Most people know that certain foods like oysters and chocolate are considered aphrodisiacs. But do they actually increase your sex drive, or is this just an urban legend? And to the extent that they work, which are most effective? To find out, the health tracking app Lifesum analyzed its users' data and determined which foods are eaten most commonly before sex. A lot of their findings are pretty much what you'd expect, and some are more surprising.
The study looked at 2,563 foods that people ate two or fewer hours before they had sex. It also looked at which countries had sex the most and which foods they ate before sex. The top five countries were (in order) Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, and the U.S. Chocolate is the most frequently tracked food before sex in Germany and France, the second-most in Italy and the U.S., and the most commonly tracked food before sex globally. Next come (in order) tomatoes, bread, apples, potatoes, coffee, bananas, wine, cheese, and strawberries.
The foods people are most often eating after sex are pretty much the same, minus the strawberries and with the addition of water, probably since everyone's working up a sweat. Frida Harju, nutritionist at Lifesum, says some of the foods people are eating before sex are known aphrodisiacs, while others on the list seem pretty random. There are also some scientifically proven aphrodisiacs that weren't on the list. Here are the foods commonly eaten before sex that actually are proven to increase your sex drive.
Chocolate can be a sexy food just because it tastes good and is often eaten in celebration. But it has another bonus, says Harju: It contains phenylethylamine, which increases dopamine — a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good — and L-arginine, an amino acid that helps your blood flow to all the right places.
Apples carry all kinds of sexual mythology, since it is, after all, what tempted Eve, Harju points out. "However, their libido enhancing qualities may have more to do with the high level of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes, all of which will increase sexual desire."
Tomatoes are sometimes known as "love apples," since both fruits share a common ability to put people in the mood, says Harju. They're also good for prostate health, since they contains the antioxidant lyposene.
The bromelain in bananas increases your body's testosterone, which boosts your libido regardless of your gender, and makes you feel good all over with its B vitamins, says Harju. There's also obvious sexual symbolism with this one.
As you probably know, coffee gets your heart racing and your blood pumping, which are conducive to having fun in bed as well as getting out of it.
Maybe there's a reason this beverage accompanies many a romantic dinner. It gets you nice and relaxed, and due to its concentration of the antioxidant resveratrol, it increases your blood flow and circulation, says Harju.
The vitamin C in strawberries helps your blood flow through your body, says Harju. Not to mention, there's something inexplicably sexy about them. Chocolate covered strawberries just may be the ultimate sex food.
Honey helps regulate the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, and the boron in it just might give you the energy you need to get it on all night with your, er, honey.
The citrulline in watermelon triggers the release of nitric oxide, which increases your circulation, relaxes your blood vessels, and speeds up your arousal. Who knew?
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