4 Foods That Make Sex Better
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Any medical expert—nutritionist, sex researcher, internist, heart surgeon—will tell you that the best things to eat for a healthy love life are also the best things for a healthy heart. When your arteries are clogged and your circulation is impaired, blood can't flow to where it needs to go, and in this case, it needs to get to your genitals. Oatmeal not only lowers cholesterol, but it's also a great source of L-arginine. This amino acid contributes to the production of nitric oxide, a gas that is released by the blood vessels in order to dilate, says Steven Lamm, MD, an internist and director of men's health for NYU Medical Center. L-arginine is key to your partner's sexual readiness and yours, so drizzle some flaxseed (nuts and seeds are also good sources) on your oatmeal to start everyone's day off right.
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While you're no doubt aware of the fact that mackerel, wild salmon, halibut and sardines are stellar sources of omega-3 fatty acids, you may not know the connection between steamed fish and a steamy night of passion. Essential fatty acids improve circulation by clearing cholesterol and platelets from artery walls and keeping the blood flowing. The omega-3s in fish also maintain hormone function and may raise dopamine levels in the brain to prime you for arousal. Finally, research has shown that when people switched from a typical Western diet (high in processed food, salt, sugar and fat) to a Mediterranean way of eating, it boosted their interest in sex. The study didn't single out fish (it focused on the diet as a whole, which also included nuts, olive oil and fresh fruit and vegetables), but it was likely a factor.
Get the recipe: Crispy Salmon with Dill Pickled Onions
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Blueberries are yet another stealth love drug, because their soluble fiber (the non-gassy kind, don't worry) helps clear mood-killing cholesterol. And all types of fruit—but especially watermelon—are full of water, and the more hydrated you are, the better the muscles and tissue all over the body will be to respond to stimulus. Feeling adventurous? Sprinkle walnuts on top of your fruit for an extra dose of fatty acids and L-arginine.
Photo: Andrew Scrivani
Beyond the obvious—how can sharing a dessert like this not perk you up?!—there are good reasons to bake your lover a pumpkin pie or order a slice of it instead of another cocktail. In studies conducted by the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, this delectable scent increased blood flow to men's nether regions by 40 percent (it also increased arousal in women, but to a lesser degree).
As for chocolate? Well, that makes everything better, period. Eating it can sometimes feel a little like swooning, due to phenylethylamine (a stimulant related to amphetamine) and tryptophan (a building block of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal)—compounds that are released in the brain when people fall in love. A small Italian study found that women who regularly ate chocolate tended to have stronger libidos than women who abstained. (The researchers noted that the women in the study who like to eat chocolate could also simply like to have sex).
Get the recipe: Kate McDermott's Pumpkin Pie
Next: How to get in the mood for sex