13 Super Sexy (and Healthy!) Foods

Add these nutritious foods to your diet to turn up the heat in your relationship.

July 14, 2017
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If food could transform ordinary love lives into epic, sensual, Casanova-caliber escapades you read about in books or see on the big screen, perhaps there would be no more wars, no more loneliness, and we'd be having sex instead of watching the Food Network.

More: 30-Second Love Plays for a Better Sex Life

While food as aphrodisiac may be speculative, it is clear that some foods are very good for your genitals, encouraging blood flow to the region and triggering feel-good hormones that fan the flames of passion. Try these "Super Sex Foods" from the Men's Health and Women's Health Big Book of Sex to improve your health for optimal sex.

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Spinach and Other Green Vegetables

Spinach is a potent source of magnesium, which helps dilate blood vessels, according to Japanese researchers. Better blood flow to the genitals creates greater arousal for men and women. Spinach and other green vegetables are also good sources of our favorite sex nutrient—folate. Extra insurance for good reproductive health, folate may lower blood levels of a harmful substance called homocysteine, which can be a significant risk factor for peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

More: Leafy Greens: 7 Reasons You Need to Eat More

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Unsweetened Tea

The antioxidant catechin found in tea promotes blood flow all over the body for sex power and brainpower. One particularly potent catechin, a compound called ECGC prevalent in green tea, is thought to increase fat burn. Drink freshly brewed green or black tea every day, and keep the sugar out of it. Studies show that too much sugar lowers the body's ability to produce endorphins. Low endorphins can lead to depression which sucks the life out of our sex drive.

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Peaches and Other Fruits

One study shows that vitamin C may increase libido in women. Another finds that people who eat foods high in vitamin C report better moods and have more sex. It helps boost blood flow, meaning that both sexes can get friskier, faster. Men who consume at least 200 milligrams of vitamin C a day improve their sperm counts and motility, according to research at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Excellent sources of vitamin C include grape fruit, watermelon, kiwi, mango, oranges, cantaloupe and ascorbic acid supplements.

More: 9 Foods With More Vitamin C Than Oranges

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The nutrients in eggs, including folate, iron, phosphorus, and selenium, are heart healthy and known to maintain the health of epithelial tissues, which line the vagina and uterus in women. Eggs are rich in vitamins B6 and B5, which help balance hormone levels and ease stress, and are important for a healthy libido. Eggs are an excellent part of a weight loss strategy thanks to their protein and B12, a vitamin that studies have shown is necessary for breaking down fat.

More: 20 Easy Egg Recipes You Can Make in Minutes

Red Wine and Meat
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Red Wine and Meat

Researchers found that women who drink red wine in moderation enjoy higher levels of sexual interest and respond with more lubrication than women who drink less. The antioxidants and alcohol in the wine may trigger the production of nitric oxide in the blood, which helps artery walls to relax, increasing blood flow to the genitals. Lean cuts of red meat are great sources of zinc, a mineral that curbs production of a hormone called prolactin, which at high levels can cause sexual dysfunction. Zinc is also a key muscle-building nutrient.

More: 5 Science-Approved Reasons You Should Drink More Wine

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Seeds and Nuts

Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and other nuts all contain the necessary monounsaturated fats with which your body creates cholesterol—and your sex hormones need that cholesterol to work properly. Long linked to fertility—the shell, of course, resembles a man's cojones; the inside meat is vulvalike in form—nuts make a perfectly sexy snack. Packed with muscle-building protein and filling fiber, they are a heart-healthy, albeit calorie-dense, treat.

More: 5 Ways to Sneak More Fiber Into Your Diet

beans and legumes
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Extra Protein

Protein increases metabolism by helping to build muscle and stall the muscle loss that naturally happens as we age. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat is, so the more lean muscle on your body the better at burning calories it will be. Plus, well-toned abs and thighs are nice to look at when unadorned by clothing. While beans may not be the best side dish if you plan on sex for dessert, building your meals around beans and legumes will ultimately pay off. Studies show that people who eat beans are leaner and healthier than those who don't.

More: 70 Powerfoods to Supercharge Your Health

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Fatty Fish

The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish help to raise dopamine levels in the brain that trigger arousal, according to Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, a sexologist and Women's Health columnist. Other health benefits: anti-inflammatory properties that fight blood clots and heart arrhythmias, better brain function, and protection against dementia. Studies also show that people with high omega-3 blood levels were happier and more agreeable. Tell us that can't help you get more sex!

More: 12 Fish You Should Never Eat

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Oatmeal and Other Whole Grains

Eating oatmeal is a natural way to boost testosterone, which plays a significant role in sex drive and orgasm strength in both men and women. Oats contain L-arginine, an amino acid that has been used to treat erectile dysfunction. Like Viagra, it helps relax muscles around blood vessels in the penis. When they dilate, blood flow increases so a man can maintain an erection. Studies show that L-arginine improves blood flow to the clitoris and tissue surrounding the vulva as well.

More: 10 Healthy New Ways to Eat Oatmeal

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Oysters and Other Shellfish

In addition to their reputation as the ultimate aphrodisiac, raw oysters actually do have a connection to sexual function. Oysters hold more zinc than most any other food, and it is believed that this mineral may enhance libido by helping with testosterone production—higher levels of the hormone are linked to an increase in desire. Zinc is also crucial to healthy sperm production and blood circulation. About six raw oysters will provide double the recommended daily allowance of 15 mg of zinc.

More: 12 Foods That Boost Your Mood

Dark Chocolate
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Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains a compound called phenylethylamine that releases the same endorphins triggered by sex, and increases the feelings of attraction between two people, according to research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Chocolate also appears to boost heart health. Scientists at the Harvard University School of Public Health found heart-health benefits from increased blood flow, less platelet stickiness, and reduced bad cholesterol.

More: The 5 Best Comfort Foods for Your Heart

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Strawberries and Other Berries

Red is sexy. Red roses, sports cars, slinky red dresses. Strawberries can be considered sexy for another reason besides their sensual color: they are high in the B vitamin folate that helps prevent birth defects, and vitamin C, a potential libido booster. Blueberries (and blackberries) are just as sexy. Both berries contain compounds that are thought to relax blood vessels and improve circulation for a natural Viagra-like effect.

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