Delicious healthy foods that boost your libido

Feeling less in the mood lately? Try these natural aphrodisiacs to help reinvigorate your sex drive.

Babicka Sarka | Stock Food

No matter what stage of life you’re in, the female libido can be a mysterious thing. Sometimes it feels fully charged, while other times, it feels like we’ve lost it entirely—with no seeming reason for the change. The source of these fluctuations can be any number of physical and emotional reasons: hormone decline, job stress, deeper relationship issues, or more. But libido is an important part of our personal well-being and the well-being of our marriages that shouldn’t be ignored.

It’s no secret that diet can play a helpful role in regulating sexual feelings. (And, as anyone who has ever binged on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a particularly bad breakup knows, sometimes our sexual feelings influence our food choices as well.) In other words, our sexual appetites and our regular appetites can influence one another in strong ways, but some aphrodisiacs, of course, work better—and are better for you—than others. So if you’re feeling like your libido is MIA lately, take these healthy, tasty foods for a test drive.

Dark chocolate

Of course, chocolate is always the first known aphrodisiac that springs to mind, but wolfing down a king-size pack of M&Ms isn’t going to do the trick—it’s specifically dark chocolate that has the power to help you out in the bedroom. Cocoa contains phenylethylamine, or PEA, which releases dopamine in the brain’s pleasure centers. This release is the same that peaks during our sexual “peaks.” Thus, when you break off a piece of chocolate and eat it, it creates those same feelings of euphoria, excitement, and contentment. Plus, according to doctors, dark chocolate increases blood flow to your relevant organs. (Yes, you know what we mean.)

In fact, the effects of dark chocolate have been well-documented for thousands of years: the ancient Mayans and Aztecs considered cocoa “food of the gods.” They famously whipped it into a hot chocolate-type drink so expensive and precious that it was for noble- and celebratory-use only. Ready to give it a try yourself? Pick up a brand like SweetRiot, which is not only made with all-natural cacao, but is ethically sourced, and supports women.

Avocados

We know that avocados are good for lowering heart disease risks, controlling blood sugar levels, and providing us with potassium, vitamin K, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, and monounsaturated fat. They enrich sandwiches and cool down our favorite Mexican dishes. But here’s what you didn’t know: the word avocado comes from āhuacatl, a Nahuatl word that literally translates as “testicle.” A Guyanese legend says the first “testicle tree” (as the Aztecs called it) sprung from the seeds of a man’s faithless wife. Yikes. Thankfully, the avocados reputation was redeemed, and today avocados bring all sorts of goodness to the faithful, too. The thought is that the avocado’s heart-healthy fats boost circulation and the folic acid boosts our protein, giving us blood in the “right places” and lots of energy.

Dates

Aside from the fiber and iron, digestive and “brain” health they offer, dates are considered aphrodisiacs, especially throughout northern Africa. And they earned this reputation for more than just their romantic themed name. Dates are full of amino acids, which “increase sexual stamina.” But they’re also considered a sexy food because of the sensual way the tiny, melt-in-your-mouth fruit is eaten—or fed to a beloved. In other words, dates are handy and healthy (if sticky), bed-side snacks.

Artichokes

Maybe it’s because artichokes have hearts. Or maybe it’s because according to Greek mythology, Zeus turned his beloved into an artichoke after being snubbed. Or maybe it’s simply that artichokes are packed with antioxidants, folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. Whatever the reason, the aphrodisiac powers of artichoke are mythic. And not too long ago (well, in the 16th century, so pretty long ago, actually), women were forbidden from eating artichokes—lest they be led astray into temptation by the feeling the produce conjured.

If you’re thinking of adding it to your dinner menu tonight, one of the best ways to eat this leafy wonder is also the simplest. Our editors recommend going to ‘From Away,’ the comfort food cooking site, for an amazing Italian stuffed artichoke recipe from Jillian Bedel (passed down to her by her grandmother Josephine) that boils and breads them.

Caryn Rivadeneira
Caryn Rivadeneira

Caryn Rivadeneira is the author of five books and is a columnist for Her.meneutics and ThinkChristian. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, three kids, and one red-nose pit bull. Visit her at carynrivadeneira.com.