Dr Yesheen Singh, a medical doctor with a passion for plant-based medicine and nutrition, tells us what the 12 best foods and herbs are to have in your kitchen, to sharpen up your sex life.
The foods or herbs to stock up on and use regularly include:
1 Walnuts – contain omega 3 fatty acids that ultimately increase levels of nitric oxide in the body. This leads to greater blood flow to the sex organs and enhanced sensitivity. Omega 3s also support neurochemicals that increase feelings of positivity and relaxation.
2 Beetroot – rich in nitrates, this superfood is a great way to improve blood flow to the body in general and to the genitals when needed.
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3 Pumpkin seeds – a great source of zinc, known to boost testosterone production, which leads to a greater sex drive in women and men equally and works on the hormonal and emotional elements concurrently. They also contain l-arginine, an amino acid known to improve blood flow to the genital area.
4 Bananas – another great trigger of testosterone production via an enzyme called bromelain. They also contain potassium and B vitamins that elevate energy levels and improve stamina.
5 Cacao – chocolate in its pure form is a powerful aphrodisiac. It releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that creates relaxation and pleasure in the emotional element. It also contains bioflavonoids and magnesium that support the physical element by opening up blood vessels and improving blood flow. Quality is important – raw cacao, raw chocolate or at least 72% dark chocolate will work. Products made with cocoa powder or ordinary milk chocolate will not.
6 Nutmeg – a spice you can use to spice up your sex life. It contains compounds that mimic serotonin, helping you relax and allow the pleasure to flow. Nutmeg also helps improve your sleep cycle because of its high levels of tryptophan – poor sleep interferes with the sexual cycle.
7 Maca root powder – this Peruvian root tuber’s taste is malty and it is packed with high levels of essential amino acids, iodine, iron, magnesium and other phytonutrients. These work on the hormonal element by optimising testosterone and oestrogen ratios and on the physical element by improving stamina and heart health.
8 Asparagus – long considered to be a great libido booster, asparagus contains high levels of folate, a key B vitamin that regulates chemicals like histamine that enhance pleasure and lead to orgasm.
9 Pine pollen – known in the Chinese medicine philosophy as “Di Tao”, this is a powerful enhancer of sexual energy and vitality. This makes sense considering that pine pollen is the sexual fluid of a pine tree that gives rise to a 30m-tall tree. You can collect your own or visit your local health shop to purchase it.
10 Horny goat weed – also known as epimedium, this Chinese medicinal herbal contains potent anti-oxidants and a range of phytonutrients that stimulate the libido and reduce sexual dysfunction in both men and women by mimicking the action of testosterone and balancing oestrogen and estradiol levels.
11 Ginseng – it has long been known to help men with erectile dysfunction but new research shows that one variety, Korean red ginseng, boosts sexual arousal in peri-menopausal women. Ginseng is generally regarded as a safe supplement, but some people may experience insomnia from the stimulatory effects.
12 Fenugreek – used since Roman times to fan the flames of love and passion in both men and women, fenugreek contains saponins that boost testosterone production in men and phytoestrogens that increase libido in women. It is also useful in controlling appetite, reducing cholesterol and reducing hot flushes and mood fluctuations in peri-menopausal women. To use, soak the seeds overnight and consume first thing in the morning with some water. You can also sprout the seeds or add young fenugreek leaves to your meals.