To boost the health of one of your favorite body part and ensure it remains at its prime, you must first consider what’s hurting it. From stress to sleep deprivation to alcohol consumption, and even a bad attitude, there are a number of things that harm your sperm, testosterone production, and crush your desire to get busy. However, upping your intake of specific foods can actually have the opposite effect. That's right, you can eat to boost your sex life.
Whether you can’t get a hard on, or just want your sex drive to surge, you can fuel your body (and your penis) with foods that make it run properly. That means eating foods that contain high amounts of omega-3 acids (to improve blood flow to the penis) to ones that have special enyzmes that can boost your libido to others that include powerful pleasure-boosting minerals (like zinc, magnesium, and selenium) to foods rich in the vitamins B, C, D, and E that help control stress and your nerves—all factors that impact penile health. With the help of nutrition expert Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, we rounded up the top foods that fit the bill to get you going.
Chop em’ up or grab em' whole to scarf down on the go. Not only does this powerfood boost muscle strength and size in old age per this study, but they could save your private parts. “Apples contain the flavonoid quercetin that inhibits the secretion of the prostate-specific, androgen-regulated, tumor markers in the prostate cells, decreasing the risk of prostate cancer, “ informs Scritchfield.
This superfood should be worked into your daily diet regardless of its power to promote penile health. Avocados are filled with juicy, omega-3 fatty acids—the good-for-you kind that promote heart health, notes Scritchfield. They’re also rich in vitamin B6 and folic acid, which have the power to boost your energy, too. But better yet, “B6 helps regulate prolactin, a libido enhancer,” she adds.
Start peeling, gentlemen. Bananas contain a special enzyme called bromelain, which specifically "delivers an anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning effect, helping to increase testosterone,” says Scritchfield. They're also notoriously known for their high potassium content, which is crucial for blood circulation and ultimately sexual health.
Slice, dice, and chop up the root veggie or juice it for a tangy beet juice. According to Scritchfield, “Beets are high in nitrates, which are vasodilators, and open up blood vessels and increase blood flow.”
Reach for raspberries when you’re hungry—they contain chemical compounds called phytochemicals which simulates arousal, per Scritchfield.
Brazil nuts are one of, if not, the best source of selenium. “Selenium is imperative for sperm production and mobility,” says Scritchfield, and a handful of these will supply more than the recommended daily dose recommendation. “The testes and seminal ducts hold nearly half of the selenium in a man's body,” she adds, “Men lose selenium in their semen.”
Start steaming fresh broccoli daily to reap these plentiful health benefits: groundbreaking research has shown that compounds found in cruciferous veggies like broccoli can help combat cancer. Meanwhile, its vitamin C content boosts blood circulation and has been linked with an improved libido, per Scritchfield. Plus, it’s an affordable, easy-to-cook side dish loaded with fiber so your stomach will feel fully satisfied, too.
Brussels sprouts are actually pretty delicious if you know how to cook them properly. Plus, you'll want to thank them for spiking your libido level shortly after consuming them. This power veggie is high in indole-3-carbinol: “a compound that reduces estrogen levels, making testosterone more dominate in the body,” says Scritchfield. Try sautéing them for the extra fiery flavor and complement them with these 7 simple non-boring ways to make chicken.
Craving a crunchy snack that isn’t a chip? Grab some baby carrots to ensure optimal sexual performance. “Carrots are packed with vitamin A which helps regulate the synthesis of the sex hormone progesterone, and also stimulates sperm production,” explains Scritchfield. Dip them hummus dip to make it a more filling snack.
These nuts are an excellent source of zinc; a power-nutrient that's a known t-booster in men, specifically because it “blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen,” explains Scritchfield. "The zinc content in the prostate gland and sperm is higher than in any other body tissues,” she adds. What’s more, this dense snack has the lowest fat percentage out of any nut and contains an excellent source of copper.
This calorie-free food holds a strong aroma (thanks to two steroids called androsterone and adrostenol) that, when consumed and released through sweat glands, attracts the opposite sex and can seriously heighten arousal, says Scritchfield. “It has a combination of Vitamin E, magnesium, niacin, potassium, and zinc, which are all required for intercourse,” she adds. Another power ingredient within the stalk of celery is arginine— “an amino acid that expands blood vessels the way Viagra is supposed to,” says Scritchfield.
“Cherries contain anthocyanins, which prevent plaque from building up in the arteries,” says Scritchfield. Since the blood travels through the arteries, this allows for optimal blood flow to all organs in the body, and of course leads to a firmer, fuller erection. Bonus: A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that runners who consumed tart cherry juice for a week straight prior to race day experienced a reduction in muscle pain and a boost in recovery.
A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, found that men who like spicy food tend to have higher-than-average levels of testosterone. Try a spicy food like chili peppers—they contain the chemical capsaicin, which is “the substance that gives them a burning sensation, stimulates nerve endings, and raises the heart rate,” says Scritchfield. It’s also responsible for releasing endorphins and other “feel good” hormones, she notes. (Think: better mood, better sex.)
Yes, you read that correctly. Another way to boost sexual stamina, and of course build layers of muscle, is by consuming more of this top muscle-building food. Chicken contains vitamin B-3 which, according to Scritchfield, “increases blood flow to the skin and mucous membranes, which intensifies an orgasm.”
Chocolate contains a compound called tyramine, which, according to Scritchfield, increases dopamine levels in the brain—aka the “pleasure hormone” which can light a fire in your sex life. Chocolate can be a sexy food to use during foreplay, too—so get creative.
Seafood can be pretty sensational—for your sex life, that is. They’re packed with the vitamin B12, an essential nutrient that boosts sperm count and “fast swimmers,” per Scritchfield.
Cranberries are another fruit filled with essential vitamins, especially Vitamin C, “which helps in the synthesis of sex hormones,” Scritchfield explains. They’re also high in vitamin B which helps reduces stress levels and enhances libido. Add them to a nut mix, keep them as a desk-side snack, or pour them into your oatmeal to make it super satisfying.
Eggs may not be the most sensual food, but consider trying these 4 delicious recipes to work them into your diet. This superfood is rich in the mega vitamin B6, which drives up testosterone and sex drive in men, and is high in protein which helps stamina and performance, according to Scritchfield.
For those who have a sweet tooth, feel free to indulge in figs. They’re high in iron, fiber, potassium, and magnesium, all of which promote great sexual health. Plus, they'll increase arousal in the bedroom too since "they enhance the secretion of pheromones,” says Scritchfield. “They're also considered excellent stimulants of fertility,” she adds.
Garlic & Onion
Top off your fresh veggies, or even delicious pizza recipes, with these healthy additives. Garlic and onion contain a powerful compound called allicin, which helps thin the blood, relax the arteries, and in turn, improve the circulation necessary for an erection, per Scritchfield. Better circulation, means a firmer erection, and leads to greater physical endurance in the bedroom.
There’s more to ginger than leaving it on your plate after you finish sushi. This moderately spicy food contributes to healthy blood flow, and “temperature regulation, by creating a warming effect” says Scritchfield. Plus, a study done at Georgia College and State University in 2010, discovered consuming two grams of ginger over an 11-day period can reduce muscle pain and soreness. Add it to tea or consider a ginger supplement in capsule form.
Goji berries are actually relatively high in protein for a fruit its size and have an adequate amount of fiber. But that’s not all: this miniature food is an excellent source of antioxidants and is high in vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, zinc, and selenium, to name a few, which are key to maintaining healthy organs and revving up sex drive, according to Scritchfield. If you’ve never tried them, they’re slightly sweet and have the same texture as raisins.
Grass Fed Beef
If you’re going for beef, consider the grass-fed kind and remember to consume red meat in moderation. Grass-fed beef is known to be leaner than regular beef and contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial to healthy blood flow throughout the body including your nether regions, per Scritchfield.
Go with Greek yogurt for a mid-day pick-me-up—a serving is just over 100 calories and is loaded with protein. Here’s where it helps out your manhood: this dairy staple is high in potassium, which improves circulation, but will also help regulate sodium in the body—fixing any fluid imbalance—and will prevent you from bloating, per Scritchfield. This will ultimately help you hold an erection and raise sexual stamina during intercourse, she explains.
Pour this prebiotic food—along with 13 others which you should be eating—over some fruit or into your coffee for a sweetened bite. Honey contains a mineral called boron, which helps “regulate testosterone, improve libido, and increase sexual stamina,” says Scritchfield.
Liver is one of those healthy foods we love to hate, but consider dunking it in some barbeque sauce to sweeten it up so you can reap its surplus of health benefits. This main dish is high in protein, iron, vitamin A, and B vitamins. But more importantly (in this case), it’s high in zinc—a testosterone-boosting food that works by “blocking the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen,” says Scritchfield.
This breakfast staple is one of the best sources of carbs any man can stomach for his diet. Oats, the old-fashioned, plain kind that is, are loaded with soluble fiber and complex carbs, which help slow the digestion of food, and will keep you full while providing you with seemingly everlasting fuel. It’s also packed with testosterone-boosting zinc, but the real kicker here is its ingredient folate, which according to Scritchfield, “helps reduce abnormal sperm production.”
Quit coating your salad with these fat-producing condiments, and start stocking up on olive oil. This omega-3, fatty-acid-filled oil helps promote the production of sex hormones, per Scritchfield. Plus, it’s these monounsaturated fats that allow the body to store vitamins—vitamins that “keep us sexually active and full of desire,” she adds.
The peanuts bought by the shell are one of the most nutrient-dense, affordable snacks that can probably be purchased anywhere, so remember this next time you’re at a convenience store: it contains ample amounts of protein, fiber, and healthy monounsaturated fats to satisfy your hunger and fuel your body—plus, they’re completely cholesterol-free. But what you may not know, is that peanuts contain the amino acid I-arginine, which, according to Scritchfield, helps relax and widen blood vessels, thus increasing blood flow throughout the body—and once arginine is consumed, the body converts it into nitric oxide—which is a compound found in Viagra.
If you’re not fond of cracking the shell, smear it in the form of butter to get in an adequate dose. The essential ingredient, in this case, l-arginine, are still carried over to the spread during the manufacturing process, so this too will improve blood circulation and provide a stronger erection.
Each variety of nut has its own array of benefits, so here’s another reason to stomach them regularly—specifically the pine nut. This crunchy snack packs high amounts of zinc, which men need ample amounts of since, as we've mentioned, it helps increase testosterone, and has been deemed essential for libido. They’re also filled with arginine; so a handful of these is a surefire way to improve blood flow, which is necessary for a strong erection.
Pomegranate juice (or the pomegranate itself) packs a ton of fiber, which ensures satiety, and is high in potassium, which helps regulate healthy blood pressure, per Scritchfield. But it also has the power to increase genital sensitivity, thanks to its ingredient called oestrogen, she adds. Even eight ounces of the juice can work wonders—according to research published in the International Journal of Impotence, men who gulped this amount for two weeks noticed an improvement in erectile dysfunction.
A piece of pork—3 ounces to be exact—holds a hefty 13g of protein, making this an essential cut of meat to increase muscle mass. The tenderloin should also be worked into your diet plan as it’s an excellent source of vitamin B12, “which is essential to the synthesis of testosterone,” explains Scritchfield.
If you think white starchy carbs will wreak havoc on your diet, think again. White and sweet potatoes are high in potassium—“a key mineral that plays into maintaining healthy blood pressure,” says Scritchfield. They’re also a good source of fiber and are considered a complex carb, meaning it takes the body longer to digest and will satisfy your hunger.
Here's how you experience heightened pleasure with pumpkin seeds: they contain high levels of selenium and zinc that, when consumed, block the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen, driving t-levels through the roof. Scritchfield says, “a quarter-cup serving of pumpkin seeds may do the trick.”
Pirocrocin, a chemical found in the spice, saffron, makes the body more sensitive to the touch—especially the organs, explains Scritchfield. And good news for those looking to alleviate aching before, after, or during a workout. A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine discovered saffron supplements (taken in the form of a capsule) could help prevent muscle pain and increase muscle strength in men.
This super seafood is jam-packed with the heart healthy, omega-3 fatty acids your body needs to boost blood circulation. Salmon is also high in vitamin D which, when depleted from the average man’s diet, can put him at higher risk for erectile dysfunction “due to the onset of arterial calcification preventing adequate blood flow to the penile blood vessels,” says Scrtichfield. Here’s 6 ways to make the fish taste delicious.
Shitake mushrooms are another food high in the testosterone-boosting ingredient zinc, and are a great source of vitamin D. Failure to meet your vitamin D needs can plummet your libido and mess with your mood, according to Scritchfield. Choline, another ingredient found in shitake mushrooms, “help activate and enhance the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine (ACH), that triggers the sexual message, in both men and women,” she adds.
Yes, there’s more to spinach (even weird facts about it) than its infamous muscle-building ingredient, iron. Research in Cell Metabolism, showed that this green leafy vegetable can make your muscles more efficient during a workout, and Scritchfield noted that out of most plant-based foods, spinach has more power to “increase circulation given its high concentration of nitrates.”
The most natural way to consume your sweets, and increase your sperm count, is by picking up some strawberries, per Scritchfield. You can thank the red berry's vitamin C content for that.
Teff is one of our top meat-free foods for building muscles. It holds a good amount of manganese, which helps amp production of sperm and testosterone, revs up sex drive, and helps to intensify penile stimulation, according to Scritchfield. Teff also contains iron, which “helps prevent fatigue and promote stamina.”
Tomatoes are bursting with beneficial components like potassium, vitamin C, and most importantly, lycopene, which is key to increasing blood flow. Why’s it important? “Proper blood flow allows the tissues to become engorged, aroused, and lubricated,” says Scritchfield. There’s even higher levels of lycopene in the canned, cooked, or tomato paste versions.
Turns out turkey does more than just put you to sleep. According to Scritchfield, “turkey is one of the richest sources of arginine, which helps increase blood flow by dilating blood vessels.” It’s also loaded with essential nutrients like potassium, iron, zinc, and B vitamins, all of which help performance in between the sheets. Then on top of that, it’s comprised of omega-3s, “which helps combat inflammation of the blood vessels, allowing improved blood flow to the genitals,” adds Scritchfield.
This convenient grab-and-go snack is key to penile health. Not only does its omega-3 fatty acid content boost sperm size, shape, and swimming ability, as per this study published in the Biology of Reproduction, but, Scritchfield adds, it’s what keeps “artery walls free of plaque, allowing adequate blood flow during time of erection and ability to maintain erection until orgasm.”
Some of the foods covered in red have something in common: it’s their lycopene content. Lycopene is crucial for your penis as it helps relax blood vessels and increase blood transmission to all organs for a strong, fully aroused erection. What’s more, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that drinking 500ml (just over two cups) of watermelon juice an hour before your workout helps reduce your recovery heart rate and the level of muscle soreness.
Now that we know how important a healthy blood flow is to the male system, especially the penis, here’s another food option to consider. Wheat germ contains vitamin E, “the antioxidant that helps strengthen your immune system, and keep your blood from clotting,” says Scritchfield.
Cod, tilapia, and the like are an essential lean source of protein packing about 22g per filet with minimal fat. But it helps with your sex drive, too. It’s high in magnesium, which, according to Scritchfield, “helps with testosterone production by making it more difficult for testosterone to latch onto proteins in the body.”
If you want to learn how to eat like a viking—and live as long as them too—introduce herring to your diet. Even a small portion of this fish will help the body function properly and bolster testosterone production, thanks to the essential ingredients that fill it: omega-3, protein, vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc.
You’ve heard it’s good for your cholesterol, but do you know the other benefits it has on your body? The red stuff contains both nitric oxide, which helps relax the arteries and increase blood flow to the genitals, and the compound quercetin, which helps block the enzyme that triggers your body to push out testosterone, thus allowing you to hold high levels of testosterone and a strong erection well past foreplay.
Keep coffee in your morning routine for the long haul. Research shows it can help you live longer, burn off fat—and helps your sexual health, by “acting as a stimulant in the body and helping increase circulation—including blood flow to the penis,” says Scritchfield. Here are 6 other surprising ways coffee benefits your body.
If it seems like nearly every green-colored food is healthy for you, then well, it’s probably because it is. Don’t worry we have the best ways to cook greens here. But the if-it's-green-it's-probably-healthy idea carries over to liquids, too. “Green tea contains catechins, which kill off free radicals that damage blood vessels,” says Scritchfield. “Catechins also cause blood vessel cells to release nitric oxide, which increases the size of the blood vessels and improves blood flow, making the genitals more sensitive to arousal,” she adds.