The 11 Best Libido-Boosting Foods

From asparagus to egg yolks, these foods will help get you in the mood!

May 22, 2012
Foods That Get You in the Mood

Every time you choose a meal, you have the opportunity to bolster your health--including your sexual health. Dozens of studies link a healthy sex life to a stronger immune system and lower prostate cancer risk. Sex also serves as a natural pain reducer and antidepressant, thanks to the feel-good hormones and endorphins it releases. Best of all, people who have healthy sex lives tend to live longer. Luckily, choosing certain healthful foods can provide a healthy boost in mood and sexual desire. Just remember to choose organic foods, or your plan could backfire. A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that atrazine, one of the most commonly applied herbicides in the world, messed with more than just weeds. In animal studies, even diluted concentrations slashed sex drive and hormone levels, damaged fertility, and (YIKES) even turned some male frogs into females. Not sexy!

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Egg Yolks

"One way to boost libido is to make sure you're eating a diet that prevents depressive symptoms," explains psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor of The Happiness Diet. "That's one of the most classic signs of depression, that people lose interest in sex completely."

Eggs are an important component of sexual health, thanks to their being a dependable source of L-arginine, an amino acid that can help eradicate erectile dysfunction. Egg yolks from hens raised on pasture also provide ample amounts of vitamin B12, one of the necessary building blocks for serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter that directly affects libido.

Read More: The Truth About Your Eggs


Asparagus has been considered an aphrodisiac for hundreds of years, thanks to medieval folklore. Turns out, our ancestors were probably right. Asparagus is one of the richest vegetable sources of folate, a nutrient that helps promote healthy nitric oxide functioning, something that can deter erectile dysfunction.

Read More: The 10 Best Hangover Foods


Gingerroot is best known as a natural remedy for morning or motion sickness, but it's been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac, too, because it purportedly increases blood flow to erogenous zones.

Libido Foods Trick! Heat up your palate, as well as your sex drive, with these 5 Spicy Ginger Recipes.


Often mistakenly believed to lack nutrients, celery stalks are actually loaded with androstenone and androstenol, a pair of pheromones that work to jumpstart your sex appeal. The effect is immediate: Men start emitting these pheromones just moments after chewing on celery; the compounds travel to the man's nose, boost his arousal, causing his body to send off scents and signals that attract women.

Celery also contains phytochemicals called phthalides, which relax muscle tissue in artery walls and help keep your blood pressure under control...even when things are out of control in the bedroom

Read More: 7 Stealth Health Foods

Chile Peppers

Hot peppers don't just excite your taste buds. They quite literally make you hot, causing an elevated heartbeat and even sweaty palms. Capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their kick, could also fire up your libido. The feel-good endorphins boost that eating peppers releases has been compared to the endorphin rush associated with orgasms.

Read More: What's Your Hot Pepper Personality Type?


Eating this disease-fighting superfood can actually make you hot. Just like chile peppers, garlic can help improve blood flow to all parts of your body, which creates a warming effect. (You have organosulfur compounds to thank for that.) Worried that garlic breath could ruin the mood? Make sure you have a sprig of fennel on hand: The herb's active compound, anethol, helps neutralize garlic breath.

Read More: 45 Good Reasons to Ditch Junk Food

Pumpkin & Lavender

Scientists at the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Foundation in Chicago found that the intermingled scents of pumpkin pie and lavender resulted in a 40 percent increase in penile blood flow. For ladies, the natural fragrance mix caused an 11 percent increase in arousal. Avoid the temptation to grab scented candles advertising these sexy scents, though. Many contain toxic chemicals, such as benzene, and are linked to diabetes and obesity. Instead, pop a homemade pumpkin pie in the oven, hang some dried lavender in your home to optimize attraction!

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Figs were a favored food of ancient Greeks and Romans, perhaps due to the fruit's potent sex-boosting mineral profile. Figs are rich in magnesium, a component your body needs to manufacture sex hormones. Need another reason to indulge in figs? The fruits support proper pH levels, increasing your body's ability to pathogens.

Read More: 6 Surprising Benefits of Sex

Beans & Lentils

Beans and lentils are bursting with B vitamins and iron, two components vital to promoting neurotransmitter health, particularly boosting serotonin levels. "Serotonin has been called the happiness molecule, but it's also at the center of a lot of other important functions, like mood and appetite, but also sex drive," explains Dr. Ramsey.

Read More: 7 Surprisingly Affordable Superfoods


Chocolate's a go-to gift on Valentine's Day--and with good reason. A compound in dark chocolate, phenylethylamine, releases the same feel-good endorphins triggered by sex. Scientists even discovered that just one cube of dark chocolate a day could improve sexual function. It's also chock full of arginine, an amino acid that converts to nitric oxide. (Viagra also works by increasing nitric oxide levels). Choose organic chocolate so you don't also get a punch of the pesticides used to grow cocoa beans. Try Theo Chocolate's Jane Goodall Organic Dark Chocolate as an eco-aphrodisiac; Green & Black's Organic Dark Chocolate Mint fits the bill if you like added flavor.

Read More: 11 Surprising Sex-Drive Killers


It's been long debated whether oysters really are oceanic aphrodisiacs, but when you consider the potent zinc content the shellfish boasts, it's hard to deny the food is a boon to sexual health. Zinc is a key component for testosterone production, a hormone that boosts sexual desire in both men and women. Oysters benefit us in other ways, too. Wild oyster reefs help stabilize shorelines, protecting them against erosion caused by strong storms. Enjoy It! Wild oyster reefs are under attack, thanks mostly to invasive species, so choose farmed oysters. If you happen to live in New York state, check out Cornell University's Southold Project in Aquaculture Training--the program trains amateurs in raising oysters along waterfront properties or community shellfish gardens.

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