Ah…Mighty Aphrodite, goddess of love and lust, said to drive suitors mad with desire. For centuries scientists have searched for the magic potion capable of unleashing the full force of human fertility, sexual potency, and sexual desire. Flash forward to modern times where specialized fields of medicine treat both impotence and infertility and the term aphrodisiac refers to agents (foods, drinks, supplements, etc.) that specifically enhance male or female sexual desire and arousal.
So what exactly are aphrodisiacs and do they really boost libido? (For the purposes of this conversation, we’ll stick with foods and beverages, although numerous nutritional supplements claim aphrodisiac powers). Let’s start by considering aphrodisiacs to be foods that “excite the senses”…smell, texture, taste, appearance, and even temperature can all affect the sensual quality of edibles. Add in some soft music, warm lighting, and a partner you’re actually fond of and you have the making of a great aphrodisiac. Honey? Sensual! Warm honey? Downright erotic!! Your lover dipping a finger into warm honey and feeding it to you while soft sexy jazz plays quietly in the background and the glow of candlelight flickers across his smiling face? KABOOM!!!
The point, of course, is that preparing and sharing food with your partner can be, in and of itself, a highly sensual and even erotic experience. But is there actually any science to the science of aphrodisiacs? Nutritional research over the past few decades suggests that there really is a scientific basis for many of the foods thought to enhance libido. Here’s a look at the top contenders for a place at Aphrodite’s table:
ALMONDS Historically symbols of fertility and female passion, scientists now believe that high concentrations of vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber may explain the aphrodisiac effect.
ASPARAGUS In 19th century France, bridegrooms were served 3 asparagus courses at their prenuptial dinner! Scientifically, the high level of vitamin E in asparagus is thought to stimulate secretion of sex hormones. Asparagus is also a great source or folic acid which boosts histamine production necessary for ability to reach orgasm.
AVOCADO A perfect example of a food that delights the senses, avocados have a sensuous texture and a rich, buttery taste. Scientists say avocados are also loaded with folic acid to boost orgasm and vitamin B6 and potassium to facilitate sex hormone production.
BANANA Okay…there’s the shape: visuals can be very erotic! But bananas are also rich in potassium and B vitamins, necessary for sex hormone production. Bananas also contain chelating minerals and the bromeliad enzyme, both thought to enhance male libido.
CHILES Hot chiles are rich in capsaicin, which stimulates nerve endings to secrete chemicals that increase pulse rate and trigger production of endorphins, the “feel good chemical”.
CHOCOLATE Chocolate contains several chemicals proven to impact neurotransmitters in the brain’s pleasure center. Among these are: Anandamide, a psychoactive feel good chemical. Phenylethylamine (PEA), a “love chemical” that releases dopamine to the brain’s pleasure center, and increases sex drive. Theobromine, a caffeine-like substance that acts as a general stimulant.
FIGS Long associated with eroticism (Adam and Eve covered up with fig leaves!), an open fig is thought to visually represent the female genitalia. Regardless of their nutritional content, figs are thought to be visually arousing.
GINGER Raw, cooked, or crystallized, ginger is a stimulant to the circulatory system which increases blood flow to the sex organs for enhanced arousal.
HONEY Smell, taste, and texture alone would be enough to qualify honey as an aphrodisiac! Scientifically, honey is also rich in boron, a trace mineral required to metabolize estrogen and enhance testosterone levels, and B vitamins, also required for testosterone production.
OYSTERS Documented as an aphrodisiac as far back as the 2nd century AD, oysters contain high concentrations of zinc, which helps to increase testosterone and sperm production and enhance both male and female libido. Not to mention their uncanny resemblance to female genitalia!
PINE NUTS Zinc is again the ingredient thought to explain the libido stimulating power of pine nuts.
RASPBERRIES AND STRAWBERRIES Long associated with eroticism, these berries historically symbolize female nipples. Hand feed them to your lover and your won’t care about the science behind their erotic power!
WINE AND CHAMPAGNE A glass or two of wine or champagne can relax the mind and body, decrease inhibitions and help to stimulate the sense. Remember, in larger quantities alcohol is actually a depressant and can interfere with sexual responsiveness!
Written by Jackie Smith for Askinyourface.com