5 foods to increase your libido

If you’re more excited to sleep than have sex in the bedroom, your sex drive might need a little boost. A low libido can happen at any point in your life for a variety of reasons. Studies show that 32 percent of women and 15 percent of men lack the desire to have sex regularly. A few potential causes of a decreased sex drive could be due to depression, stress, obesity or certain medications.

Rather than heading out to purchase new lingerie, a trip to the nearest grocery store might help. Not only does eating healthy foods help you feel better about yourself, and in turn boost your confidence, a healthy diet can also increase your mood, energy levels and stamina, which all contribute to boosting your libido. In addition to an overall healthy diet, research shows specific foods and nutrients can help sizzle things up in the bedroom. Be sure to include these five foods in your diet to supercharge your sex drive.

Avocados

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A source of vitamin E for healthy skin and nails, avocados also provide potassium, vitamin B6 and monounsaturated fats for a healthy heart and circulation, which is critical for an active sex life. Studies show men with heart disease are twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction as both conditions can result from artery damage. Try some mashed avocado on your toast in the morning, or add slices to your sandwich or salad.

Chocolate (and Cocoa Powder)

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One of the most popular foods for its indulgent flavor, chocolate can help boost your mood by increasing both dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, also known as your "feel good” neurotransmitters. In addition, chocolate offers varying amounts of flavanols (a naturally occurring antioxidant in cocoa) that helps relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. Since the amount (and therefore benefits) of cocoa flavanols vary greatly in chocolate depending on the brand and how it’s processed, it’s best to get your cocoa flavanols from unsweetened cocoa powder or a fortified powder from a major manufacturer that guarantees at least 200 mg in a serving.

Fatty Fish

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You may have heard that fatty fish like tuna, sardines and salmon are swimming with omega-3 fatty acids, which are not only good for your heart but also raise levels of dopamine in the brain that improve circulation and blood flow. Fish is also high in protein and a good source of vitamin B-6, which aids in healthy blood production. For example, just one ¼ cup serving of wild-caught Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna provides nearly 25 percent of your daily need for protein and 10 percent of your daily need for vitamin B-6, along with omega-3 fatty acids. Who knew a tuna fish sandwich could put you in the mood?

Green Tea

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Could a hot cup of tea heat up your sex life? Green tea is rich in compounds called catechins, which in addition to helping reduce belly fat has been shown to help promote blood flow for a better sex life. Catechins promote blood flow in two ways. First, they kill off free radicals that damage and inflame blood vessels, increasing their ability to transport blood. Second, they cause blood vessel cells to release nitric oxide, which increases the size of the blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow. In addition to a hot mug of green tea, try adding it in your morning oatmeal, blend up a green tea smoothie or add some green tea powder to your yogurt or baked goods.

Pumpkin Seeds

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One of the best plant sources of zinc, pumpkin seeds (or papitas) also contain protein, fiber, potassium and iron. Important for immune function, wound healing and eye health, zinc also plays a role in a man’s sex drive as having a zinc deficiency can lead to low testosterone. While it’s not exactly understood why a lack of zinc impacts testosterone, the mineral may affect the cells in the testes that produce testosterone. One study found that men who received 30 milligrams of zinc per day showed increased levels of free testosterone in their bodies. Enjoy pumpkin seeds for a snack, or add them to your salad or cooked grains for a little crunch.