Humans have looked for ways to improve their sexual experience for thousands of years, including trying to discover the best foods for sex.

Scientists have linked a variety of foods with better sex. In this article, learn about which foods to eat to boost libido, improve stamina, and enhance your sex life.

Man and woman in a kitchen wondering what are the best foods for sexShare on Pinterest
Following a heart-healthy diet may improve sexual health.

Keeping the circulatory system in good working order is essential for sexual health. Better circulation can lead to an improved sexual response in men and women. This is especially true for the erectile response. Cardiac health is also vital for stamina.

In other words, if it is good for the heart, it is good for a person's sex life.

The American Heart Association recommend a diet that includes:

  • a wide range of fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains and plenty of fiber
  • healthful oils, such as olive oil and sunflower oil
  • seafood, nuts, and legumes

Research suggests that following this heart-healthy diet can improve certain aspects of sexual health.

Researchers studying the Mediterranean Diet, which follows similar lines to the American Heart Association's, found that people with metabolic syndrome who followed the diet had fewer problems with erectile dysfunction, otherwise known as ED.

Also, many of the foods featured in a heart-healthy diet, such as avocados, asparagus, nuts, seafood, and fruit, have associations with better sex in both traditional medicine and scientific research.

For example, in Nahuatl — the language once used by the Aztecs — the term for avocados was the same as the term for testicles.

Also, researchers found that people who ate avocados had a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a risk factor for ED.

Men with metabolic syndrome are almost twice as likely as men without it to experience ED, so adding healthful fats, such as those in avocados, to a varied diet may help.

Foods that can help people improve their libido are commonly called aphrodisiacs, after Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love.

Oysters are among the most famous aphrodisiacs in history. Their effects may be due to their zinc content.

Zinc is a mineral the body needs every day for many vital functions, such as cell metabolism, stamina, and regulating levels of testosterone. Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone.

One older study found that zinc might be helpful for treating ED in people with chronic kidney disease.

Oysters have more zinc than any other food per serving. Some examples of other foods that are high in zinc are:

  • crab
  • lobster
  • red meat
  • fortified breakfast cereal
  • pine nuts

However, sexual desire is complex and has to do with many more factors than just nutrition, including an individual's relationships, stress levels, and personal preference.

It is natural for people to experience ups and downs in their interest in sex. Many alternative healthcare practitioners claim diet can help.

While more scientific research is needed, the following foods are possible libido-boosters:

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Citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids.

When a person has difficulty getting and maintaining an erection, doctors refer to it as ED. According to the Urology Care Foundation, ED affects up to 30 million men in the United States.

Understanding the physical, mental, and emotional factors that contribute to ED can help people choose a diet that promotes better sex.

Factors that contribute to ED include:

  • problems with blood flowing into and staying in the penis
  • damage to nerve centers in the penis
  • side effects of medication, radiation, and other medical treatments
  • depression, anxiety, and stress

Tackling the underlying cause is the best way to treat ED. But another thing people can do is eat more fruit.

In one study, researchers linked a higher fruit intake to a 14 percent reduction in the risk of ED. The flavonoid content of many fruits may be responsible for this improvement.

Foods rich in flavonoids include:

  • berries
  • citrus fruits
  • grapes
  • apples
  • hot peppers
  • cocoa products
  • red wine
  • tea (green, white, and black)

Research in an animal model has also shown that watermelon may be effective against ED. The melon's content of the amino acid l-citrulline may explain this positive action.

Also, nitric oxide may be beneficial to prevent ED by increasing blood flow and vasodilation.

Beets also contain nitrates, which convert to nitric oxide and may be beneficial for blood flow.

Many people look to their diet to increase their sexual desire, improve their ability to have sex, and increase the pleasure they get from sex.

While research indicates possible links between particular foods and better sex, those seeking the best food for sex should ensure they are eating a balanced, heart-healthy diet.