Aphrodisiacs in Food
10 Dishes That May (or may not) Put You In The Mood
Looking for some special ingredients to spice up your love life and increase your libido? We’ve compiled a list of 10 foods that will allegedly help you get it on. Call them old wives tales but there’s science to back up some of these claims. Of course there’s only one way to find out…
No. 1: Oysters
Ever since Casanova would devour 50 oysters for breakfast back in the 18th Century, scientists have thought that the high levels of zinc in oysters were what increased libido. However several years ago, British scientists discovered two rare amino acids that they say triggers increased levels of sex hormones. They said the two amino acids can only be found in raw oysters and are at their highest concentration during the spring breeding season.
No. 2: Chocolate
Eating chocolate is presumed to release dopamine into the pleasure center of the brain. Active compounds include anandamide and phenylethylamine (aka PEA or the “love chemical”), two elements that peak during orgasm. Cacao, the basic element of chocolate, also has tryptophan, which releases serotonin into the brain to give a sense of relaxation.
No. 3: Asparagus
If you ask 17th Century English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper, he’d tell you that asparagus “stirs up lust” in men and women. In fact, the French served grooms three courses of asparagus at their rehearsal dinners in the 19th Century. Chemically speaking, the vegetable has loads of folic acid, which boosts the histamine production that helps us reach orgasm.
No. 4 Almonds
For whatever reason, almonds have always been seen as a fertility symbol. The aroma is supposed to entice passion in females but scientists claim it’s the high doses of vitamin E, magnesium and even fiber that get them all giddy.
No. 5 Avocados
Funny story with our old friend the avocado: the Aztecs called the avocado tree ahuacuatl, or “testicle tree” because of the way the fruit hung from trees. The avocado was said to improve sexual desirability but once again, it’s folic acid that really triggers that desire. Fun fact: the Catholic priests of Spain allegedly forbade avocados back in the day because of their sexual resemblence.
No. 6: Figs
Cleopatra’s favorite food was highly regarded by the Greeks, who associated the fig with love and fertility. There’s little science to back this up but that hasn’t stopped people from trying their luck with the long-loved fruit.
No. 7: Bananas
We’ll go the high road on bananas and disregard its contour. Instead, we’ll focus on the potassium and vitamin B, which are said to be essential in its function of sex hormones. They also have chelating minerals and the bromeliad enzyme that’s predicted to enhance male libido.
No. 8: Basil
Italy’s favorite herb is said to produce a warming effect on the body and promote circulation. Sweet basil apparently also relieves headaches, cold symptoms, depressions, anxiety and fatigue. And its essential oil has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
No. 9: Garlic
Although it might seem counterproductive to your mission, garlic is indeed a sexual stimulator. Hebrew grooms would wear it at their wedding ceremony and Hindus hang garlic over their bed to inspire lust. With a bunch of allicin, an active ingredient that increases blood flow, garlic might help you on your mission to find love.
No. 10: Vanilla
In the 17th Century, doctors considered vanilla a male potency enhancer. This aphrodisiac didn’t make its way to the United States until the late 1700s when Thomas Jefferson brought some back from France. Jefferson was said to be enamored with its medicinal properties, among other things. The scent itself is supposed to lead to arousal—hence why it’s often used in perfumes—but ingesting it should also do the trick.