Romantic Foods & Natural Aphrodisiacs to Set the Mood
Are aphrodisiacs real? Do foods have the power to induce an amorous mood and lift the libido? History and cultures around the world support the idea. Whether or not you’re a believer, there’s no reason you can’t have fun with some of the world’s most infamous romantic foods.
GAYOT’s list of the Best Aphrodisiacs features foods that range from sweet to spicy, with a heavy emphasis on pure indulgence. Dive in to discover how to make these top foods for romance. You’re sure to discover some surprising health benefits along the way.
Oysters are quite possibly the best-known culinary aphrodisiacs in the entire world, and there’s research supporting the notion that these bivalves boost libido. For starters, raw oysters are very high in zinc, which raises sperm and testosterone production.
Like some fish, oysters contain omega-3 fatty acids, considered to increase one’s overall well-being and even fight depression. They’re also a source of dopamine, but there’s still no definitive scientific information about oysters’ ability to induce desire. That said, legendary lothario Casanova might disagree. The infamous 18th-century womanizer ate 50 raw oysters every day.
> Check out GAYOT’s Oyster Guide, which includes a video on how to open them.
Historically, pineapple was used as a cure for impotence. And although there probably aren’t any doctors out there today tossing out the prescription pad in exchange for tropical fruit, there is evidence to substantiate the reputation, at least to some degree.
For starters, the fruit is a good source of magnesium. Low magnesium is associated with loss of libido and low semen counts in men. It’s also a good source of thiamine and antioxidants associated with maintaining sexual health. As for that rumor that pineapple improves the taste of body fluids, there’s no scientific evidence to substantiate the claim. However, enough anecdotal information exists to make it worth experimenting, if you’re game.
Chili peppers score near the top of love’s leaderboard. And once you start to investigate this food of love, it’s easy to see why.
Chili peppers can cause the body to release endorphins. This will bring about a boost in mood and surge in energy as good as a runner’s high. The heat you feel when eating a chili warms the body from the inside out, making the thought of tearing off clothing that much more desirable.
Capsaicin, the compound that causes chili’s burn, will make the tongue tingle with a need to be kissed and cause lips to swell with desirable plumpness. Most famously, chili was used as a key ingredient in the fortifying chocolate drink the great ruler Montezuma consumed to make his tongue dance and his pulse quicken in preparation for his daily visit to his beautiful concubines.
Why does eating chocolate make us so happy? It’s a chemical thing.
The “food of the gods” contains theobromine, a stimulating alkaloid similar to caffeine, as well as phenylethylamine, a stimulant that’s released in the brain when people fall in love. Chocolate also helps the brain produce feel-good serotonin, which plays a part in sexual arousal. To what extent and how much chocolate should we eat to achieve the desired results? Unfortunately, nobody knows! You see, chocolate is one of the most complex foods in the world and science has only just begun to understand it.
Our best advice is to be sure to indulge in the dark variety with at least 70% cocoa solids to maximize potential health benefits. If you opt for milk chocolate, it’s just that: milk and sugar with trace amounts of cocoa.
> Check out Best Chocolate Bars
Some historians speculate that the forbidden fruit Eve bit into in the Garden of Eden was not an apple at all, but a juicy pomegranate. Bursting with ruby red seeds when sliced open, pomegranates have long been associated with reproduction and fertility.
In fact, according to Greek mythology, the first pomegranate tree was planted by Aphrodite, the goddess of love, pleasure and procreation. Recent research has validated the fruit’s long-standing association with romance — studies have shown that the pomegranate’s antioxidants increase blood flow and testosterone levels, stimulating arousal and heightening intimacy.
There should be no doubt about this golden nectar’s role in romance. Its tempting, floral aroma, its sweet flavor and the plush, viscous sensation this syrup gives as it slides across the mouth all help to give honey an aphrodisiac reputation.
There is no doubt that this natural sweetener is more than just a substitute for sugar. Its powers lie in more than just an effect on the senses. Honey provides the body with energy and trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals essential to sexual health. Most notably, honey is a source of boron, a nutrient believed to regulate hormones.
A celebrated aphrodisiac since the times of ancient Rome, the truffle emits an aroma said to be irresistible to the female persuasion — at least to female pigs. Sows are traditionally used to hunt these delicacies, because the animals go after a pheromonal compound in the truffles’ scent called androstenone, which is similar to male sweat.
That’s why this scent also works on humans — although some find it too strong to be appealing, and others can’t smell androstenone at all. However, for most — male or female — the indulgence in a truffle, whether black or white, is among the most alluring (and pricey) culinary experiences in the world.
While truffles might be more effective as an aphrodisiac for women than for men, watermelon is unquestionably one of the best aphrodisiacs for men.
Watermelon is one of the finest food sources of a nutrient called citrulline. This nutrient helps the body produce nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels. It has, essentially, the same effect as Viagra and some scientists have gone so far as to call watermelon “nature’s Viagra.”
Incidentally, watermelon isn’t just beneficial to men. It’s also a great source of lycopene and potassium, nutrients associated with sexual health for both men and women. Perhaps a watermelon seed spitting contest is in your future?
Turmeric is currently one of the most popular spices in the world. This is because of its many touted health benefits. But did you know that long before turmeric was associated with curing the common cold, it was considered an aphrodisiac? It was even mentioned in the Kama Sutra.
Turmeric is successful as an aphrodisiac largely for the same reasons it’s touted as an aid in fighting arthritis and brain and heart disease. A compound in turmeric called curcumin is proven to have many healing benefits, including increasing testosterone and improving circulation — both of which are vital to a flourishing romantic life.
A favorite food of the infamous pleasure-seeker Casanova, caviar has long been associated with extravagance and indulgence, but the high-priced delicacy also offers numerous health benefits that can boost your well-being and libido.
The pearl-shaped sturgeon eggs are packed with zinc and protein, which will give you and your partner a nice boost of energy. Also, the amino acid L-arginine found in caviar increases blood flow and therefore, thought to increase your desire.
> Check out GAYOT’s Caviar Guide
Said to be Cleopatra’s favorite food, figs are sweet purple fruits that are sexy in both appearance and texture.
For obvious reasons, they’ve been a synonym in erotic literature for female sexual organs. One of the most influential writers of the 20th century, D. H. Lawrence, even wrote a poem entitled “Figs” about the “fruit of the female mystery.” To the ancient Greeks, they were “more precious than gold” and many cultures still see them as symbols of fertility.
Perhaps the appearance of the fruit alone serves as an aphrodisiac, but figs also contain magnesium, a mineral needed to produce sex hormones.
12. Goji Berries
This famed superfood is known for its antioxidants, but did you know goji berries can also help with sexual health? Known in China as “happy berries”, the nutrition-packed fruits are used in Chinese medicine to strengthen the adrenal system, believed to be a center of sexual energy. They’re also worked into both savory and sweet dishes and even used as the base of some wines.
Goji berries offer a higher concentration of beta carotene than most fruits and clinical tests have shown their potency for treating metabolic syndrome, a precursor to erectile dysfunction.
Dating back to ancient Roman times, strawberries have always been seen as a romantic fruit. In fact, these luscious berries are the symbol for Venus, the Roman goddess of love. It only makes sense when you consider that they’re naturally heart-shaped and red in hue.
Such a reputation has continued over centuries. Many consider strawberries the Valentine’s Day fruit, making it the perfect romantic dessert to get you in the mood. They’re also packed with Vitamin C, which studies show helps to keep your blood flowing. Plus, strawberries are ideal for dipping into warm, melted chocolate (another known aphrodisiac) and sharing with your partner.
The Totonac tribe of pre-Columbian Mexico was the first to cultivate the alluring spice of vanilla, and the story that accompanies its origin tells of forbidden love. According to one legend, Princess Xanat fell in love with a mortal, and when she and her lover attempted to run away, they were killed. The first vanilla orchid sprouted from the blood that flowed from the two lovers. When Spanish conquistadors introduced the spice to Europe, its intoxicating fragrance wafted across the land and today it remains a ubiquitous ingredient in everything from perfumes and beauty products to desserts and drinks.
The erotic effects of vanilla have been studied for years, with men showing a particularly strong sensual response. Not only does the smell of vanilla lower stress levels to get you in the mood for love, but it also evokes warmth and euphoria. Don’t believe it? Try some vanilla-infused dessert recipes from one of these sexy cookbooks or light a few vanilla-scented candles while enjoying a hot movie or two and then see what you think.