Health & Fitness

5 Best Foods That Help Boost Libido

stimulate for men

Libido is a common term used to describe your sex drive or sexual appetite – ultimately how much or how little sex you desire. These levels are influenced by a whole range of factors including hormones, physical health, mental health, and even sexual orientation. Someone with a high libido tends to have overall better health including less stress, healthier relationships, better sleep, and more satisfying sex life (1). However, an overly high libido may be a warning sign of other conditions and is worth talking to a doctor about if you are concerned. 

Having a low libido is much more common and symptoms include a loss of desire to have sex and no sexual interest. It can be caused by a range of things such as a decrease in sex hormones, increased stress levels, medication, smoking, pregnancy, and body image issues. As with an overly high libido, if you are concerned by your lack of sex drive then it is recommended to speak to your GP about it.  

Like many things when it comes to the body, what you eat can play an important role in your sex life, especially vitamins and minerals. Improving your physical and mental health can go a long way to improving your libido – the better you feel, the more likely you are to want to have sex. With so many vitamins and minerals linked to sexual health, what you eat has never been more important. A healthy, balanced diet can go a long way in improving your sex drive and in this article, we will look at 5 foods that boost your libido. 

The 5 foods that may help boost your libido include:

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Maca

Maca is a cruciferous vegetable that is related to broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale and is native to the Peruvian Andes mountains. It has been traditionally used as a food, fermented beverage, and porridge for over 2000 years. The root of the plant is a good source of carbohydrates, bio-available plant protein, fibre, essential amino acids, and fatty acids. In addition, it provides a variety of vitamins and minerals, including, B1, B2, C, niacin, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and selenium. 

Due to its rich supply of minerals such as selenium, magnesium, zinc, and iron, it is possible that maca root may help boost your libido – seen as these minerals are heavily linked with sexual health. One study (2) looking at 131 participants found that those taking maca for 6 weeks had seen an improvement in sexual desire while another found that there was significant improvement after 12 weeks compared to a placebo (3). Studies have also shown that maca may help with depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, and lowering blood pressure and glucose levels (4). The vitamins and minerals present in maca are beneficial to both men and women making it one of the ideal foods for sexual health. However, more evidence is needed on its potential health benefits to confirm these results. 

Ginseng

Ginseng is an antioxidant-rich herb that has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. There are several varieties of ginseng with American and Asian being the most well-known. It contains two main compounds, ginsenosides and gintonin, which are active ingredients that provide health benefits (5). It also contains small amounts of iron and vitamin C, and trace amounts of calcium but not enough for those to be the contributing factors to increasing libido. 

It is thought that ginseng may help with erectile dysfunction with several studies finding some benefit to men taking it; however, more research is needed with one piece of research finding no effect when compared to a placebo. Where ginseng could be a food that boosts libido as it is the other health benefit that could be helping. It is an antioxidant meaning that it has anti-inflammatory properties which improve physical health. It may benefit brain function and mood, including easing stress and depression. It has been shown to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue with studies showing significant improvement in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (6). All these benefits may result in you more likely being in the mood for sex. 

Oysters

Molluscs that live in marine areas such as bays and oceans, oysters are an important part of the ecosystem as they filter the water, remove pollutants, and provide habitats for other creatures.  They are eaten around the world where they are seen as a delicacy, and highly nutritious. Oysters are a complete protein source, meaning they contain all nine amino acids that the body needs. They provide around five times the recommended daily allowance of zinc, B12 and copper, as well as selenium, iron, and manganese.  

Oysters are often cited as an aphrodisiac, which stimulates sexual desire. However, more research is needed to determine whether they boost your sex drive. Instead, their abundance of sex-healthy minerals such as zinc, selenium, and manganese, could play a pivotal role in improving your libido. There has been some research to suggest that dopamine increases sexual arousal (7), and zinc is necessary for maintaining dopamine levels which oysters have plenty of. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which again can help with overall physical health resulting in an increased desire to have sex. Their low-calorie, complete protein and libido-promoting micronutrients make oysters a great addition to your diet, but if you don’t like oysters you can also consider lobster or crab for similar nutrition. 

Fatty fish

We have all been told how important fish, especially oily fish, is for our brain and heart health, but it may also be a food that boosts libido. Fatty or oily fish includes: 

  • Salmon 
  • Mackerel 
  • Herring 
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Kippers
  • Pilchards 

These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that our body needs for energy, hormone production and healthy brain function. They are a great source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins. They also contain selenium, which is a mineral positively linked with sexual health, specifically male hormone production. 

Fatty fish are sources of unsaturated fats which are linked to better heart health as they do not increase the risk of cardiovascular issues such as atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks. They may also help reduce body mass and increase satiety, which leads to better weight loss and management (8). Omega 3 can also improve blood flow to the sexual organs. One study found that couples who consumed the highest amount of seafood had an increased frequency of sexual intercourse, up to 20% more frequently (9). With 90% of those couples managing to fall pregnant within 12 months. There have also been links made to the benefits of omega 3 on overall sexual health, as well as early embryo development. Getting two portions of fish into your diet is what is currently recommended as part of a healthy diet, with only one portion needing to be oily. With all their other health benefits, boosting your libido has never been easier. 

Nuts and Seeds

 Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, with most types having very similar macronutrient profiles. However, their micronutrient profiles (vitamins and minerals) can vary based on their variety. Both nuts and seeds are great sources of zinc, iron, and magnesium, with seeds, also being rich in selenium and fibre, as well as having antioxidant properties.  

Being rich sources of nutrients that are linked to improving sexual health makes them great additions to a balanced diet. The fats, vitamins and minerals found in nuts and seeds are important to the production of sex hormones, as well as helping with blood flow to the sexual organs – especially vitamin E. Brazil nuts are rich in the mineral selenium which may help protect the health of sperm, and a deficiency in it can lead to male infertility as well as fatigue, muscle weakness, and a weakened immunity (10). All factors could contribute to a decrease in sexual desire. Nuts and seeds also come with a whole host of other health benefits including helping with weight maintenance and loss, reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and being an easy source of dietary fibre to keep you regular. Next time you’re looking for a snack, reach for those nuts. 

Take Home Message 

While there is still plenty of research still to be done on the effects of certain foods on libido, the key message here is to ensure you are eating a well-balanced diet. Many of these libido-boosting foods share the same nutritional components such as zinc and omega 3, which makes them perfect additions to your meal plans.  The benefits of these foods go beyond sexual health and are vital to maintaining the long-term health and well-being in general. Trying to include any of these foods into your current diet will go a long way to making you a healthier, happier, and sexier person. 

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Talk To Your Doctor 

Before making any changes to your diet, you should speak to your doctor, nutritionist, or dietician. If you are concerned with any aspect of your sexual health, then you need to speak to your GP. Myvitamins do not make any medical or health-related claims that should be followed above the advice of a medical professional.  

If you have any concerns, seek medical attention. 



Chermaine Samphire

Chermaine Samphire

Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr)

Chermaine is a registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) who holds a BSc in Nutrition and Public Health, a PgCert in Public Health and is studying towards her PGCE in Food Technology. Chermaine has been working as a freelance writer for the last seven years, covering a variety of subjects with nutrition being her passion. Her main areas of interest are improving health through small lifestyle changes and childhood nutrition, especially school meals.