What you eat doesn’t just impact your waistline. It’s also crucial to your sexual health, and it can impact everything from erection strength to sperm motility. Research indicates that specific nutrients—such as common vitamins and lesser-known plant extracts—can have positive effects on some aspects of penile performance. We’ve rounded up the best examples of the sexual superfoods that you should consume for optimal penis health.
Eating spinach, a green that’s rich in appetite-suppressing compounds, not only makes you look better naked, but also increases blood flow below the belt. “Spinach is rich in magnesium, a mineral that decreases inflammation in blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow,” explains Cassie Bjork, RD 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 and helps to protect you against age-related sexual issues.
When it comes to consuming things to improve your penis health, you shouldn’t discredit drinks. A 2015 study from the University of Texas found 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. What’s more, those who throw back four to seven cups are 39 percent less likely to have the condition than their decaffeinated 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.
Double down on the marinara to protect your manhood. According to a 2014 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, men who eat more than 10 servings of tomatoes each week have an 18 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer. That’s thanks to lycopene, an antioxidant which fights off toxins that can cause DNA and cell damage.
If you’re looking to conceive, then you might want to consider stocking up on tomatoes. Another 2019 study also found that the garden vegetable could improve sperm morphology (shape).
Chocolate is one food that will satisfy your cravings and boost your penis health at the same time. Cacao increases levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin. With more serotonin in the brain, your stress levels are lower, your libido is higher, and you’re much more likely to reach orgasm. And that’s not all: Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that cocoa also increases blood flow and relaxes blood vessels, sending blood to all the right regions.
Hot sauce is one of the best condiments when it comes to your penis health. A 2015 study published in Physiology & Behavior found that 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 testosterone levels. The study authors suggest that this may be due in part to capsaicin, the fiery compound in chili pepper that other studies have also associated with increased testosterone levels.
Green tea is rich in compounds called catechins that 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 between your legs.
According to Bjork, catechins “cause blood vessel cells to release nitric oxide, which increases the size of the blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow.” Blood flow to the genitals equals 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.
Nature’s candy can be a cherry bomb for your sex life. Cherries are rich in anthocyanins, plant chemicals that clean your arteries of plaque and keep blood flowing freely. Make them a regular snack: One cup clocks in at fewer than 100 calories and has 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 2012 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 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.
A 2013 study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility analyzed the effect of various fruit and vegetables on sperm quality. It discovered that carrots had the best all-around 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 behind the study attribute the boost to carotenoids, powerful antioxidative compounds in carrots that help the body make vitamin A.
Next time you want to help your date reach the big O, opt for some oatmeal. The popular breakfast cereal is a good source of l-arginine, an amino acid commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction.
Potatoes—whether they’re of 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 enhances your bedroom pleasure. (It also counteracts salt-related bloating, so you’ll have a hotter bod, too.)
One study presented at a 2012 conference held by the Society for Endocrinology found that pomegranate juice, which is rich in antioxidants that support blood flow, can also help improve testosterone levels and boost mood. Specifically, when subjects consumed pomegranate juice for just two weeks, they saw a 24 percent increase in salivary testosterone.
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