Aphrodisiacs are named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Many foods are associated with love and fertility, having been held sacred since ancient times. There’s also hard scientific evidence to suggest that some foods can actually put you in the mood for love.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, now may be the perfect time to take a look at the top 10 libido-boosting foods to slip into your Valentine’s dinner. Whether you’re rustling up a seductive meal in your kitchen at home or are eating out, bear these top 10 foods in mind.
1 – Oysters
The classic aphrodisiac, oysters are packed with zinc, a mineral that is known to boost sperm production and increase sexual desire. However, experts believe that it’s also the intimate way in which oysters have to be ‘slurped’ that gets us in the right mood. Why not start your Valentine’s dinner with half a dozen oysters and a glass of chilled champagne?
2 – Chocolate
Pure chocolate is the king of natural aphrodisiacs. It contains anandamide and PEA (phenylethylamine), feel-good and love chemicals that induce feelings of attraction and happiness. Cacao also contains tryptophan, which boosts serotonin levels to promote a sense of relaxation and well-being. Chocolate fondue, anyone?
3 – Almonds
Almonds were regarded as fertility symbols throughout antiquity. The aroma of almonds supposedly arouses passion in women, at least according to ancient poets and scribes. According to science, almonds provide high doses of vitamin E, magnesium and fibre. Nitric oxide helps to increase blood flow, boost energy levels and increase nerve cell responses.
4 – Asparagus
The English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper wrote in the 14th century that asparagus ‘stirs up lust in man and woman.’ Apparently, French bridegrooms in the 19th century were served asparagus at their prenuptial dinners, so there’s a tip you may like to follow. Asparagus is a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially folic acid which improves the male and female libido.
5 – Honey
Honey is an excellent source of boron, which helps the body metabolise and use estrogen, the female sex hormone. Along with high levels of vitamin B, it is also said to enhance testosterone, the hormone responsible for boosting the sex drive in men and women. Using organic raw honey should yield the best results.
6 – Bananas
Quite apart from their phallic shape, bananas are rich in potassium, a nutrient that’s key to muscle strength. They’re also loaded with magnesium and B vitamins and contain chelating minerals and enzymes to enhance the male libido. A dessert of Baked Banana with Honey & Cinnamon may be just the ticket to romance.
7 – Avocados
Avocados are packed with folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E and potassium. These help the body’s production of the sex hormones testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, which circulate in the bloodstream and stimulate sexual responses. Did you know that the Aztec name for the avocado, ahuacuatl, means ‘testicle tree’?!
8 – Watermelon
Watermelon contains a phytonutrient called citrulline, which causes blood vessels to relax and circulation to speed up in much the same way as Viagra. As a consequence, you will get more aroused in less time. Watermelons are also a great source of antioxidants which will help to improve your overall well-being. Perhaps try a Watermelon Martini to get the evening started?
9 – Pomegranates
Also known as the love apple, this exotic fruit was regarded by the Ancient Greeks as a culinary symbol of Aphrodite. It is high in antioxidants which boost blood flow and the sensitivity of our sexual organs. In the longer term, high levels of antioxidants are excellent protection against cancer and heart disease, which is always a good thing.
10 – Chillies
A pinch of chilli pepper in your food can raise the body temperature and get the heart pumping, increase the blood flow and stimulate nerve endings – getting you in the mood for love. It also helps to plump up the lips and to release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in our body.