Aphrodisiacs — foods, herbs or
aromas said to enhance sex drive and
performance — have been around for
centuries. The term comes from the Greek
goddess of love, Aphrodite. The first
aphrodisiac that Greeks consumed were
parts of Aphrodite’s sacred totem animal,
sparrows, including their heart and brain.
Up until the 18th century, most aphrodisiac recipes
were created by Galen, a Roman physician. He
theorized that warm, moist food and heavily-peppered
fare would serve as good aphrodisiacs. During this
time, there was little distinction between lust and
sexual function. As a result, consuming aphrodisiacs
was long thought to cure impotence and infertility.
People consumed food shaped like thighs or
genitals, such as mandrake roots and oysters, in
order to increase their fertility. Malnutrition was
rampant, which affected fertility and the ability to
perform, so aphrodisiacs of the time were foods
with high nutritional value. By consuming these
nutritionally rich foods, amour returned.
Today, we know aphrodisiacs can’t cure infertility
or impotence. Users of modern aphrodisiacs instead
bank on the ability to increase lust or sexual desire.
Fruits of the Womb
Bananas possess an obvious shape, but it’s
an invisible ingredient that increases desire.
Bananas contain an enzyme called bromelain,
said to increase male performance. They also
contain high amounts of potassium and vitamin
B, necessary for sex hormone production.
Strawberries, known as fruit nipples, have long
been considered symbols of love: They’ve appeared
in art and poetry since 200 B.C. The enormous
amount of seeds, representative of fertility, is thought
to have inspired their identity as an aphrodisiac.
But appearance isn’t everything: Like bananas,
strawberries contain potassium, vitamin C, folic acid
and iron; all of which are said to boost libido.
To ease that full feeling after a romantic meal,
indulge in some digestion-aiding pineapple. It
will not only leave you feeling less bloated, but
this vitamin C rich fruit fights impotence.
Liquor, Chocolate and Carrots?
Of all aphrodisiacs past and present, alcohol has never
left the list. Most people are well aware of alcohol’s
relaxing effects, and this is exactly what makes it a
good aphrodisiac. However, a line from “Macbeth”
contains this appeal to moderation: “[Alcohol]
increases the desire, but takes away the performance.”
The Aztecs considered chocolate the “nourishment
of the Gods.” Luckily, today chocolate is available for
mortal consumption. The Aztec emperor, Montezuma,
is said to have drank 50 goblets of melted chocolate
a day in his quest to sleep with 600 women. Instead
of nutritional value, the chemicals in chocolate are
said to affect neurotransmitters in the brain. They
increase serotonin and phenylethyalanine levels,
which control your mood and cause you to fall in love.
Beyond improved vision, carrots may improve
male bedroom performance. Their phallic shape has
made them a staple since ancient times, and Early
Middle Eastern royalty would consume carrots to
aid in seduction. They’re high in vitamins and betacarotene,
which have a positive effect on sex hormones.
On top of foods that can be consumed alone,
there are ingredients that can be added to any
dish to spice up passion.
Garlic, mostly known for causing bad breath, is
believed to increase sexual desire, as well as blood
flow, which is beneficial in the treatement of
impotence in men. To avoid being the only one
covered in the clove’s perfume, it’s advisable that
both partners partake of it together.
The almond is a long-standing symbol of fertility,
and has been considered an aphrodisiac since
biblical times. If you’re looking to pique your lady’s
interest, have her eat some or find a scented candle.
The scent is what is believed to arouse women.
Like many aphrodisiacs, almonds are high in
vitamin E and considered the “sex vitamin.”
So, the next time you plan a romantic dinner for two,
try incorporating one or more of these foods in the mix.
You just might end your night in the bedroom.