Planning a romantic dinner for your date night? If you’re hoping to create some heat under the sheets don’t eat these mojo-killers and dish up these libido-boosting foods instead. Here are the best — and worst — foods for sex.
Experts will all tell you that setting the right atmosphere for romance is key. It sets the mood for your entire night.
In fact, your brain is your most powerful sexual organ, and the food choices you make can literally make or break your night.
If you’re looking to create romance, there are some absolute nutrition “no-no’s” that can leave you gassy, bloated, or struggling to stay awake.
On the other hand, choosing some of the following 11 foods will get your brain and body into the right mood, setting you up for a great night of amazing sex.
Here is a quick sneak peak.
11 Best Foods For Sex
Oysters have long been considered one of nature’s most potent aphrodisiacs.
Legendary 18th century loverboy Casanova is said to have eaten three dozen every morning to maintain his stamina, while traditional medicine men centuries ago wrote that it “stirs up desire in both men and women.”
Libido-boosting oysters are loaded with zinc that acts directly on the testes and ovaries to stimulate testosterone production (1). A half-dozen oysters provides a whopping three times the recommended daily allowance, supporting optimal sex hormone production. They’re also naturally rich in electrolytes, iron, selenium and vitamins B3 and B12.
Yep, more shellfish. Another nutritional powerhouse, mussels are chock-full of vitamin C to promote better blood flow for endurance, selenium to keep your swimmers strong, and trace mineral manganese, which is important for sex hormone production.
3. Dark Chocolate
A staple of ancient Aztec kings’ diets, chocolate is said to have potent libido-enhancing properties. Dark chocolate is rich in the amino acid tryptophan, the building block for “happy” neurotransmitter serotonin, which also acts on the brain to support sexual arousal.
Chocolate is also a great source of magnesium, which upgrades vascular flow, libido-boosting zinc, powerful antioxidants, and cocoa flavanols that boost cognitive performance (2). Finishing your romantic dinner with a dark chocolate dessert is a no-brainer.
4. Unpasteurized Honey
The godfather of medicine, Hippocrates, is believed to have used honey as a sexual tonic to increase arousal and sexual vigor. Unpasteurized honey supports “good” gut bacteria, has plenty of B-vitamins for energy, and is a slow-burning sugar, which means you won’t hit a blood sugar low at the wrong time. (3)
5. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens contain a high concentration of dietary nitrates, nutrients which significantly improve athletic endurance and performance. (4)
You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of dietary nitrates, as they help stimulate the release of nitric oxide (NO), not to be confused with nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas).
Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator that dramatically improves blood flow, something that typically comes in handy in the bedroom. Drugs like Sildenafil Citrate (i.e. Viagra) work on the same principle, increasing nitric oxide production and thus relaxing smooth muscle. Get your nitric oxide dose with dinner, rather than a bottle!
Another phenomenal source of dietary nitrates. Go for the beet salad for your appetizer!
7. Goji Berries
Vitamin C is essential for the health of the smooth muscle in the body. (5) It also helps stimulate the release of nitric oxide (to a lesser degree than beets and dark leafy greens), which improves blood flow to all areas of the body, including the testes and ovaries.
Goji berries can make a nice picnic snack or addition to dessert.
8. Turkey Breast
The amino acid arginine is also a precursor to the production of NO, and turkey is a fantastic source of dietary arginine. It is a common supplement used by weightlifters to increase the “pump” from working out, however, your diet is the best place to get your daily dose of arginine. A 6-oz serving of turkey provides about 3,000 mg of arginine that boosts blood flow throughout the body. (6)
Omega-3 fatty acids promote sexual arousal by increasing dopamine levels, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter in the brain. Anecdotal evidence also suggests women may experience stronger and more plentiful orgasms with omega-3 rich foods.
While salmon is the most common go-to fish for omega-3 fats, halibut is also loaded with omega-3s, electrolytes, and selenium.
Smooth, silky, and just darn tasty, avocados aren’t just great for your health, they can also help support optimal libido.
11. Brazil Nuts
Studies show that low levels of selenium dramatically impact sperm quality and number in men. The best dietary source of selenium is Brazil nuts. Aim for 2-3 per day to get your daily dose.
5 Worst Foods for Sex
Nothing stops the romance quicker than digestive distress; gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort are all surefire libido killers and should be avoided at all costs.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common offenders.
1. Ice Cream
While some may consider ice cream an aphrodisiac, an overwhelming majority of the population suffers from lactose or casein intolerance, or incomplete digestion, which means the “bad” bacteria in the gut react to the partially-digested proteins and sugars.
This leads to malodorous gas that will definitely leave your libido stuck in neutral.
Beans contain a carbohydrate called raffinose that is poorly broken down by the most people, and the main reason why beans regularly cause gas, bloating, and discomfort.
This can be a problem for vegetarians and vegans who rely on beans and legumes to make up their protein intake. Steer clear of the bean salad on your next date night.
3. Sugary Drinks
Bad bacteria in the gut thrive on simple sugars. While it may seem like a nice way to start your meal with sugary cocktail or rum and coke, sugary drinks are a disaster for anyone with a sensitive stomach.
Not only that, you don’t want to come down from your sugar high in a blood sugar “coma” or worse yet, “hangry” for food when the mood is about to strike.
4. Pasta & Cheese
The combination of gluten and dairy can be a real “gut buster” for a lot of people. While going out for a nice, romantic meal at an Italian restaurant can be fantastic, just make sure your significant other doesn’t suffer from any dairy or gluten issues, otherwise it’s going to be a long ride home.
The hops in beer are classified as a nervine in herbal medical textbooks, which means they help you unwind and relax your nervous system. This can be a great thing if you’re hoping to get lucky.
Unfortunately, the yeasts in beer can feed the bad bacteria in your gut, leading to significant gas and bloating. If you know you react to beer or gluten-containing foods, steer clear when you’re trying to set the right mood.
If you want to create the right mood for romance, don’t forget that the foods you choose will have a big impact on how you think and feel. Your brain is the ultimate arousal organ, so support the right mood and boost your libido by finding the right mix of foods to make up your perfect plate.
(This article originally appeared on PaleoHacks)
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CISSN, CSCS