Ever noticed how some foods, like oysters and chocolate, get all the credit for sparking romance, while others barely get a mention? We’re shining a light on the whole aphrodisiac menu, from headliners to the lesser-known foods and supplements out there. Some might not be as well known, but actually come with a bit of scientific backing for their libido-boosting effects.

This list is split into two: the myths and the maybe’s. On one side, we have foods celebrated through the ages more for their symbolic meanings or suggestive shapes than any proven effects. On the other, there are those with a handful of studies suggesting they might actually do something to get the sparks flying. Once you know the difference you can decide which ones you might want on your plate.

A variety of healthy aphrodisiac foods including oysters, fruits, vegetables, and honey on a wooden surface.
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Saffron

A close-up of a pile of saffron threads, known as an aphrodisiac food, on a wooden surface.
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Saffron isn’t just a spice for your rice; it’s a mood booster that’s been linked to increased sexual desire. Studies suggest that saffron can improve sexual function and libido in both men and women, making it a prized ingredient in the aphrodisiac pantry. Its magic lies in its ability to enhance mood and reduce stress.

Maca

Bowl of aphrodisiac protein powder on a slate surface with a green sprig and spoon.
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Coming from the Peruvian mountains, maca is often called “nature’s Viagra.” It’s known for boosting energy, endurance, and libido. Research backs up its reputation, showing that maca can indeed increase sexual desire without affecting hormone levels directly, making it a go-to for those looking to spice things up naturally. It’s easily added to smoothies, yogurt bowls or oatmeal. You can even blend it into your coffee.

Fenugreek

A bowl of fenugreek seeds, known as aphrodisiac foods, beside a bottle of oil and fresh fenugreek leaves on a wooden surface.
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Fenugreek seeds are not just for curries; they might also help fire up your love life. Studies have shown that fenugreek can help increase libido and sexual performance by boosting testosterone levels in men. Its compounds are believed to stir up sexual arousal and enhance vitality. They’re delicious in a curry but you can also soak and sprout the seeds for salads.

Ginseng

Fresh aphrodisiac ginseng roots in a woven basket on a wooden surface.
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Ginseng, particularly the red variety, is a powerful aphrodisiac that has been used for centuries to treat sexual dysfunction and enhance sexual behavior. Scientific evidence suggests that ginseng may improve erectile function in men and increase sexual arousal in women, thanks to its components that can influence hormonal levels. It’s most commonly enjoyed as a tea.

Pistachios

A bowl of pistachios, considered on a wooden surface.
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These tasty nuts are not just a snack; they’re a snack with benefits. Research indicates that pistachios might help with erectile dysfunction thanks to arginine, an amino acid that helps relax blood vessels. This nutty delight is perfect for those looking to improve their heart health. Pistachio crusted meats are a delicious way to get some more in your diet but a handful as a snack is just as delicious.

Tribulus

Milk thistle flowers and leaves with a bowl of aphrodisiac milk thistle seeds arranged on a wooden surface.
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Tribulus terrestris, often found in health supplements, is touted for its libido-enhancing properties. Some studies suggest that it can improve sexual desire and erectile function by increasing serum testosterone levels.

Ginkgo biloba

Fresh ginkgo plant, known as an aphrodisiac food, with green leaves on a wooden surface.
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Ginkgo biloba, known for its memory-boosting abilities, also has a lesser-known talent: spicing up your sex life. It’s thought to improve blood flow and sexual function, particularly in individuals taking antidepressants. While research is mixed, many swear by its ability to enhance mood and arousal. You can take ginkgo biloba as a pill, extract or tea.

Chocolate

A piece of chocolate wrapped in foil on a wooden table.
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Chocolate is often associated with love and romance, believed to stir desire because it contains serotonin and phenylethylamine, chemicals that can boost mood and pleasure. Despite its reputation as an aphrodisiac, scientific studies have yet to conclusively support this, leaving it more a treat for the heart than a proven libido booster.

Figs

Fresh aphrodisiac figs on leaves with one sliced in half, revealing ripe red interior.
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Figs, with their unique shape and sweet, delicate flavor, have long been symbolized with fertility and love. This fruit’s association with sensuality and aphrodisiac qualities dates back to ancient times, although there’s no concrete evidence to back up these claims, making their aphrodisiac status more myth than science.

Honey

Honey is poured into a glass with a wooden spoon.
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Honey’s link to aphrodisiac properties comes from its rich, sweet essence and its historical use in various romantic traditions, including “honeymoons.” However, despite its sweet appeal and its minor boron content, which theoretically could influence hormone levels, there’s no scientific proof that honey directly enhances sexual desire. Can’t hurt to mix it in with a tea of one of the other proven sources though.

Avocados

Avocado on a cutting board with a knife.
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The avocado’s aphrodisiac reputation dates back to the Aztecs, likely due to its voluptuous shape and nutrient-rich composition. While avocados are packed with healthy fats and vitamins that can support overall health, there’s no direct evidence to suggest they have any special effect on sexual desire or performance.

Pomegranate

A bowl of pomegranate salsa with lime and tortilla chips.
Pomegranate Salsa. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Pomegranates are often celebrated for their antioxidant properties and have been historically linked to fertility and sexual health due to their abundance of seeds. While they’re excellent for your health, the idea that they directly boost libido is more rooted in folklore than in any scientifically verified fact.

Oysters

Oysters on ice with a glass of champagne.
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Oysters are perhaps the most famous aphrodisiac, touted for their high zinc content, which is essential for testosterone production and reproductive health. Despite the hype, scientific studies have yet to establish a direct link between oyster consumption and increased sexual desire or performance, leaving it as more of a romantic notion.

1 Simple Snacks for Better Blood Sugar Control

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Keeping your blood sugar in check doesn’t mean you have to skimp on snacking. In fact, the right snacks can be your secret weapon in maintaining those levels while still satisfying those mid-day cravings. Pairing up the good stuff—fiber, proteins, and healthy fats—can help to keep blood sugar steady. These snack ideas are as delicious as they are smart for your health.

See Them Here: 11 Simple Snacks for Better Blood Sugar Control

Avoid these 11 Foods If You’re Sensitive to Lectins

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Navigating the world of food sensitivities can feel like walking through a minefield, especially when lectins are the culprits. You might have heard that these protein-packed particles can wreak havoc on sensitive stomachs, but figuring out where they’re hiding is another story. We’re breaking down some of the foods that are lectin landmines for those with sensitivities. Grab a notepad, because you’re going to want to remember these tips next time you’re grocery shopping or planning a meal.

See Them Here: Avoid these 11 Foods If You’re Sensitive to Lectins

10 Foods You Should Never Eat Raw

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Diving into a bag of crunchy raw carrots or whipping up a smoothie with butternut squash and spinach? Go for it! But beware, the culinary world has its rogues. Some foods play hardball with your stomach or sneak in toxins that could turn your mealtime into a risky affair. It’s all about knowing who’s who in the raw food lineup.

See Them here: 10 Foods You Should Never Eat Raw

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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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