Chocolate, chilli, oysters - you've probably heard of these aphrodisiacs time and again. Instead, Lee Holmes recommends these lesser known libido-boosters to chew on.
From ancient fertility deities to modern pharmaceuticals, every culture and generation has their tried-and-tested methods for a better sex life.
Naturally, food plays a big part in these rituals, across generations.
Just like a car stops without petrol, our libido needs fuel to function. If your love life has taken a dip, the spark in your step has waned, or your drive and energy for sex and pleasure has burnt out, one of the first places you should look to help change this is your diet.
When looking for loved up foods to boost libido and pleasure, we're searching for things that will provide the specific nutrients that support sexual energy and activity in the mesolimbic dopamine pathway - which is the governing centre for libido. Here is my pick of the foods you may not realise will bring some life back bedroom.
Even though you are most likely to see Maca sold as a powder in health food stores, it’s actually a root vegetable that has been used for centuries for fertility, arousal and helping hot flushes.
It has the potential to help healthy menopausal women with sexual dysfunction and men with erectile dysfunction. Maca regulates and balances hormones for fertility, libido and energy.
Maca is also an adaptogenic food, meaning it can regulate and balance hormones and organ function.
2. Pine nuts
Since Zinc is a key mineral for maintaining sexual potency, Zinc-rich pine nuts contain around 58 per cent of your daily requirement in a small serving. Pine nuts have been used to stimulate the libido as far back as medieval times. Serve them sprinkled on salads or in a classic pesto to spark up some loving.
3. Pumpkin seeds
If mood is the obstacle to an adventurous sex life, pumpkin seeds could be your new best friend with benefits! These little guys are one of the best sources of an amino acids known as tryptophan, which helps the production of serotonin in your brain. Pumpkin seeds help the brain to circulate serotonin - which is crucial to a sexy mood!
4. Oily Fish
Serve up that salmon this Valentine's Day! Omega 3 raises dopamine levels in the brain, which improves blood flow and can help trigger arousal. Dopamine also helps you feel more relaxed and connected to your partner, which makes intimacy more fun.
Another part of being able to get the best out of your food for your libido, is understanding the nutrients that help give you an extra boost.
There are specific nutrients needed to fire the hormones that contribute to a vibrant libido. Look for foods that contain the following to get your blood and hormones flowing to the right areas!
Vitamin B, B1 and B3
B vitamins are crucial for reaction and response between lovers and for getting the blood to our sexual organs.
You may already be aware that Vitamin C plays a key role in our immune system, but there’s another system that it’s crucial in, and one that your parents probably skimped out on during lessons about the food pyramid! Vitamin C supports hormone synthesis which improves mood and sexual desire; and parents wonder why their teenagers find it difficult to concentrate when lunchtimes are spent snacking on oranges, capsicums and tomatoes, or it could be the hormones kicking in!
Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium
These minerals are crucial for sperm production in males and the production of testosterone and other sexual hormones in both men and women. They also help support the neurotransmitters that turn you on!
For those who can't get past good old chocolate - which increases blood flow and increases both the seratonin and dopamine levels in your brain, bringing on those feelings of pure pleasure and happiness - try my recipe for healthy chocolate hearts.