What’s the hot and spicy truth behind aphrodisiacs? With Valentine’s Day upon us, we’re getting ready the only way we know how — eating! Food is a bonding experience and it can get absolutely sexy. In fact, cultures across the world have come to associate certain foods and ingredients with special benefits, calling them aphrodisiacs. Let’s dig into it!
What is an aphrodisiac?
Named after the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, aphrodisiacs are food/ingredients that supposedly induce desire and increase performance. In particular, foods that are rich, smooth, spicy, and creamy tend to fall under this categorization.
According to Martha Hopkins, the co-author of the book Intercourses, every food has been considered an aphrodisiac at one time.
Generally, there are three areas in which aphrodisiacs affect humans:
Even though aphrodisiacs have different effects, they all share the common goal of making your nights (or mornings 😉) more hot and heavy.
Do aphrodisiacs work?
For those who have problems with their circulation, certain foods can indeed help in a way similar to Viagra medication! Vitamins like L-arginine and foods high in omega 3 fatty acids are proven to also improve blood flow.
While many of these aphrodisiacs don’t have specific scientific properties that aid sex drive, they can still be helpful and encouraging. Sexual desire is multifaceted — it’s both physical and mental — so it’s really all about the context of these foods. Nan Wise, a psychotherapist and sex therapist, asserts that “desire is physical, psychosocial and relational, and involves a lot of variables. If you believe a certain food increases desire, the psychology of the placebo effect affects our capacity to get turned on or off.”
At the very least, you get to indulge in something tasty together before the fun begins.
Here are some of our fave aphrodisiacs to get your vibes going:
Fun fact: Honey is the root of the term “honeymoon.” Couples would drink fermented honey (mead) to improve the chances of conception. Not only is this liquid gold sweet and tasty, but it contains boron, which helps regulate hormone levels, and nitric oxide (which helps increase blood flow during arousal).
Heat and passion are a match made in heaven! Chilis contain capsaicin that generates heat — and can boost your libido. These small, but mighty peppers bring a response out of our bodies, releasing epinephrine (adrenaline), the chemical that increases your heart rate and releases endorphins. Our hearts race and our bodies get warmer — all things that enhance a night of fun!
Eggs are a classic symbol of fertility. They are high in vitamins B6 and B5, which regulate hormone levels and combat stress. Eating raw chicken eggs is believed to enhance your sexual drive.
Veggies like onion, turnip, and leeks allegedly stimulate desire and increase sperm count.
This fruit is high in antioxidants and a symbol of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. The tiny seeds inside the pomegranate are synonymous with the “seeds of fertility” and abundance. Pomegranates, like eggs, can lower stress and increase testosterone levels.
Chocolate is known for being one of the most romantic foods (which is why they’re such popular VDay gifts!). It contains the two chemicals humans release when they fall in love: tryptophan (the feel-good chemical) and phenylethylamine. As a result, it’s generally known for stimulating desire and boosting arousal.
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