, too? The nutrient causes a spike in dopamine, the neurotransmitter that gives us those addictive feelings of pleasure and reward that we get from winning or while having sex. This natural chemical boost improves circulation and blood flow, helping to trigger arousal. It can also make you feel more connected to your partner, which in turn makes sex a whole lot sexier.