By Naomi Mead
For those of you looking to put some spice back into your sex life, food can help you to set the mood and turn up the heat. There is growing research to suggest certain vitamins and minerals can have an aphrodisiac effect, giving weight to legends such as that of Casanova and his breakfast of 50 oysters! But don’t worry, oysters aren’t the only option. Boost your intake of these 10 libido-boosting foods to satiate your desires and satisfy your sexual appetite.
1) Dark Chocolate: referred to by the Aztecs as the nourishment of the Gods! Cocoa contains a compound called phenylethylamine which releases the same feel-good endorphins triggered by sex.
2) Strawberries: an excellent source of folic acid, which has been linked to high sperm count in men. Not just for the boys, strawberries are also rich in zinc, the most important libido-boosting mineral for both sexes. In addition, red is known to be the colour of sexual attraction. Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, it appears, may be the perfect lovers’ dessert!
3) Watermelon: branded by some experts as the new Viagra! Watermelon is rich in citrulline, an amino acid known to improve blood flow to the heart and the sexual organs.
4) Avocados: named from the Aztec word "ahuacti," meaning testicle, because of their physical shape. Avocados contain many nutrients such as beta carotene, magnesium, and vitamin E - all linked to improved sexual function.
5) Asparagus: these phallic-shaped stalks are not only a visual psychological aphrodisiac, asparagus is a rich source of what is known as the “sex vitamin,” vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that boosts circulation.
6) Pumpkin Seeds: another rich source of zinc, essential for the production of testosterone. Great for boosting female desire too, pumpkin seeds are also rich in the fatty acid omega-3 which is required for making sex hormones.
7) Maca Powder: derived from the Peruvian Maca root, this superfood is thought to boost strength, energy and libido, for 3-in-1 pleasure! Add to smoothies, or sprinkle over breakfasts or desserts.
8) Oysters: the renowned “food of love” had to feature in the top 10, being one of the best sources of libido-boosting zinc. If you don’t fancy the idea of a slippery oyster sliding down your throat, other shellfish such as prawns and mussels are also packed with zinc.
9) Rocket: this peppery salad contains minerals and antioxidants that block absorption of environmental pollutants thought to negatively affect your libido.
10) Chili Peppers: to boost the libido, and literally make you feel hot! Chilies contain capsaicin, which can speed up your heart rate and boost the release of endorphins, giving you a natural high and a lift of sexual confidence!
Naomi Mead is a trained nutritional therapist, accredited at the renowned Institute of Optimum Nutrition and regularly contributes to Nutrition Expert