Most people know oysters and steak to be libido "boosters" but for some of the best options, look no further than the produce aisle of your grocery store.
A top pick: strawberries. Luscious and packed with antioxidants, strawberries are a crowd favorite, especially with a little whipped cream or chocolate drizzle. And while the science isn't behind them yet, clinical sexologist Dr. Dae Sheridan says it's often the intention or how we perceive the food that can elicit a kind of placebo effect.
Another fruit to make the list: bananas. "I think it's the overall shape and the mythology that goes along with the bananas," explains Dr. Sheridan. "Also high in potassium, great for your heart and also helps to elicit dopamine, which helps you feel excited and happy."
We went shopping with Sheridan at Sanwa Farmer's Market in Tampa to search for "sex-boosters" -- including hot peppers.
"Hot foods, chili peppers, what creates the heat is a component called Capsaicin. Chili peppers increase endorphins, they create that heat flush, raise your body temperature as well as increase your heart rate. You're feeling sweaty, you're feeling energized, and it's very similar to when you're feeling that way during sexual arousal," she said.
Dr. Sheridan says the crunchy texture of carrots, celery and asparagus are supposed to make you feel more virile.
"It looks virile," she explains. "Aside from asparagus's shape and texture, it increases your histamine level and may help people achieve orgasm quicker. Celery increases androsterone, known to attract others to you...celery, draws others to you and serves as a pheromone."
Some fruits and vegetables increase blood flow by causing blood vessels to dilate, like watermelon.
"This fruit is known to increase your levels of nitric oxide and help improve your blood flow," Sheridan said.
According to work done by a researcher at Texas A&M University, citrullene, an amino acid found in watermelon, may help relax blood vessels, similar to the way the popular erectile dysfunction drug Viagra works.
Avocados have been dubbed an aphrodisiac since the time of the Aztecs. Many believe it's due to its shape, resembling an ovary. But Sheridan says, "Avocado has healthy fats, good for heart and blood flow. We want lots of blood flow for great sex."
Pomegranates also earn a place on the list. Known to be heart healthy, this super star fruit may also increase testosterone.
"One study focusing on the fruits effect on males reported up to 30 percent increases in testosterone levels," Sheridan said.
For more information:
Dr. Dae Sheridan
Texas A & M / watermelon link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630165707.htm
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