Many foods have been associated with love and libido due to popular culture and old traditions. It could be due to their shape, aroma, taste and texture. They are not enchanted love potions but are said to put you in the mood for love. While not always proven scientifically to increase libido, here are 10 common, hard to find and even unheard of foods that may just ignite your passion.
Any alcohol-consuming couple know the effects of a few drinks on sexual behaviour. One of the side effect of this depressant is the reduced inhibitions that relax both partners and encourage romantic desires.
Alcohol is considered an aphrodisiac for women. Medically, alcohol increases sexual arousal and desire in many women due to increased levels of testosterone and libido. Some women also believe psychologically that they are more sexually aroused after a few drinks. Maybe that's why advertisements of bubbly feature women like Moët & Chandon with Scarlett Johansson and packaging are female-friendly. For more information on champagne, check out Moët and Veuve Clicquot.
Unfortunately for the guys, the effects are reversed with decreased sexual arousal. So remember to keep that bottle of champagne on ice closer to the lady.
Eggs are considered a fertility symbol by many ancient civilisations and none comes more expensive that the caviar. Henry Kissinger proclaimed, "I'd do anything for caviar and probably did" for the tiny salty-sweet pearls that are considered the most extravagant aphrodisiac in the world. Casanova was also known to indulge in the sexy act of dipping into a bowl of caviar and enjoying the tactile sensation of the black pearls bursting against the tongue. Caviar's reputation as an aphrodisiac may also be related to the myth of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, who was born from the foam of the sea.
Research shows that caviar is actually a source of lean protein, zinc and amino acid l-arginine which provides sustained energy and increased blood flow to support sustained passion. Catherine the Great of Russia proclaimed, "Bring me some caviar, and tonight at supper, send me the best built of my officers" when urged to provide an heir to the throne.
While caviar is recommended to be consumed at room temperature using a wooden or shell spoon, perhaps lovers will find this sensual seafood best enjoyed from the partner's skin and washed down with ice cold champagne. For more information on purchasing, storing and consuming caviar, check out www.caviarstar.com.
Sticky, viscous and deliciously sweet, honey is one of the most seductive foods in the world. Created from the nectar of flowers, this nectar of Aphrodite has enjoyed an aged association with the Greek Goddess of love, beauty and sexual ripeness. Honey is also an aphrodisiac in the Indian civilisation. Spiced with nutmeg, it heightens an orgasm according to the Kama Sutra. Research shows that honey is rich in amino acids and vitamin B, and as a form of sugar, it provides sustained high energy helpful for a night of passion.
The homemade honey from the beehives on the rooftop of Intercontinental Hotel in Melbourne may just be keeping their guests in 'amour' while craft markets like Red Hill Community Market offer a wide assortment of honey from local aviaries. Honeymoon couples may want to fill up that honey pot.
Nuts have been considered aphrodisiacs since the ancient days. Walnuts and pine nuts were consumed as fertility boosters for over 2,000 years across the Mediterranean. The most referenced is the gingko nut, grown in China, Korea and Japan for some 1,500 years. It is a powerful antioxidant and has been clinically proven to enhance blood circulation and increased levels of libido particularly in men. This is the reason why gingko nuts remain widely used in Chinese herbal medicine to stimulate erotic desires.
As early as 1500 years ago in South America, Emperor Montezuma was said to consume 50 goblets of chocolate a day to fuel his sexual activities with some 600 wives.
The aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate can be attribute to 2 chemicals - tryptophan, which contributes to sexual arousal in the brain, and phenylethylamine, a stimulant released in the brain when people fall in love. While the aphrodisiac qualities may be largely psychological, receiving and consuming chocolate makes most people feel good and induces feelings of being in love.
Makes me wonder if Belgium should be the land of love with so many famous brands like Côte d'Or, Guylian, Neuhaus, Leonidas, Corné and Galler. Chocolate lovers may wish to check out www.visitbelgium.com for all the cocoa related happenings in Belgium or take a romantic trip to Brussels or Antwerp. I was also told that melted chocolate make delicious body paint.
Casanova, the 18th century lover, already understood the potency of oysters when he breakfasted on 50 of them daily. Although few studies have been conducted on the aphrodisiac properties of oysters, the fact that they are packed full of zinc lends a certain credibility. Zinc controls progesterone levels, which have a positive effect on the libido of women. Oysters also have 2 rare amino acids, D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, which increases the sex hormones in males. Perhaps these reasons explain the continuous demand for freshly shucked oysters at the Sydney Fish Market and the 'O-Bar' at the Grand Central Terminal in New York.
Strawberries gained their reputation as an aphrodisiac since the times of ancient Rome as a symbol of Venus. The large number of tiny seeds symbolised fertility and newlyweds in the French countryside were traditionally served cold strawberry soup prior to their honeymoon. Strawberries have high concentrations of vitamin C as well as potassium and folic acid, which are essential vitamins and minerals needed to supply energy for keeping the fires of passion burning. Triple the aphrodisiac potency by dipping your strawberries in chocolate and finishing them off with champagne. Time to get my hands on some giant Western Australian strawberries.
An old proverb explained that "Those who wish to live virtuous lives should abstain from truffles". They are one of world's most expensive aphrodisiac due to their rarity. Documented since the days of ancient Greece and Rome, this fungi's musky scent replicates the scent of the male pheromone androstenone. Female pigs are drawn to that scent making them natural truffle hunters and providing one of the basis for the truffles' aphrodisiac reputation. In addition, the black and white fungi is high in protein and amino acids which may be a contributing reason to Napoleon's consumption of truffles to increase his masculine potency.
Black truffles risotto / Photo by Sirsnapsalot of Flickr
Europe's great gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin also promoted the fungi in his quote - "Truffle. As soon as the word is spoken, it awakens lustful and erotic memories among the skirt-wearing sex and erotic and lustful memories among the beard-wearing sex. This honorable parallelism comes not only from the fact that this esteemed tuber is delicious, but also because it is still believed to bring about potency, the exercise of which brings sweet pleasure." For more information on truffles, check out Italy's Acqualagna and New Zealand Truffle Association.
Few would have guessed this alligator leather-looking fruit could be an aphrodisiac. This forbidden fruit of the ancient Aztecs is so potent that virginal women stay indoors when the fruit is being gathered. In fact the translation of the avocado tree from the Aztec language is 'testicle tree'.
Indonesians consume loads of avocado in the form of a popular smoothie or shake called 'Jus Alpukat'. Perhaps its a contributing reason to their 18.1 births per 1,000 population.
With modern science, we now know why the avocado was regarded as an aphrodisiac. It's folic acid, potassium, vitamin E and B6 help increase energy and stamina levels. It can also help you meet the American Heart Association (AHA) Dietary Guidelines. For more nutrition information, check out www.californiaavocado.com/nutrition. Plus they're great for sensual facials when mashed. So don't judge a fruit by its cover.
Historically, chili peppers were used by multiple cultures as an aphrodisiac due to their colour and the body's physical reaction upon eating them. Their deep red colour is often associated with love and passion and the spicy heat of the fruit is thought to stimulate sexual arousal. Research has shown that chili peppers contain concentrated quantities of the chemical capsaicin. When consumed, it stimulates the release of endorphins and mimics physical reactions experienced during sexual intercourse such as the feeling of a natural high, increased heart rate, induced sweating and increased sensitivity of nerve endings. Perhaps these reasons are why chili was used a key ingredient in the fortifying chocolate drink the great ruler Montezuma consumed for his daily visit to his concubines. Time to sup on some sambal mangrove snail in Kuala Lumpur and chili crab in Singapore.