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Is there really a link between food and libido?

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Cooking up an aphrodisiac heavy meal for your date probably won’t quite have the intended effects, but ensuring they have all the key nutrients will help maintain libido.

Asked by: Adam Bell, Durham


There’s no evidence that a single aphrodisiac-packed meal will boost libido. But making sure that you have optimal levels of some key nutrients can help to maintain sex drive.

Zinc helps to regulate levels of the hormone testosterone, which can improve sex drive in both men and women. Oysters are the richest dietary source of zinc, but it’s also found in many other foods, including meat, tofu and spinach.

Meanwhile, watermelon has a reputation as ‘nature’s Viagra’ because it contains an amino acid called L-citrulline. Once in the body, this converts to L-arginine, which is known to increase blood flow by relaxing blood vessels. A 2011 study at Italy’s University of Foggia looked at the effect of citrulline supplements on men with mild erectile dysfunction. After talking the pills, half of the men reported improvements.

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Dr Emma Davies is a science writer and editor with a PhD in food chemistry from the University of Leeds. She writes about all aspects of chemistry, from food and the environment to toxicology and regulatory science.


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