Most people have heard of oysters and chocolate (preferably not together!) as traditional aphrodisiacs, but you might be surprised to hear that neither claim is actually backed by much scientific evidence.
Rather than listening to what the movies tell you will improve encounters between the sheets (or wherever else for that matter), we’re here with some science to help you eat your way to a better sex life. Read on for some foods you may not have heard of, that are scientifically proven to get you in the mood and boost your libido.
Boasted as “the Peruvian Viagra”, Maca is commonly used in South America as a homeopathic treatment to boost fertility. However, the medical community have now investigated this little known food, and the results are conclusive. Several scientific studies found it increased libido and erectile function in animals. Luckily for us, the evidence found when testing moved on to humans looks to have the same effect. There’s even evidence to suggest it can reverse some of the libido-reducing side effects of taking antidepressants.
Maca is a root vegetable but can be found in powder and capsule form to be taken as a dietary supplement. You’re likely to find it in health food shops but if you can’t find it there, a quick Google search can help!
Found in Chinese medicine, Red Ginseng is an herbal root that you will come across in its raw, dried form or converted into a capsule for easy ingestion.
It’s often used for the treatment of low libido and sexual function in both men and women, but also boasts other benefits such as preventing cold and flu (let’s face it, no one feels sexy when they’re suffering from those!).
A word of warning, Red Ginseng can interfere with blood-thinning medication and the treatment of hormone-sensitive cancers so it’s always best to check with your doctor first before giving it a try.
Fenugreek is a plant grown all over the world and because of its abundance you can find it in many forms including tea, powdered seed or liquid extract.
The seeds are commonly used in South American cooking but it’s also popular in Ayurvedic treatments deriving from India, for its anti-inflammatory and libido enhancing properties. This is due to its naturally occurring compounds that the body converts into estrogen and testosterone. Research studies carried out in 2011 and 2015 respectively found that regular fenugreek consumption improved sexual arousal and desire in both men and women, so it’s a great option for all couples to try.
As with the Red Ginseng, it’s wise to check with your doctor whether fenugreek will interfere with any medications you may be taking.
This might be one you have heard of, but we wanted to check the science behind it. Chilies are found in many edible forms – fresh, dried, powder – and are most commonly added to dishes to add flavour and heat. But that’s not all they’re good for.
At a chemical level, chilies naturally stimulate endorphins in the brain (those feel good vibes), which in turn raise your heart rate and encourage sweating – all reactions mimicking sexual arousal.
We’re all for throwing some chili sauce on top of most dishes, but if you’re having a romantic meal you might want to ease off the dousing. A profusely sweating dinner date isn’t ideal. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Another plant, this time grown in dry climates such as Southern Asia, Australia and Africa, Tribulus has roots in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. As a dietary supplement, Tribulus possesses qualities such as tissue building, and fertility and libido improvement.
Backed by several scientific studies, the supplement has had a significant positive effect on sperm production in animals – although this is yet to be proven in humans – as well as increasing sexual satisfaction in women suffering from sexual dysfunction.
All the above are individually used to target the increase of sexual arousal and desire, but if you’re looking for a more effortless approach, you can’t go wrong with a balanced diet including plenty of foods rich in vitamins and minerals like dark, leafy greens. When you eat to nourish the body, the mind shortly follows. Let’s face it, no one feels sexy after a lot of junk food. A happy mind and body encourages sexual arousal and excitement, all leading to a satisfying sex life. Don’t forget, it’s as much about feeding the mind as it is about feeding the body.
Looking for more science backed advice? Check out 5 scientifically proven tips for finding lasting love.