Did you know that certain nutrients in foods can help improve sexual performance? And it's not just champagne and oysters, although they definitely work!
According to dietitian Robbie Clark – co-founder of thehealthclinic.com.au – testosterone boosts sexual desire in both genders.
While you don't get the hormone straight from food, some items contain micronutrients that affect testosterone production. Add these items to your shopping trolley now!
Lamb and grass-fed beef (as well as eggs, dairy, nuts and beans) are protein-rich foods containing arginine, an amino acid that serves as a building block of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide helps arteries and blood vessels relax, improving blood circulation, which means optimal testosterone transport as well as sexual performance. Think of it as nature's Viagra!
Kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain nitrogen, another important source of nitric oxide, which can assist blood flow.
Speaking of green vegetables, spinach is rich in magnesium, which helps to decrease inflammation in blood vessels and improves blood flow.
Increased flow drives the blood to the extremities which, like Viagra, can increase arousal and make sex more pleasurable. Magnesium is also important for the production of sex hormones, such as oestrogen and testosterone.
This shellfish is a rich source of zinc, which plays an important role in regulating testosterone levels. Low zinc levels have been associated with low male sex hormones, decreased testicular function, and low physical performance and exercise capacity.
Not a fan of oysters? It's OK – other shellfish, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds and peanuts are also high in zinc.
Not only are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, swordfish and sardines high in the amino acid that serves as a precursor of nitric acid and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but they also boost dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is one of the chemicals that help transmit signals in between the nerve cells of the brain.
It assists with controlling the brain's reward and pleasure centres, which in turn affects mood and libido.
This fruit contains the amino acid citrulline and when consumed, it gets converted into arginine, which boosts nitric oxide – the agent responsible for relaxing blood vessels. This effect increases blood flow to the genitals, allowing women to experience better orgasms and men maintain stronger erections.
The treat is rich in cocoa flavanols, which have antioxidant properties and support healthy blood flow. Dark chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, the same compound that releases the mood-altering endorphins through our bodies during sex. This compound stimulates romantic emotions in the brain and you may get aphrodisiac effects as a result.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are all high in vitamin C. Antioxidants protect the body from harmful free radicals and keep your arteries clean, allowing blood to flow freely to organs. Vitamin C has also been linked to improved female libido.
Rich in antioxidant compounds, green tea can boost metabolism, as well as promote blood flow around the body. The flavonoids in green tea are thought to be responsible for helping to keep the heart and the blood vessels healthy. They also allow blood vessels to release nitric oxide, which further improves blood flow to the extremities.
Avocados are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, which are known to raise testosterone levels, potassium, libido-boosting vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin E, which increases oxygen and blood flow to your sex organs.
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