Aphrodisiac is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as an agent, such as food or drug, which arouses or is held to arouse sexual desire when consumed. The term aphrodisiac was derived from the Greek goddess of love and beauty, known as Aphrodite. It is no surprise it would appear that a lot of the aphrodisiacs stemmed from that era. Throughout the ages, certain foods have been rumored to have aphrodisiac effect on its consumers. The use of foods as aphrodisiacs has been documented to have existed in the times of the Mayans, Chinese dynasties and medieval eras.
Most of these foods are ascribed this property mostly based on their shape or looks. Veggies and fruits like carrots, asparagus, banana, figs and artichokes all bear some resemblance to genitalia. Also, these foods mostly contain high levels of the micro nutrients like zinc, selenium, iodine, etc which are essential for the production of sperms,promote better fertility, & libido in both male & female. These micro nutrients also promote healthier sex/reproductive organs & sex.
There are numerous foods that are purported to have aphrodisiac effect but this article will focus on a few, which includes the ‘almighty’ dark chocolate, tigernut, ginseng, clove, banana, pomegranate and oysters.
Chocolate is derived from the beans of a cacao tree. The Aztecs referred to it as the food for the Gods. Due to the infiltration and colonization of the south Americas by the Europeans led to the introduction of cocoa to Europe. It was reserved for the rich and affluent in those days. Modern day foodies know raw cacao in its pure unadulterated form as a super food. It has more antioxidants than green tea, coffee or red wine. It also contains a stimulating chemical known as phenylethlamine, which stimulates the sense of excitement and well-being. The Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study that found, women who enjoyed a piece of chocolate every day had a more active sex life than those who didn’t.
Their appearance isn’t just suggestive. They are 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.
Red wine does not only get you in the mood, the resveratrol in red wine is a powerful antioxidant which helps decrease inflammation and literally gets your blood pumping.
Similarly to chocolate, coffee’s caffeine increases stamina and can elevate mood. Also, coffee increases dopamine levels in the brain, the stuff that increases desire and pleasure.
Asparagus is also a good source of Vitamin E, which is involved in stimulating the production of sex hormones. They also have high levels of potassium which is linked to sex hormone production.
While the legend says that strawberries originated from the heart shaped tears of Aphrodite after she learned of her lover, Adonis’s death. They are loaded with vitamin C, which is important for the production of sex hormones and chemical neurotransmitters in the brain to increase libido. Plus, vitamin C can help keep your immune system up.
Salmons are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is important not only for heart health but also helps your libido, by supplying the building blocks (eicosanoids and amino acids) for production of estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.
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… hahaha.
Watermelons contain citrulline, which relaxes the blood vessels in much the same way as Viagra does. Plus it a good dessert option to keep you alert all evening.
Also known as the love apple, here is another suggestive fruit that packs a punch. It is high in antioxidants, thus boosts blood flow, which in turn increases genital sensitivity.
Bananas contain bromelain enzyme believed to increase sex drive particularly for men. It has high levels of potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin B2 which are needed to keep your energy levels up while you bone.
The Aztec word for avocado is “ahuacatl,” which means “testicle.” But besides the sex thetic appeal, avocados also contain high levels of folic acid, vitamin B9 (provides the body with more energy) and vitamin B6. Avocado both fertility level for both men and women. It also keeps the sex organs healthier particularly for women. Women have more to gain from this fruit than men, & should be included in the general diet of a woman aside for sexual benefits.
It is an aphrodisiac because it actually looks like the human body. The word ginseng even means “man root.” According to WebMD, studies have reported sexual response in animals who have been given ginseng, but there is no evidence to date of ginseng having any effect on humans.
Cloves are a powerful stimulant, and have been used either ingested or as an oil as an aphrodisiac. It helps to increase sex drive. Promote healthier reproductive system. Combined with cinnamon, the effects are even stronger. Clove naturally heats up the body, stimulates the sexual organs and increasing your sexual drive and sexual energy. It helps improve blood circulation in the genitals. Drink a cup or two of tea made from clove every day until symptoms improve. You may also avail it in encapsulated form. Application of clove oil to the penis also helps.
Okra or okro, depending on your geographical location, is another reputed vegetable of love. Rich in Magnesium, it is a natural relaxant. It is also rich in folate, iron, zinc and vitamin B which keeps your sex organs healthy and happy.
Article written by Sydney Nee Kwaatei Phixon-Owoo; Food scientist & nutritionist, university of Ghana.
Edited by Sophia Jerome.