Are oysters and other seafoods instant aphrodisiacs, as so many people claim? Let’s separate fact from fiction with this exploration.
Did you know that four in 10 women and three in 10 men in the US suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction?
No wonder then that the US has one of the world’s biggest sexual wellness markets, valued at $3 billion in 2016.
What’s more, experts say this will reach $8.8 billion in 2025, representing an almost 300% increase.
But sexual enhancement supplements aren’t the only go-to of people with sexual disorders. Many also turn to what they believe are instant aphrodisiacs. These are the foods touted to have libido-and sexual performance-increasing effects.
Of these known aphrodisiacs, seafood — particularly oysters — is the most popular.
The question now is, do these foods really help improve sex drive? If so, how do they work?
That’s exactly what we’ll uncover in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
Oysters: The Shucking Truth
The belief that oysters are an aphrodisiac has been around since at least 2,000 years ago. Back then, the Roman Emperor Vitellius apparently ate one thousand oysters in one go.
There’s also Casanova, said to have broken his fast with 50 oysters to jumpstart his libido. And a lot of libido this world-famous lover had, having seduced at least 122 women throughout his life.
Both men are responsible for the perception that oysters are aphrodisiac foods.
So, are oysters an aphrodisiac?
What Science Has Found
Some scientists say that bivalve mollusks, which include oysters, might be. They found that these mussels contain the amino acid called D-Aspartic acid. In lab rats, this chemical appeared to boost the sex hormones, including testosterone.
In a 2013 study, preliminary evidence suggested that oysters have aphrodisiac properties. The researchers found that these mollusks increased the mounting behavior of model rats. They also noted longer periods of mounting time.
Although limited, this study does provide some proof of oysters’ aphrodisiac effects. In fact, it concludes that there is pharmacological evidence of oysters as aphrodisiacs. They also suggest the use of these mollusks as a form of alternative therapy to help restore male sex drive.
The Potential Zinc Benefits
Zinc is another reason for oysters’ popularity as a sexual instinct driver. Lack of this mineral appears to result in low sperm quality and male infertility. Zinc deficiency has also shown to impair male and female reproductive abilities.
There is no other food that contains zinc as much as oysters. Three ounces of cooked oysters already supply 74 mg of zinc. That’s over 10 times more than what chuck beef roast contains.
It May All Be in the Appearance
Oysters, when bought fresh from seafood markets like Crab Dynasty, are full in the shell. Right after shucking, they present you with moist, yet firm meat brimming with juices.
To many, that appearance alone can already induce bedroom thoughts.
Granted, we need more studies to confirm that oysters do rekindle the fire between one’s groin. It seems to work for many though, and besides, it can do a lot of wonders to your heart, muscles, nerves, brain, and energy. That should be enough reason for you to eat these mussels, Casanova style.
A Fish-Rich Diet for a Sex-Rich Life
Aside from mussels, clams, and scallops, there’s plenty of fish in the sea (sorry) that may help boost your sex life. We’re talking literally about fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These include salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, and trout among others.
Omega-3 fats have shown to increase the production of nitric oxide (NO). NO has many health functions, from increasing blood flow to being a blood vessel relaxer. For now, let’s focus on the sexual effects of this gas.
NO and Its Effects on the Sex Organs
In men, NO relaxes the muscles in the penis, which then results in blood flowing inside its chambers. This process is what allows men to achieve an erection. Lack of NO means a lack of and even failed erections.
In women, NO’s main role is to maintain proper blood flow to the vagina, which is key to achieving orgasm. A higher amount of pressure in the vagina and labia is crucial to have an orgasm. The blood that flows to the clitoris is what controls this pressure.
So, it follows that without NO, there would be no increase in the flow of blood to the clitoris. There will also be no increase in pressure, which ultimately leads to no orgasm. Moreover, the lack of NO can affect lubrication, which can lead to vaginal dryness.
All these can then affect and rob a woman of her sexual desire.
The question now is, how does lack of NO take place in the first place?
Aging is one of the main causes of nitric oxide deficiency. Studies found that aging can cause anywhere from 50% to 75% loss in nitric oxide production.
A sedentary lifestyle, which often happens due to age, can also affect NO production. Not eating enough nitrate- and nitrite-rich foods can also reduce NO levels in the body.
More Fish, More Sex
Now that you know how NO affects sexual functions, let’s talk about what eating fish has to do with it.
Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, contain the most omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. PUFAs are anti-inflammatory, said to help reduce risks of heart disease and arthritis. Moreover, they help regulate blood pressure and hematic clotting.
The last two may help explain how fish-rich diets can improve sexual health. After all, optimal blood pressure and blood flow are important for sex organ health.
Also, one study found that omega 3 fats improved the symptoms of erectile dysfunction in lab rats. In fact, the rats treated with these fatty acids had improved erectile functions.
In humans, scientists link the increased consumption of fish with more sex. Researchers found that eating fish twice a week led to increased sexual activities. Couples who did this had sex 22% more often than their non-fish-eating counterparts.
Beyond the Seas: Other Foods That Can Help Boost Libido
Unfortunately, these don’t include chocolate, strawberry, or honey. There’s not enough evidence to support that these foods affect one’s sex drive.
Maca, however, has a direct positive effect on libido and fertility. Chili pepper may also benefit sexual function with its blood flow-improving effect.
Maca: The Tried and Tested Peruvian Viagra
Maca, also known as “Peruvian ginseng”, is a sweet root vegetable touted by many as “nature’s Viagra”. In South America, where it grows mainly in central Peru, locals use it to boost sex drive and fertility.
Scientific studies back this up, with one study discovering the plant’s libido-increasing effects. The test, which involved rodent models, also revealed that Maca increased erectile function.
Several studies have also proven the Maca root’s ability to raise libido levels in humans. One study looked at the plant’s effects on men with mild erectile dysfunction. The researchers noted significant improvements in erectile function and satisfaction profile.
Another study involved premenopausal women. After taking 3.5 grams of Maca every day, the patients had reduced anxiety and depression. Their sexual dysfunction symptoms also improved.
Spice it Up with Chili Peppers
Previous research has linked the preference for spicy food with higher testosterone levels. According to the researchers, the males who gorged on hot sauce (a lot of it) saw an increase in their sex hormones. Their testosterone levels were higher than the men who ate less of the spicy stuff.
This appears to be an effect of capsaicin, the active component of chilli peppers. It’s the same compound that gives these peppers their heat. The body responds to this heat, which it thinks of as pain, by producing dopamine and endorphins.
Researchers also say that it helps improve blood flow and open up blood vessels. In people with erectile dysfunction, blood doesn’t flow that well into the penis. It may be in this way that chilli peppers can help improve sexual function.
One study did find a direct link between capsaicin and sex drive. Although done on rats, the researchers noted that capsaicin raised the rats’ sex drive.
Time to Try and See If These Instant Aphrodisiacs Work
There you have it, the truth about seafood being instant aphrodisiacs. Granted, fish and oysters may not give you skyrocketing libido levels right away. However, they may still help improve your overall sexual health in the long run.
These foods benefit your health anyway, and that should be enough reason to include them in your diet.
Ready for more life pro tips that can boost your sexual health and well-being? Don’t forget to bookmark our site then, so you can stay updated on our latest posts!