Keep your libido high: do aphrodisiac foods actually exist?

Written by: Andrés Suro



Time to read 4 min

It has long been said that  aphrodisiac foods  help us feel more passionate towards others or  increase our overall sexual desire . But, is it true that food can affect or improve our libido?

The truth of the matter is that  different types of foods can have a  direct effect on our sex life, energy and stress levels. In fact, certain foods can even improve circulation and genital activation. Also, “aphrodisiac foods” gives us the illusion that increased sexual desire could be real. It is possible to say that the combination of these have an important role in the sexual response outcome.

Where do aphrodisiac foods come from? 

The famous  aphrodisiac foods  get their name from the  Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite . Any food consumed for the purpose of awakening or increasing sexual desire can be considered an aphrodisiac. This is the reason that we have “aphrodisiac cuisine” as a result of this assumption.

The sense of  smell plays a big role in sexual response activation aside from the ingestion of aphrodisiac foods . A matter of fact, food scent travels through the nasal canal much sooner, triggering our central nervous system before the ingested food gets to the digestive system.

But  where does the aphrodisiac effect come from?  It is hypothesized that ingesting food containing certain  chemical and nutritional compositions  could boost our body functions. However, these “aphrodisiac” ingredients don’t have magical results as it is believed. It may actually be just a placebo effect. In other words, it could be possible that we believe we have a particular sexual body response as a result of ingesting a specific ingredient because we are expecting that outcome.

In addition, the consumption of aphrodisiac foods in a pleasant environment  can produce feelings of satiety and fullness that can predispose us to the enjoyment of sexual pleasure afterwards. It is also suggested that a food is considered aphrodisiac because of the context in which it is consumed, besides its nutritional composition.

What foods are aphrodisiacs? 

There are certain vitamins and minerals capable of enhancing libido. For example:

Foods rich in Vitamin E 

Known as the “ sex vitamin “. Promotes sexual desire and improves blood flow. We could say that  vitamin E is the ultimate aphrodisiac . We can find it in:

  • Asparagus

  • Nuts

  • Broccoli

  • Avocado

Foods rich in Vitamin C 

It is an  antioxidant that contributes to the prop er functioning of the immune system. Foods that contain vitamin C are:

  • Brown rice

  • Oily fish

  • Apples

  • Grapes

  • Kiwi

  • Mango

  • Peppers

The peppers, the hotter the better. Hot peppers increase metabolism and stimulate endorphins by speeding up the heart rate.  The result? Increased sexual desire and a memorable ending. However, if you plan to handle habaneros, make sure to wash your hands before getting near sensitive body parts.

Two avocados on a table, and one of them is halved.

Foods rich in Magnesium 

Magnesium is a mineral that increases blood circulation to the extremities, having  a direct effect on the metabolic system similar to Viagra . Some foods rich in magnesium are:

  • Spinach

  • Quinoa

  • Almonds

  • Tofu

Foods rich in Tryptophan 

It is a precursor of serotonin, and  alters our mood and immune system . We can find it in:

  • Chicken

  • Eggs

  • Fish

  • Nuts

Menu of the day to boost your libido 

You may be wondering,  how can we integr ate all these ingredientes into our diet? Luckily,  Candela Valle proposes  a menu for those whowant have a better control of their sex life:

  •  Breakfast : green tea, toast with dried fruit bread, avocado and chicken breast. After a kiwi or orange mid-morning.

  •  Lunch : a veal entrecote in almond cream with spinach sautéed with garlic and pumpkin seeds.

  •  Dinner : a spinach salad, piquillo peppers, onion, tomato, cucumber and tuna dressed with honey vinaigrette.

What is the effect of aphrodisiacs on men and women? 

Each body reacts differently to these nutrients. In other words, it depends on the person who consumes them. Some may have effects on the sexual desire or libido and others may not feel anything.  These nutrients are synthesized differently if you are either a man or a woman . This is why it is so important to acknowledge which foods are beneficial to our sexual health overall.

Aphrodisiac foods for man: 

According to a study conducted by the  University of East Anglia  and  Harvard University , the consumption of foods rich in flavonoids are associated with a lower risk of erectile dysfunction¹. Candela Valle points out that if a person consumes a healthy diet that includes these ingredients will have a greater chance of having a better endocrine system functioning, also associated with the neurotransmitters that regulate sexual activity. This is how sexual inappetence or other symptomatologies such as erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation can be prevented.

 Some elements to consider: 

  • Quercetin

  • Hypericum

  • Pollen

  • Ginger

  • Blueberries

  • Oranges

  • Epimedium

Aphrodisiac foods for women 

Studies on female libido highlight that during menopause or during pregnancy, sex hormone levels are reduced and can cause a decrease in sexual desire and arousal. For the regulation of these hormones, it is recommended the consumption of supplements rich in:

  • Maca

  • Ginger

  • L-arginine

  • Ginseng

Couple cooking together at home.

Do we have to reduce the consumption of any substance? 

In addition to integrating the previously mentioned foods into our diet, do we have to change other habits? Candela Valle also recommends reducing or eliminating the following products from the basket:

  • Alcohol: linked to erectile dysfunction and a decrease in sexual arousal and sexual response to stimulation.Alcohol affects testosterone levels, linked to libido.

  • Coffee: reduces cortisol levels, essential to maintain sexual desire.

  • Sweeteners: drastically decrease dopamine secretion, which directly affects sexual activity.

  • Saturated and processed fats: foods high in saturated and processed fats reduce energy and increase blood cholesterol, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.

What to do beyond modifying our diet? 

Maintaining certain healthy habits could have a direct impact on our mood. A proper functioning of the endocrine system is related to healthy levels of the so-called “happiness hormones”, i.e. endorphin, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. These hormones can improve not only with a good diet, but also through sport, hours of rest, taking time for leisure, disconnecting from work or meditating.

As we have mentioned before, we must take into consideration all the minerals and supplements that we ingest, since it will depend on factors such as sex, age, mood, etc. Taking into consideration the aphrodisiac foods -and their effects-, could help us to enhance our sex life. In conclusion, eating a healthy diet is good for our health and our sex life. However, it is important to consult a health professional in case you have doubts or want to establish a balanced and personalized diet according to your needs.

Andrés Suro

Author: Andrés Suro  (Sexual Coach at MYHIXEL)

Psychologist specialized in the social area and expert in sexology applied to education.


Cassidy, A., Franz, M., & Rimm, E. B. (2016). Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 103(2), 534–541.