Your “libido” is another name for your sexual desire or interest in sexual activity. Libido is influenced by a variety of factors, including your age, hormones, diet, lifestyle, and much more. As we age, libido naturally declines. Certain foods and herbs, however, may help to enhance your libido naturally. In this article, we’ll discuss the best foods for libido for both men and women.
Best Foods for Libido
The best foods for improving libido in general include:
Oysters are one of the most well-known aphrodisiac foods. They are naturally high in zinc, which is an essential nutrient that plays a role in blood circulation and may also increase blood flow to sexual organs. Zinc also helps to regulate testosterone levels, so it may play an especially important role in sexual health for men. Oysters are considered to be one of the best foods to boost libido for males, though they are also known to be one of the best foods for libido in women as well. Other shellfish like lobster and crab are also rich in zinc, as are beef, pork, beans, and pumpkin seeds.
Meat is a great source of protein and provides the body with many important amino acids. Carnitine and L-arginine, in particular, are amino acids that may increase blood flow throughout the body, possibly increasing circulation to reproductive organs. Meat is also high in zinc, which may have similar benefits for libido. Meat is considered to be one of the best foods for male libido as numerous studies on meat have shown that it can help to prevent and even potentially treat erectile dysfunction (ED). While meat is exceptionally high in protein and essential amino acids, these nutrients can be found in smaller amounts in whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and dairy products.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are another great food for libido as they are great plant-based sources of zinc and protein. Some nuts also contain the amino acid L-arginine, which helps dilate your blood vessels and improve overall blood circulation. Nuts and seeds are also rich in essential fatty acids that also benefit cardiovascular health, lower triglycerides, and increase dopamine production—all of which may help to raise libido.
Eggs are an excellent source of many important nutrients. For one, eggs are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help to prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries. This helps blood flow more easily throughout the body, which is important for maintaining libido. Eggs are also a great source of protein, vitamin B12, and vitamin D—which may also support the health of reproductive organs.
Berries of all kinds can be beneficial foods for those looking to boost libido. Berries are rich in antioxidant compounds like anthocyanins and quercetin—flavonoids that promote circulation, reduce inflammation, and may even help treat ED.
Beets are another libido-boosting food. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary nitrates—all of which can contribute to libido and sexual health. Beets are an especially good source of a compound called nitric oxide, which is known to induce vasodilation, or expansion of the blood vessels. This allows blood to flow more easily, improving blood flow to all of the body’s organs.
Beets, beet juice and beet powder are often used by athletes to enhance energy and athletic performance. They may also help to improve sexual stamina, increase libido and treat erectile dysfunction by increasing the levels of nitric oxide in the body.
Avocadoes are another great food for libido. They are an excellent source of plant-based omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, magnesium and potassium. They are also high in folate (vitamin B6). These nutrients help to promote good circulation and heart health, which are both essential for a healthy sex life. Folate has also been linked to reduce symptoms of PMS, which can help prevent discomfort for women on their period.
Best Foods and Herbs for Boosting Female Libido
The foods mentioned above are the most renowned aphrodisiacs (libido enhancers) for both men and women. Certain foods and herbs, however, appear to have greater benefits for either men or women specifically. Below are the best foods for libido in women:
Maca is a well-known aphrodisiac native to Peru that has been used by men and women alike for millennia. The root of the plant is used as a food and medicine and has been shown to increase energy levels, athletic performance, hormonal health and sexual drive. Most people are familiar with white maca, which traditionally is used for both men and women. There are other varieties of maca, however, and traditionally the red maca has been used as the primary variety for women’s health.
Figs are a delicious fruit that have many health benefits. Among their many health benefits, figs are said to increase sexual desire. They are actually considered to be one of the best foods to boost libido for females. While figs do have some amino acids that can contribute to increased blood flow to sexual organs, the libido-enhancing effects of figs are also attributed to their appearance, flavor and aroma.
Damiana is a wild shrub that grows in Mexico and Central America and has been used medicinally for centuries. It is said to have potent aphrodisiac properties, especially for women. Damiana can be consumed as a tea, tincture, or even occasionally smoked.
Avena Sativa is a name given to the green straw of the oat plant. Oat straw has been used for centuries for its aphrodisiac qualities, and women that take it often claim it increases vaginal stimulation and increases the overall desire for sex. Some research on Avena Sativa suggests that it provides the body with hormones needed for sexual stimulation by freeing up bound testosterone in the body.
Best Foods and Herbs for Boosting Male Libido
Just as certain foods and herbs enhance women’s libido more effectively, there are certain foods and herbs that appear to work particularly well for men. Some of the best foods for male libido include:
Traditionally, in the Andes mountains where maca originates, the people used red maca for women’s health and black maca for men’s health. The indigenous Peruvian people of the Andes swear by the benefits of black maca for enhancing male libido, strength and overall energy.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb, which means it helps the body adapt well to stress. It also has immune-boosting benefits, benefits for hormonal health, benefits for energy and athletic performance, as well as benefits for libido and sexual health. Ashwagandha has adaptogenic properties for both men and women, but it has traditionally been used in Ayurveda—India’s traditional system of medicine—as a primary tonic for male sexual health.
He Shou Wu
He Shou Wu, also known as Fo Ti, is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to promote healthy aging, increase energy levels, and improve sexual health. It is a commonly used tonic for the reproductive organs and sexual vibrancy. This is attributed to He Shou Wu’s effect on hormones, helping to increase secretion of sex hormones, potentially boosting testosterone levels in males.
Muira Puama, also known as “potency wood” is a commonly used herb for a variety of male health issues. It is native to the Amazon rainforest and has been used traditionally for increasing libido in men and helping to treat erectile dysfunction and low sperm count—hence its common name “potency wood.” It is not the most common herb available today, but it can be found in powder form, as capsules, or as a bulk wood that can be processed into a tea at home through a simple decoction.
Additional Aphrodisiac Foods and Herbs
Some other commonly used foods and herbs with libido-enhancing properties include:
- Horny Goat Weed
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Tongkat Ali
- Cayenne pepper
- Red wine
Libido is another name for sexual desire or interest in sexual activity. It is influenced by a variety of factors, including hormones, age, learned behaviors, diet and lifestyle—to name a few. Our libido naturally declines as we get older, but certain foods and herbs may help to enhance libido naturally.
Some of the best foods for enhancing libido include:
Much of the libido-boosting benefits of these foods are attributed to their ability to enhance blood flow to sexual organs, either directly through vasodilation (expansion of blood vessels) or indirectly through other means like reducing cholesterol in the arteries or by inhibiting inflammation.
While the above-mentioned foods are renowned for their ability to enhance libido in both men and women, some foods and herbs have a particular affinity for either men or women. The top libido-enhancing foods and herbs for women include:
- Red Maca
- Avena Sativa
The top libido-enhancing herbs for men include:
- Black maca
- He Shou Wu
- Muira Puama
Eating certain foods or taking certain herbs and supplements may increase your libido, but they are no substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle, or a healthy emotional connection with your partner. Like everything related to health, increasing libido is best done holistically and naturally. Look at all areas of your health that could be contributing to low libido—such as stress, sleep, exercise, diet, habits, etc.—and do your best to improve and take better care of these important factors of health.