Top Nutrients and Foods that Boost Your Romantic Function & Pleasure – Leading Authority in Naturopathic Endocrinology
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Top Nutrients and Foods that Boost Your Romantic Function & Pleasure

By Dr. Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

iStock bowl of strawberriesWe’ve all heard of the aphrodisiac powers of oysters and chocolate. Old wives’ tales? Well not exactly.  The keys to enhancing romantic and sexual performance in men and women include improving your blood circulation, your ability to experience pleasure, and your drive. You may be surprised to learn that five nutrients found in a variety of foods have been scientifically proven to give you a better sex life. And, just so you know, these include the nutrients found in oysters and dark chocolate.

What are these elixirs of passion? Let’s start with those that improve your circulation:  nitrates and arginine.

#1: Nitrates: Sounds like a bad chemical that might be put in processed foods, but nitrates in natural foods are incredible for your health. Your body uses them to make nitric oxide, the master compound that regulates the function of your arteries. If you increase nitric oxide levels, your arteries will dilate, your blood vessel function will improve, and along with it, you will enhance your athletic, sexual, and blood vessel performance. When men consume foods with “good nitrates” they have better romantic performance. When women eat these foods, they feel more aroused and receptive.

Foods that are rich in nitrates include:

  • Beets are an incredible source (see Dr. Masley’s article on beets at the end of this section.
  • Cooked spinach (You need at least one cup of cooked spinach to make a difference. Raw spinach is mostly water. It takes 7.5 cups of raw spinach to equal 1 cup of cooked spinach).

Not surprising then, that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and rapture, recommended beets as an aphrodisiac.

#2: Arginine: Arginine is another compound the body uses to make nitric oxide. Clinical studies have shown than arginine improves romantic and sexual function. Increase arginine, and you will increase blood flow for men and women.

Foods that are rich in arginine include:

  • Oysters
  • All shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab)
  • Turkey breast

Next, are foods that increase your ability to feel physical pleasure. The brain requires a chemical compound called dopamine for romantic desire and fulfillment. Endorphins are other compounds that increase relaxation and the sense of fulfillment. Endorphins allow us to feel relaxed, calm, and satisfied.

#3: Tyrosine: To make dopamine, you require a couple nutrients. The most important is an amino acid called tyrosine.

Foods that are rich in tyrosine include:

  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Caviar
  • Turkey breast
  • Soy protein

#4: Endorphin precursors:  A variety of foods including salmon, vanilla, and bananas have been reported to increase endorphin production, but by far the top rated is:

  • Dark chocolate. We are not talking milk chocolate; the chocolate has to have at least 70% cocoa mass to qualify.

#5: Zinc: Foods that enhance adrenal function stimulate sex drive and libido. To have drive, you need good adrenal function, and in particular you need zinc. Food rich in zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Dark chocolate

What undermines romantic performance? Well that would be too much alcohol. You need hydration, so enjoy sparkling water and iced green tea, but keep your alcohol intake moderate. Since you won’t be drinking much, you might as well splurge and buy a special bottle of red wine or champagne. Just stick to one to two servings per person, clearly not more than one serving per hour.

Now that you know the top foods for romantic function and pleasure, you should be able to guess my recommended menu for Valentine’s Day or your anniversary.

Recipes for a Loving Day

Appetizers: (Good choices include)

  • Smoked oysters (yes, some of you may think raw oysters, but as a physician, I’d have to say be careful with raw seafood, so I’m recommending smoked oysters).
  • Smoked salmon
  • Crab, steamed
  • Caviar

Main Course:

  • Shrimp or Lobster Kebobs (You could use turkey breast cubes if you don’t like shellfish) See recipe, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 319-320.
  • Roasted beets. See recipe, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 333.
  • Spinach, sautéed in virgin olive oil, with Italian herbs and fresh garlic


  • Chocolate. Try one ounce of dark chocolate per person, drizzled over fresh strawberries or cherries
  • Or for a special treat, try my Chocolate-Raspberry-Orange Soufflé (it is awesome, Yum!) The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 338-339.


For more information and a special report from Dr. Masley, click here.



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