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Libido: the word is simply defined as “sexual drive.” This instinctual energy is derived from our own biological urges, a drive that we know as an essential aspect of maintaining romantic relationships.

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and many are planning a night full of love and passion. Put simply, the healthier you are and the more solid you are in your nutritional foundation, the better your sex life can be. With the right lifestyle and dietary choices, you can increase your libido and maintain a healthy sex life.

As cited by Livestrong, according to Gerald Weeks, director of the Department of Marriage and Family therapy at the University of Las Vegas in Nevada, about 25 percent of all Americans, by one estimate, or a third of women and a fifth of men, suffer from low libido or hyperactive sexual desire (HSD). Several products claim to help increase libido with a pill. Naturally, however, there are several plants that provide the same effect. Here are five plant-based libido-boosting foods:

1. Chia seeds

Just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, 2282 mg of Omega-3, and 752 mg of Omega-6 fatty acids. Author and vegan chef, Christina Pirello, wrote in a blog post for The Huffington Post that, “In terms of nutrition, a mere tablespoon of these tiny, ancient seeds are like making a smoothie made from salmon, spinach and human growth hormone. Packed with omega 3’s and 6’s, protein, calcium, iron, zinc (again!), fiber and antioxidants, chia seeds will give you stamina to burn, improve circulation and increase your body’s ability to feel stimulation.”

2. Nuts 

Nuts like walnuts, peanut, and cashews are high in the amino acid arginine, which boosts circulation to the genital area. They’re also a great source of healthy fats, the omega-3 fatty acids that are necessary for good heart and brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to enhance overall moods, reduce irritability, and aide in hormone balance.

3. Pumpkin seeds 

Pumpkin seeds are excellent for snacking and contain several nutrients that help boost libido.  They contain high amounts of zinc, which can help prevent testosterone deficiency in men. They contain the B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, D, E, and K. They also contain calcium, potassium, niacin, and phosphorous, which are all minerals that help sex drive.

4. Artichokes

Ancient Romans believed that eating artichokes would result in everlasting life and also act as an aphrodisiac. Artichokes contain pantothenic acid, which can result in better sex. Christina Pirello wrote, “Regulating bile production, artichokes tonify the liver, which governs nervous system response, so eating artichokes increases our response to stimulus. And increased response to stimulus means better sex.”

5. Maca

This South American herb, also known as Peruvian Ginseng, can help increase sex drive in both men and women.  In 2001, the Asian Journal of Andrology published a study indicating that maca improved seminal volume, sperm motility, and sperm count in men. Also, a 2008 study published in the medical journal Menopause showed that maca improved sexual dysfunction in post-menopausal women.

Including the above foods in your regular diet is a good way to help increase libido. Here’s to eating healthy — and a whole lotta love!

Image source: Courtney Carmody / Flickr

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