15 Aphrodisiac foods to spark some romance
What's your opinion of aphrodisiacs - do they really work? From oysters to asparagus, try some of the following foods next time you're enjoying a night in with your other half and find out for yourself!
Possibly the most notorious aphrodisiac food around, oysters definitely aren't to everyone's tastes. But what's the science behind the theory that eating oysters can put you in the mood for love? Well, oysters are high in zinc and amino acids which could trigger our bodies to produce sex hormones (1), so it seems there is some truth to their aphrodisiac qualities. Did you know that Casanova allegedly ate 50 oysters for breakfast every morning? So you're in pretty good company! Oysters should be eaten raw and are traditionally served with a squeeze of lemon juice or a drop of Tabasco - or just slurp them straight from the shell.
Is there anything that avocado isn't good for? We love avocados for their healthy, monounsaturated fats, but now it seems as if the humble green fruit could be an aphrodisiac too. As far back as Aztec times, avocados were prized for their aphrodisiac qualities and it's thought that the fruit's high vitamin E content could help to maintain 'youthful vigour and energy level' - essential for an intimate evening in!
Bananas are loaded with potassium for a healthy heart and this combined with their vitamin B content helps to maintain energy levels, leaving you feeling fired up and raring to go! Bananas are also packed with bromelain, an enzyme which could trigger the production of testosterone. So next time you need a libido boost, reach for a banana - or add one to your smoothie!
As if the link to the birds and the bees wasn't enough (pollenation, anyone?) honey contains boron, which can help to regulate testosterone and oestrogen levels. It's also a natural source of energy - good news for busy individuals!
#5. Pine nuts
Long considered an aphrodisiac for their high levels of zinc, which can help to keep your sex drive healthy (2), pine nuts can be blended with basil and olive oil to form a healthy pesto which can help sexual performance. Enjoy your pesto with pasta or use it as a topping for chicken or fish, if you're carb cycling.
Rocket is a spicy, peppery leaf that's great added to salads, but did you know that it can also help to fan the flames of desire? In fact rocket has been used as an aphrodisiac since the first century A.D! The antioxidants and minerals found in its dark green leaves can help protect the body from environmental contaminates such as free radicals, which could negatively impact your libido.
Erectile dysfunction is more common than you might think, affecting half of all men aged 40 to 70. Pomegranate juice has been shown in studies to affect erectile dysfunction positively (3) - it's thought that the antioxidants the fruit contains could help to promote healthy blood flow. As if we needed a reason to add some pomegranate juice to our smoothies!
#8. Pumpkin seeds
Snacking on pumpkin seeds could really spice up your sex life, it seems. These nutty powerhouses are packed with magnesium - a 1oz serving contains 156mg of magnesium, which can help testosterone to enter the blood stream, increasing testosterone levels. Next time you're planning a night in, keep some of these to hand for snacking or top salads and soups with a sprinkling!
Is it because of their bright colour and exotic appearance that we consider chillis to be an aphrodisiac? Well, it seems there's some science backing the claims too. Eating chilli peppers stimulates the production of endorphins (feel-good hormones) as well as speeding up your heart rate and making you sweat. In fact, you could says the effects of eating them simulates how we feel when we're aroused. Spice up soups, stir-fries and stews with chillis but remember to take the seeds out if you don't want your food super-spicy!
You don't need us to tell you that eating a bar of chocolate is a pretty pleasurable experience, but did you know that chocolate could also be considered an aphrodisiac? Dark chocolate triggers the release of extra dopamine by the brain, which is responsible for feelings of pleasure. There's a reason why strawberries dipped in dark chocolate are such a popular romantic dessert!
Loaded with vitamin C, strawberries can help ensure healthy blood flow to all the right regions (if you know what we mean!) - not to mention a portion counts as one of your five-a-day. We like to serve ours with some Greek yogurt or dipped in dark chocolate for an extra aphrodisiac boost!
#12. Chai tea
Forget regular black tea or coffee and choose a cup of chai for your cheeky night in. The spices it contains - usually cinnamon, ginger and cloves - help stimulate blood flow. A typical cup of chai contains less caffeine than regular tea or coffee, so you won't be up all night; well, unless you choose to stay up!
We're not actually sure just how much of an aphrodisiac artichokes are - most of the information is the stuff of legend (4). But artichokes are definitely healthy, loaded with antioxidants and vitamins to keep everything functioning properly and promote healthy blood flow.
Sweet figs are a delicious treat and ripe figs represent both sexuality and modesty. The seeds represent fertility whilst the fig leaf represents modesty. Packed with potassium and antioxidants, they're not only a healthy choice, they can help to boost your libido too!
#15. Olive oil
For centuries, olives and olive oil have been used for health and the Ancient Greeks believed that olive oil had the power to boost male virility too! Whatever you believe, olive oil is a source of good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) which aid hormone production, improve blood flow and help to keep your heart healthy - good news all round!
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