Eating spinach, a green rich in appetite-suppressing compounds, can not only make you look better naked but increase blood flow below the belt. “Spinach is rich in magnesium, a mineral that decreases inflammation in blood vessels, increasing blood flow,” explains Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life. That may not sound sexy, but you’re sure to enjoy the effects. “Increased blood flow drives blood to the extremities, which, like Viagra, can increase arousal and make sex more pleasurable,” says psychotherapist and sex expert Tammy Nelson Ph.D. Spinach is also rich in folate, which increases blood flow to the nether regions, helping to protect you against age-related sexual issues.
Recent University of Texas findings suggests that men who drink two to three cups of java a day—or 85 to 170 milligrams of caffeine from other beverages—are 42 percent less likely to have erectile dysfunction than those who consume up to seven milligrams of the stimulant daily. And those who throw back four to seven cups were 39 percent less likely to have the condition than their less jittery counterparts. The trend holds true among overweight, obese and hypertensive men, but not for those with diabetes, a condition that often causes the issue. So, how exactly does drinking coffee keep things going strong? The scientists say that the stimulant triggers a series of reactions in the body that ultimately increase blood flow to the penis. If you need more excuses to drink coffee (as if), don’t miss these 75 Amazing Benefits of Coffee.
Hard men have healthy hearts, so eat bananas for potassium, which is great for your heart and circulation. Getting enough potassium helps keep your sodium levels under control, stopping your blood pressure from hitting the roof and reducing your risk of heart problems. If you eat too much salt and don’t like bananas, get your potassium from oranges or jacket potatoes (the mineral’s in the skin).
Double down on the marinara to protect your manhood. Men who eat over 10 servings of tomatoes each week have an 18 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer — the result of lycopene, an antioxidant which fights off toxins that can cause DNA and cell damage — a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention found. A previous study found the garden vegetable could also improve sperm morphology (shape); men with the highest tomato intake contributed to between 8 and 10 percent more ‘normal’ sperm.
How alpha are you? Well, how many shakes of hot sauce can you handle? A recent study from France found men who have a taste for spicy foods tend to have higher testosterone levels than those who can’t handle the heat. Of the 114 male participants surveyed, researchers saw a clear correlation between frequent hot-sauce usage and higher T-levels. Study authors suggest the findings may be due in part to capsaicin—the fiery compound in chili pepper that previous studies have associated with increased testosterone levels. In animal studies, capsaicin has also shown to increase the size of sex organs, while simultaneously decreasing belly fat.
Watermelon is one of the richest natural sources of L-citrulline, an amino acid that can help make your erection harder. Once it’s in the body, it converts to L-arginine, stimulating the production of nitric oxide, which increases blood flow to the penis, strengthening erections.
If you like your food like you like your lovers—sweet and spicy—you’re in luck. Ginger is another food that can improve your sex life by aiding blood flow and improving artery health. According to a study in the International Journal of Cardiology, consuming a mere teaspoon of the stuff a few times a week is all you need to reap the heart-healthy benefits. The spice has also been shown to boost levels of testosterone and sperm viability. So go ahead and place that second order of sushi this week—just don’t leave the ginger on your plate.
Some scholarly minds believe it wasn’t an apple, but a pomegranate with which Eve tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden. She was smart: A recent study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research discovered that pomegranate juice, rich in antioxidants that support blood flow, can help improve erectile dysfunction. Though this study was funded by POM Wonderful, animal studies have also shown that the elixir improves long-term erectile response, so it’s definitely worth a shot–literally. Knock a shot back or water your juice down a bit: One cup of tart POM Wonderful packs 31 grams of sugar.
The brew is rich in compounds called catechins, which have been shown to blast away belly fat and speed the liver’s capacity for turning fat into energy. But that’s not all: Catechins also boost desire by promoting blood flow to your nether region. “Catechins kill off free radicals that damage and inflame blood vessels, increasing their ability to transport blood,” says Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life. “Catechins also cause blood vessel cells to release nitric oxide, which increases the size of the blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow,” she explains. Blood flow to the genitals = feeling of sexual excitement, so sipping the stuff will, well, make you want to get it on. Bjork suggests drinking four cups a day to feel the full effects.
There’s a reason chocolate became a gift given before amorous activity. Cacao increases levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin, which can lower stress levels, boosting desire and making it easier to reach orgasm. And that’s not all: Cocoa also increases blood flow through the arteries and relaxes blood vessels, sending blood to all the right regions, which can boost sexual pleasure.
If you want to go long enough to help your date reach the big O, reach for some oatmeal. The popular breakfast cereal is a good source of l-arginine, an amino acid commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction. Plus, whole grains like oatmeal also help lower cholesterol levels. Having high cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, a condition that clogs and narrows arteries, impairing blood flow. This could eventually lead to heart problems, but you’ll likely notice issues below the belt first. The arteries surrounding the genital area are narrower than coronary blood vessels, so they’re more susceptible to clots. Simply put, the better your cholesterol levels are, the better your erection will be, too.
These underrated kernels are rich in zinc, and people with higher levels in their system have been shown to have a higher sex drive than those with lower levels. They’re also a good source of magnesium, which boosts testosterone and keeps sperm healthy and viable. Pine nuts are the primary ingredient in pesto, so go Italian on your next date night, or sprinkle them on a salad with libido-boosting avocado, tomatoes and salmon.
Nature’s candy can be a cherry bomb for your sex life. Cherries are rich in anthocyanins, plant chemicals which clean your arteries of plaque, keeping them open for business. That has a direct effect on blood flow below the belt. So make them a regular snack: One cup clocks in at fewer than 100 calories and boasts B vitamins, cancer-fighting flavonoids and three grams of fiber.
If you’re looking for a way to simultaneously boost your libido and calm those pre-date jitters, pour yourself a glass of red wine. According to a study printed in Nutrition Journal, vino could elevate your testosterone levels. In lab tests, researchers found that quercetin, a compound in wine, blocks an enzyme that causes the body to excrete testosterone, thereby increasing the amount of T circulating in the blood. Wine’s rich antioxidant profile also triggers nitric oxide production, which relaxes artery walls. This increases blood flow down south, creating feelings of sexual excitement.
It’s no secret that oily coldwater fish like wild salmon, sardines, and tuna are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, but here’s something you may not know: The nutrient not only benefits your heart but also raises dopamine levels in the brain. This spike in dopamine improves circulation and blood flow, triggering arousal. There’s more: “Dopamine will make you feel more relaxed and connected to your partner, which makes sex more fun,” says psychotherapist and sex expert Tammy Nelson.
Bikinis, models, nuts … Is there anything Brazilian that’s not sexy? Selenium is a trace mineral found in Brazil nuts that plays an important role in hormone health. You only need a tiny bit for healthy sperm, but a tiny deficiency can be catastrophic for reproductive health. In one study, men who had lower testosterone and were infertile also had significantly lower selenium levels than the fertile group. Supplementing with the mineral improved chances of successful conception by 56 percent. And a second study that included 69 infertile men with low levels of the mineral, found selenium supplementation could significantly improve sub-par sperm motility associated with testosterone deficiency. Moreover, 11 percent of the men successfully impregnated their partners during the trial!
Potatoes—whether they’re the white or the sweet variety—are a great source of potassium. This nutrient boosts circulation, which keeps blood flowing where it needs to go and boosts your bedroom pleasure. (It also counteracts salt-related bloating, so you’ll look better naked too.)
A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility that analyzed the effect of various fruit and vegetables on sperm quality discovered carrots had the best all-round results on sperm count and motility — a term used to describe the ability of sperm to swim towards an egg. Men who ate the most carrots saw improved sperm performance by 6.5 to 8 percent. The Harvard researchers attribute the boost to carotenoids, powerful antioxidative compounds in carrots that help the body make vitamin A.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best dietary sources of zinc and magnesium—essential minerals shown to boost testosterone levels and growth factor hormone, especially when combined. In fact, college football players who took a nightly zinc-magnesium supplement showed a 30 percent increase in testosterone levels and a 13 to 16 percent increase in leg strength, one eight-week trial found. The seeds are also a rich source polyunsaturated fatty acids shown to boost prostaglandins — hormone-like substances that play a key role in libido.
Classic dietary staples, like the chicken breast, may not have the Instagram presence of say, matcha, but they earn a place on plates much longer. Simply put, their health benefits continue to stack up. In addition to a hefty amount of arginine — only turkey has more — a 3-ounce cooked chicken breast contains only 142 calories and 3 grams of fat, but an impressive 26 grams of protein. That’s more than half of the day’s recommended allowance. Plus, it’s rich in B vitamins to rev your metabolism and energy levels. (And if you’re looking to treat erectile dysfunction, those B vitamins definitely don’t hurt.) Cooking up a whole bird, why not have a dinner party, just make sure you get the breast! Check out these 15 Genius Tricks for Amazing Dinner Parties—from Real People Who Did Them.
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