Want the best sex of your life? Of course you do. If you really want major success in the bedroom, you should head to your kitchen first. No, we don’t mean a romp on the kitchen counter (although that’s totally cool too). We’re talking about what’s in your fridge and pantry.
It turns out there are a number of foods that can boost your sexual health, from fighting UTIs to keeping blood flowing to keeping your stamina up. See if any these seven foods recommended by medical professionals make you feel stronger and sexier than ever before.
Feeling lusty but still lagging? Snack on some pumpkin seeds.
“Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, vitamins [and] minerals, and they contain tryptophan which can promote serotonin production to ward off depression and boost mood,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly, sexologist and host of the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast, tells SheKnows. “Since mood is a key predictor of libido, what you eat can affect how you feel about sex.”
Beetroot & leafy greens
Blood flow is essential for sexual stimulation for both men and women. “For increased blood flow, you want to up your beetroot and green leafy veggies intake so as to increase the production of nitric oxide,” Dr. Felice Gersh, OB-GYN and the founder/director of the Integrative Medical Practice of Irvine, California, tells SheKnows. “Nitric oxide helps dilate arteries and keep the blood flowing freely and well.”
Diet is important in treating those pesky urinary tract infections according to Amy Helms, a registered dietitian.
“Cranberry juice is one natural remedy that works by flushing out your system,” Helms tells SheKnows. It is important to buy cranberry juice that is unsweetened and not from concentrate. Pure cranberry juice is high in a phytochemical known to reduce the ability of bacteria to adhere to the urinary tract. This enables you to pee out the bacteria.”
While it might seem counterintuitive to want a good night’s sleep when it comes to a hot sex session, O’Reilly says some solid z’s are actually imperative for it, which is why she suggests eating cherries.
“Cherries are a source melatonin, the hormone that helps to regulate the circadian rhythm and promote a good night’s sleep,” she explains. “Sleep improves your sex life by regenerating cells, beautifying your skin and reducing anxiety — all of these elements set the scene for hotter sex.”
For an extra dose of stamina, try eating a handful of nuts. “Eating some walnuts, pistachios or almonds [is] a great post-workout boost,” says Gersh. “The combo of healthy fats and protein will do great things for energy, and your cardiovascular system will smile too.”
Helms recommends a healthy serving of foods rich in quercetin, which is found in apples. “This antioxidant, a type of flavonoid, may offer a number of health benefits, including playing a role in controlling symptoms of prostatitis and interstitial cystitis [a chronic bladder health issue], and it promotes circulation.” Quercetin is also found in berries, cherries, onions and dark-colored grapes.
More: Why the Brain Is Our Most Important Sex Organ
“Oysters have long been considered aphrodisiacs for their resemblance to the vulva and the sensuality with which they’re consumed,” says O’Reilly. “But their nutrients also have the potential to enhance sexual performance, as they’re high in both zinc and amino acids, which are associated with the production of testosterone and other sex hormones.”
Before you head to your kitchen to help out your sex life, it’s important to remember that there’s no single secret food or ingredient that will enhance your sex life. Gersh says that when people ask her for a surefire way to improve sexual performance, increase libido, reduce UTIs or improve blood flow, she tells them it doesn’t quite work that way.
“We are a united whole, and our bodies don’t have too many unique needs for specific foods for one organ vs. another,” she explains. “We all need loads of vitamins, minerals, magic polyphenols from fruits and vegetables and basic nutrition, such as high-quality protein and fats.”
So there you have it: Yet another reason to eat a healthy, balanced diet.