Monday 11 December 2017

Aphrodisiacs: 10 best foods to get you in the mood

Pomegranate - Known as the love apple, here’s another suggestive fruit that packs a punch. It’s high in anti-oxidants, so boosts blood flow, in turn increasing genital sensitivity.
Pomegranate - Known as the love apple, here’s another suggestive fruit that packs a punch. It’s high in anti-oxidants, so boosts blood flow, in turn increasing genital sensitivity.

Siobhan Norton

Is there any truth in the libido-boosting claims, or are all the theories as limp as a lettuce leaf?

For many people, two things dominate the mind, so it’s no wonder they go hand in hand. Food and sex are closely linked - romantic meals, sweet treats, and let’s not forget that scene from Nine and a Half Weeks. In fact, we’ve been firm believers in aphrodisiacs for about as long as we’ve been preparing food. But is there any truth in the libido-boosting claims, or are all the theories as limp as a lettuce leaf?

Aphrodisiacs are named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and it would appear that a lot of our common aphrodisiacs and associations of love stem from that time. Aphrodite herself was often imagined emerging from a clamshell, and still today seafood and oysters are recognised as aphrodisiacs.

Other foods have perhaps gained a reputation from their appearance - carrots, asparagus, figs and artichokes all bear some resemblance to genitalia. You might consider this a bit infantile in our sophisticated times, but it isn’t difficult to turn our caveman brain to matters of love, especially with a bit of visual prompting - Channel 4’s Cucumber is, ahem, ripe with suggestive foodie imagery.

Other, more obscure - and bonkers - aphrodisiacs have waned in popularity over the years. Spanish fly, cobra blood, Japanese blowfish and baboon urine have all been ingested in the hopes of a good time around the world. So, sadly, has rhino horn, pushing the animal to the brink of extinction. Not to be outdone on weird and wonderful miracle cures, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.com recommends ‘sex bark’, an innocent enough looking chocolate recipe until you hit your local Sainsbury’s in search of the ingredients - including ho shou wo (a Chinese herb) and something called Sex Dust.

But what of the old favourites, including our old friend chocolate? Here are a few of the more common aphrodisiacs.

1. Chocolate

In itself a sensuous food, plus it contains the chemicals anandamide and phenylethylamine, which boost serotonin levels - the feel-good hormone. However, there is debate over how much of the chemicals our brain actually absorbs, and gorging ourselves on a family-sized Dairy Milk to make up the difference could actually be a passion-killer. However, a strawberry or two dipped in dark chocolate couldn’t hurt.

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BRISTOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: In this photograph illustration a woman eats a chunk of chocolate from a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate on January 19, 2010 in Bristol, England. The US food giant Kraft has today agreed a takeover of Dairy Milk maker Cadbury in a deal worth 11 billion GBP, however many Cadbury workers remained concerned over the longterm future of their jobs. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

2. Oysters

Their appearance isn’t just suggestive, it’s slap you in the face schoolboy innuendo. They are also high in zinc, which can boost semen production and regulate sexual hormones, but experts believe it’s that intimate way of eating - or slurping - the oysters that actually get us going.

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Oysters

3. Asparagus

Stop sniggering at the back, yes, they are a funny shape. Asparagus is also a good source of Vitamin E, which is involved in stimulating the production of sex hormones. But realistically, a couple of stalks with your starter on the night in question won’t make a huge difference.

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Asparagus Stop sniggering at the back, yes, they are a funny shape. Asparagus is also a good source of Vitamin E, which is involved in stimulating the production of sex hormones. But realistically, a couple of stalks with your starter on the night in question won’t make a huge difference.

4. Chillies

Spicy food warms you up, gets your heart pumping, stimulates nerve endings and increases the blood flow, so there might be some truth to this one. Just make sure you wash your hands after...

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Chillies Spicy food warms you up, gets your heart pumping, stimulates nerve endings and increases the blood flow, so there might be some truth to this one. Just make sure you wash your hands after...)

5. Watermelon

This contains citrulline, which relaxes the blood vessels in much the same way as Viagra does. Plus it’s a less stodgy dessert option to keep you alert all evening.

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CHENNAI, INDIA - MARCH 20: Watermelons on a cart are seen at Marina Beach on March 20, 2010 in Chennai, India. The beach which stretches for approximately 12km is listed as one of the longest beaches in the world. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

And here are five you might not have heard of…

6. Maca

This sweet root vegetables has been nicknamed Peruvian Viagra, and animal studies have indicated some aphrodisiac qualities, although this hasn’t been extensively tested on humans. It is also thought to increase stamina and heighten awareness.

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Maca Powder (Flour)

7. Celery

It’s not the sexiest of foods, but it contains phyto-androgens, which is similar to testosterone and can increase sexual desire in women.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09: Award winning celery is displayed at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Harvest Festival Show on October 9, 2013 in London, England. The nation's enthusiasts are showcasing their finest home grown fruit and vegetables for two days at the RHS Horticultural Hall. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

8. Pomegranate

Known as the love apple, here’s another suggestive fruit that packs a punch. It’s high in anti-oxidants, so boosts blood flow, in turn increasing genital sensitivity.

aphrodisiac2.jpg
Pomegranate - Known as the love apple, here’s another suggestive fruit that packs a punch. It’s high in anti-oxidants, so boosts blood flow, in turn increasing genital sensitivity.

9. Banana

It’s all about the potassium. While the phallic shape may immediately fuel passions, the potassium delivers muscle strength, so in theory intensifies orgasms.

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Banana - It’s all about the potassium. While the phallic shape may immediately fuel passions, the potassium delivers muscle strength, so in theory intensifies orgasms.

10. Rocket

The Romans discovered the aphrodisiac qualities of rocket, and it was used in love potions. It is a great digestive aid and packed with nutrients, which might leave you feeling great, but it is yet to be proved that it will give you gladiatorial qualities in the bedroom...

aphrodisiac9.jpg
Rocket - The Romans discovered the aphrodisiac qualities of rocket, and it was used in love potions. It is a great digestive aid and packed with nutrients, which might leave you feeling great, but it is yet to be proved that it will give you gladiatorial qualities in the bedroom...

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