Time and again we hear about how the food which we consume impacts our health in so many ways. Food and nutrition can influence our physical, mental, and sexual health profoundly. With all the tasty temptations we encounter daily, it can become easy to forget what we intrinsically know about eating in a healthy manner. One way to ease into a healthier eating pattern may be to adopt a 20/80 attitude towards healthy eating. Making conscious choices around food 80% of the time, and leaving 20% for those indulgences which feel good to you might create a healthier lifestyle. Some foods have added benefits for sexual health; so if you want to improve your sex life, give these simple snacks a go.

1. Oats

Oats are packed with many beneficial nutrients, including protein, fibre, thiamine (vitamin B1) and magnesium. These support digestion, blood sugar levels and the immune system. Additionally, oats contain L-arganine, an amino acid which assists in relaxing blood vessel, including those around the genitals. Sufficient blood flow around the genitals can be important for sexual functioning, as blood pumping into the genitals is part of what creates erections, vaginal swelling and lubrication – all of which are signs of sexual arousal. Oats are easy to include in your diet as one cup a day may make a difference – and a cup of oats topped with some fruit, nuts and yogurt may be a delicious breakfast.

2. Strawberries

Strawberries contain a variety of nourishing substances such as folate (vitamin B12) and vitamin C. These nutrients assist with optimising brain function and supporting cardiovascular health. Strawberries also contain a trace mineral called manganese, which contributes largely to the creation of sex hormones in the body. This means that both oestrogen and testosterone may be increased as a result of eating strawberries – both of which are vital for sexual desire, arousal and function. Adding strawberries to your diet may be as simple as buying them, washing and eating straight from the punnet. Alternatively, strawberries can be delicious when added to a healthy breakfast smoothie, or chopped and tossed into a salad.

3. Almonds

Almonds are rich in nutrition and simply accessible to eat in a variety of ways. Almonds have large amounts of both riboflavin (vitamin B2) and phosphorus, which may assist with metabolism and building strong bones and teeth. Almonds also contain zinc, which appears to increase testosterone, which is a vital hormone for male sexual health, and one also known to be important for female sexual desire. Eating a handful of raw almonds can be a tasty snack at anytime during the day, or can be crushed and added to some yogurt with honey as a dessert.

4. Avocado

Avocado may be one of the most densely packed nutritional foods we have readily available (in abundance!) Avos include nutrients like vitamin B6 and potassium, which are good for producing feel good hormones such as serotonin, and for increasing energy. Importantly, avos also contain vitamin E, which thins the blood, making it easier for the blood to flow through the body. Healthy blood flow is important for optimising sexual function as it improves the ability for genitals to become engorged, stimulating feelings of arousal and desire for sexual activity. Mixing them with tomato for a tasty salad, or mushing them up with some lemon as a delicious dip can easily incorporate avocado to daily meals.

5. Dark Chocolate

Fortuitously, dark chocolate has reams of health benefits, especially if when it is organic or raw in the form of cacao. Dark chocolate contains resveratrol and flavonoids which can help to control inflammation and increase antioxidants in the body, which promotes healthy cells. Finally, dark chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, which is a natural chemical that helps to release dopamine; a brain chemical that contributes largely to feelings of pleasure, infatuation and romantic love. No suggestions are necessary for how to incorporate dark chocolate into a healthy eating regime, though it is important to eat it in moderation.

Food can be a simple and fun way to optimise sexual health, sexual functioning, while increasing sexual desire and arousal. The foods such as strawberries and chocolate may be an exciting addition to ones sexual repertoire, while adding an element of exploration and sensory pleasure. Eating in a healthy way can also contribute to feeling good about oneself, increasing confidence and self-esteem, which is known to be more attractive for others and heightens a sense of wellbeing. Experiment with a different way of eating and it may impact various aspects of your life.