A Grocery List for Sexual Health
This Valentine’s Day, take time to hone in on pleasure—acknowledging the importance of your sexual energy in the process. As Sakara founder and co-CEO Danielle Duboise says, “Sexual energy is one of the facets of feeling like your most vital self.” And the path to this vitality? Well, it starts on your plate.
We tapped Sakara founders and co-CEOs, Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle, for the rundown on food as foreplay. Gather these ingredients to help rekindle your mind-body connection, fire up your sex drive, and boost circulation in all the right places.
Adrenal-Soothing Adaptogens: Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Cordyceps
Get out of your head and into your body. Adaptogens—which promote internal balance when your body faces mental, physical, or environmental stressors—enhance natural dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA. DHEA then gives your body the green light to produce estrogen and testosterone (a.k.a., its most essential sex hormones) to enable your mood, body, and the moment to better align.
Meanwhile, each member of this adrenal-soothing threesome also brings their own erotic super power to the table. Ashwagandha amps up sexual stamina (ICYMI: it was once experimented with as a Viagra alternative); cordyceps livens up libido by increasing ATP and oxygen to the cells; and shatarvi (which can be roughly translated as “having one hundred husbands” from Sanskrit) is a sexually-stimulating super herb that women have turned to for centuries. Lucky for you and your libido, our sensual aphrodisiac shake features all three.
Nitric Oxide-Producing Foods: Arugula, Watermelon, Beets
“Diet and lifestyle play huge roles in long-term sexual health,” says Danielle. “And then, there are fun, quick ways to feel something right away—like boosting your intake of nitric oxide.”
Nitric oxide, known as the “miracle molecule,” relaxes the blood vessels and allows blood to travel freely—promoting a healthy circulatory system, lubricated body tissues, and more at-the-ready male erections. It also moves energy, Qi, and heat toward your sacral organs, further priming all bodies for pleasure.
So, let the produce section seduce you: grab spicy arugula, juicy watermelon, antioxidant-rich beets, and crunchy celery—all touted for their nitric oxide-producing powers.
Hormone-Supporting Healthy Fats: Nuts, Seeds, High-Quality Oils
Healthy fats—like walnuts, pumpkin seeds, avocado, EVOO, and nutrient-dense oils—not only internally hydrate and boost brain power, but also help enhance the natural production of hormones needed for sexual function (like DHEA). Certain fats, like the ones in plant-based omega-3 fatty acid sources, also support hormone stabilization and tame inflammation.
(A note on oils: Oils lose their precious nutrient-density the more they are refined and exposed to light, air, and heat—which is why Sakara uses only organic, high-quality, cold-pressed oils that protect the integrity of the fat.) When shopping for oils on your own, opt for dark glass bottles and labels like “cold-pressed,” “unrefined,” and “virgin.” Your hormones (and skin and brain) will thank you.
Circulation-Enhancers: Raw Cacao, Damiana
If you’re looking for another reason to make these libido-boosting brownies—complete with a cinnamon caramel drip our team’s unofficially dubbed “sex drizzle”—look no further. Raw cacao, the foundation of our Metabolism Super Powder, not only supports the aforementioned nitric oxide, but also offers high concentrations of the “love hormone” phenylethylamine, or PEA—a neurotransmitter associated with passionate love—and contains serotonin-producing (happiness-inducing!) tryptophan and magnesium.
“It’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat,” Danielle says, noting a personal ritual of randomly rendezvous-ing with her husband at their home fridge over a square of chocolate (and a little flirty eye contact). As sensuality expert Hani Avital taught her, they eat it slowly, reveling in the moment. “Anything can ignite sexual pleasure.”
Damiana—the superfood star of our limited-edition Make It Hot Pepper Sauce (dropping with Signature Nutrition Programs the week of Valentine’s Day)—is an aphrodisiac dating back to the Aztecs and ancient Mayans. By increasing circulation and sensitivity to reproductive organs, this seductive, time-honored herb enhances sex drive and satisfaction.
Get saucy with it—spicing up your (and your partner’s) meals. (Whitney plans on using this sexy sauce to add heat to every bite of the new Winter Cobb Salad—loaded with herb-roasted shiitakes, coconut "bacon," and pickled onions—while Danielle dreams of a few drops on a juicy slice of watermelon, or, say, this mineral-rich watermelon margarita).
Libido-Lifters: Maca Root, Fenugreek
Ignite sexual prowess, in and out of the bedroom, with energizing maca—known for turning up the notches on desire, promoting healthy ovulation, and aiding with sexual dysfunction and stamina. This potent herb is made even more fascinating in that it doesn’t exert its influence on the sex hormones themselves, but rather impacts the way our psyche connects to all things sex.
Fenugreek—an herb native to the Mediterranean, western Asia, and southern Europe—can help you fuel and sustain your fire in the longer-term, too. You may have heard about it for its ability to enhance breast milk production in lactating women, but fenugreek is also linked to increased male orgasm rates and increased sexual desire and arousal for all bodies. Mix the golden-brown seed into any dish to make it instantly more lust-worthy (we love adding ours to tabbouleh).
Magnesium-Rich Foods: Quinoa, Spinach, Potato
You can also keep things hot and heavy with a rather humble haul of quinoa, rolled oats, chard, spinach, edamame, and potatoes. Magnesium—an important micronutrient starring across these foods—makes it difficult for testosterone to latch onto proteins in the body. As a result, this unbound testosterone is distributed into the blood, and voila! Your sex drive is kicked into high gear.
Let the foods you eat this Valentine’s Day and beyond remind you that you are all the things—beautiful, creative, divine, free. After all, “Feeling good in your body is the biggest turn on,” says Whitney.