10 Foods That Increase Libido (and 3 That Kill It)

Is it true that oysters and chocolate are aphrodisiacs? We have the answer.

Fresh figs cut into quarters as an example of a food that increases libido
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If you find you're more eager to sleep than have sex on a regular basis, your sex drive may need a booster shot. Here, 10 foods that increase libido in women — and everyone else, for that matter — plus three to avoid if you want to ~get in the mood~.

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Black Raspberries

black raspberries on the stem as an example of a food that increases libido
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Both the berries and the seeds will transform your mindset when you're trying to get in the mood. "This phytochemical-rich food enhances both libido and sexual endurance," say Anna Maria Gahns-Clement, Ph.D., and Brian Clement, Ph.D., the authors of 7 Keys to Lifelong Sexual Vitality and directors of Hippocrates Wellness in West Palm Beach, Florida. Consume some black raspberries or a tablespoon of seeds a few hours before you plan to get busy.

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Broccoli

Broccoli florets as an example of a food that increases libido
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Raw, sautéed, or cooked, toss some broccoli in with your salad or alongside your steak to increase your libido. "I suggest it here because of the high vitamin C content," says Keri Glassman, R.D., C.D.N., a registered dietitian and founder of Nutritious Life. More to the point that broccoli is one of the best foods that increase libido in women (or anyone): "Vitamin C aids in blood circulation to organs and has also been associated with an improved female libido," she adds.

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Cloves

whole cloves and a spoonful of ground cloves as an example of a food that increases libido
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This sex superfood is versatile when it comes to cooking: It can be brewed in hot apple cider, infused into your favorite dish, or added to a chai tea latte. Just make sure to share it with your partner, too. "In India, cloves have been used to treat male sexual dysfunction for centuries," says Glassman. Research published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine agrees, discovering that clove extracts produced an increase in the sexual activity of normal male rats.

"Cloves are also used to rid bad breath, which can't hurt your kissing skills either," says Glassman. Try tossing in powdered cloves in Mexican food next time, too, she suggests. Add a little cumin and cinnamon and you've got a tasty, multifaceted aphrodisiac.

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Figs

figs as an example of a food that increases libido in women
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Want to be completely irresistible the next time your partner sees you? There's a simple food solution: Figs. "They're considered excellent stimulants of fertility and enhance the secretion of pheromones," say Gahns-Clement and Clement. Feast on the fruit before getting it on and find out for yourself.

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Watermelon

Watermelon slices as an example of a food that increases libido in women
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Chocolate has the reputation of being the aphrodisiac of choice for those with a sweet tooth, but researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada found that this is most likely just a myth. Though ingredients such as phenylethylamine in chocolate may boost serotonin and endorphin levels, there is no link between chocolate and improved sexual performance or arousal. So if you're really looking for a sweet libido-booster, stick to a slice of watermelon.

Although it's 92 percent water, that remaining 8 percent of fruit is jam-packed with vital nutrients for sexual health. Watermelon "has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body's blood vessels and may even increase libido," according to research from the Texas A&M Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center. More specifically, "watermelon contains a phytonutrient called citrulline, which the body converts to arginine, an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide levels in the body, which relax blood vessels in the same way a medicine like Viagra does," say Gahns-Clement and Clement.

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Eggs

hard boiled eggs as an example of a food that increases libido in women
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Poached, scrambled, fried, deviled. No matter how you make them, a couple of eggs will rev you up after a long day so you can go the distance in the dark. "Eggs are high in protein, which is a source of stamina, and they're also low in calories," says Glassman. In addition, they're a good source for the amino acid L-arginine, which has been shown effective in treating types of heart ailments and erectile dysfunction.

07 of 13

Ginseng

Ginseng as an example of a food that increases libido in women
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Ginseng is one of the scientifically proven foods that increase libido in women: Researchers at the University of Hawaii found that women who took a ginseng-rich supplement showed a significant increase in libido in a month, and 68 percent also said their overall sex life improved dramatically.

"Add ginseng into your diet or try one of the many ginseng teas available. Just don't jump at the sight of ginseng, though. Many energy drinks that claim to have ginseng in them also contain chemicals and tons of sugar," advises Glassman.

08 of 13

Lettuce

salad as an example of lettuce as a food that increases libido in women
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A small salad with oil and vinegar as dressing might amp up your sex drive. "Iceberg lettuce contains an opiate that helps to activate sex hormones," say Gahns-Clement and Clement. Nosh on a bowl at dinner and you'll be ready to go by the time you turn in for the night.

09 of 13

Ginger

ginger roots, shredded ginger, and sliced ginger as an example of a food that increases libido in women
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"King Henry VII and the ancient [Asian cultures] were astute when using ginger for medicinal purposes: In the 21st Century, those of us who know about botanical-ceuticals know that ginger helps circulation, temperature adjustment, and mucoid detoxification (mucus-like residue that can coat your GI tract), and is also a libido enhancer," note Gahns-Clement and Clement. Whether raw, in supplement form, or added to your favorite recipe or drink, ginger also lends itself to defense against winter's hard cold and flu season, which is good because trying to get frisky with a runny nose never ends well.

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Saffron

saffron in small bowls spilling over as an example of a food that increases libido in women
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If you want to splurge on your foods that increase libido in women or (anyone else you may share a bed with), look no further. Though on the pricey side, saffron is a treat for your stomach and sex life: Researchers at the University of Guelph have found that saffron can improve sexual performance. To use, soak the threads in hot liquid for 15 minutes then add to any grain such as rice, quinoa, or barley — or use it in a soup or stew, suggests Glassman.

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Libido Killer: Oysters

a plate oysters with lemon wedges as an example of a food that kills libido
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Oysters have been dubbed as the king of libido boosters, but don't buy into all the hype. "Oysters are a well-known source of zinc, which plays a central role in the creation of hormones and clitoris sensitivity, but they are also a toxic food," explain Gahns-Clement and Clement. You read right: toxic. "Oysters and other shellfish can absorb the toxins and parasites in the ocean, which can often outweigh the benefits of zinc," they add. Skip the seafood and chow down on spinach for a better high-zinc option.

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Libido Killer: Processed Baked Goods

a piece of chocolate cake as an example of a processed sweet that kills your libido

Yep, sugary sweets might zap your sex drive (sorry). "Baked goods contain saturated trans fats that wreak havoc on human cells, including the immune system," say Gahns-Clement and Clement. "They surround the cells, coagulating them so that vital food glucose can't be absorbed and remains in the blood, raising blood sugar and lowering libido. The fats also clog ventricles, reducing oxygen to sexual organs, and prevent the spleen from producing enough white blood cells, so eggs and sperm have difficulty multiplying," they continue. Yikes!

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Libido Killer: Dairy

ice cream in a cup overhead shot as an example of a libido-killing food
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Ice cream and cream cheese lovers may want to switch to a lactose-free alternative once in a while. The lactic acid in dairy and oxygen-destroying elements can squash a libido at any level, say Gans-Clement and Clement.

But don't forget dairy's best benefit: Calcium. It's linked to cell and sexual health, and when cells are healthy, they increase sensitivity for better circulation to the genitalia — thus giving you more pleasure. Instead of dairy, stock up on calcium-rich soy milk, leafy greens, sprouted beans, cabbage, broccoli, and wheatgrass juice.

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