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Yes you can eat your way to better sex

Naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist practicing in Hawaii since 1993, Dr. Laurie Steelsmith is author of Great Sex, Naturally and Natural Choices for Women's Health.

Sweet potatoes can actually give you a better sex life

Whether you currently feel the need to revitalize your sexual energy or you already have a strong drive and would like to further enhance it, you can powerfully transform your sex life with a little nutritional know-how. The key? Understanding the relationship between nutrients, minerals and sexual organ function.

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Aphrodisiacs are a real thing, many with storied, cultural histories, but we don't often talk about the nutritional science behind them. I tell my patients that overall health is itself a potent natural aphrodisiac, so keep in mind that the effects of many edible aphrodisiacs depend on your overall well-being. Fortunately, these foods, as well as herbs and supplements, are the kind that boost your wellness, so you can't go wrong no matter where you are in your sexual health journey.

Here are the top five aphrodisiacs I recommend to my patients looking to boost their sex drive.

1. Cordyceps

In traditional Chinese medicine, cordyceps is considered a potent sexual tonic. It has a unique ability to build your sexual energy over time by enhancing both your yin and yang energies, making it an ideal aphrodisiac for women. Modern research confirms that cordyceps has antioxidant properties, can improve your immunity and — for our purposes — increases blood flow to your organs.

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2. Chili peppers

Your mouth feels like it’s aflame when you eat chili peppers because they contain capsaicin, a chemical that accelerates your metabolism, increases your heart rate and energizes you. Keep in mind, though, that the affect of the chemical varies widely form one person to the next, so chili peppers' aphrodisiac potential could be a matter of individual reaction.

3. L-Arginine

An amino acid that's essential for your body to function optimally, L-Arginine can also be an effective, natural sex-enhancer for both women and men. It works by increasing nitric oxide and promoting blood flow to your sexual organs. A study at the University of Hawaii, reported in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, showed that over 70 percent of women who took the product ArginMax For Women — which contains L-Arginine, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, damiana, vitamins and minerals — experienced increased sexual desire, higher frequency of sex and orgasm, enhanced clitoral sensation, decreased vaginal dryness and improved overall sexual satisfaction — with no significant side effects.

4. Chocolate

The flagship food aphrodisiac, chocolate is chock-full of love-conducive, pro-pleasure ingredients. No wonder so many people choose chocolate for Valentine's Day! It's another excellent source of L-Arginine.

5. Sweet potatoes

Including sweet potatoes in your diet can support your sexuality. They're especially high in vitamin B5, because it's important for your adrenal gland health, which promotes production of your sex hormones. Sweet potatoes are a perfect complement to meals, and they also make great snacks for great sex.

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