These aphrodisiac foods have had seductive reputations throughout history. Stephanie Wickens looks behind the folklore to what makes them so sexy
Cooking a romantic meal this Valentine’s Day? It’s the most popular way to spend ‘date night’, according to Hello Fresh, who found seven in ten people prefer to be cooked for rather than being taken out to a restaurant. So what’s the perfect recipe for passion? According to 35 per cent of Brits, steak is the way to a lover’s heart. And you guessed it – chocolate, champagne, oysters and asparagus are all the biggest turn on’s shared over a candlelit table.
But from the sun-dried legends of ancient Egypt, to the biblical stories of the Garden of Eden, there are more exotic aphrodisiac foods that have laced history and culture with their perceived erotic powers. Some of which you may find surprising. It’s sometimes unclear – especially from a scientific perspective – as to why or how certain foods can wildly impact our sex drives but it’s fun to put them to the test.
aphrodisiac foods have laced history and culture with their perceived erotic powers
It seems to be well documented that truffles are one of the world’s finest aphrodisiacs. Their seductive reputation can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, although the exact origin of their sex-inducing affiliations is unknown.
truffles replicate the smell of the male pheromone
The truffle’s rarity adds to their wild and mysterious nature, and because of this they’re considered a luxury food. It is a treat you can eat on a special occasion, like a romantic evening with your partner.
A large part of their allure could be down to their scent, which is called androstenone. It is said that truffles replicate the smell of the male pheromone, which is similar to the smell of male sweat, making its smooth and earthy musk irresistible to the female sex.
It doesn’t end there. It has been said that historical figures such as Napoleon believed that eating truffles would increase his ‘masculine potency’ – oo-la-la.
Most seafood is considered to be naturally aphrodisiac, but the salmon fish has been highlighted as the powerhouse of seduction.
It is a great source of protein, which is important for stamina (wink wink), and packed with omega 3s, which have been proven to raise serotonin levels in the brain, therefore elevating your mood. Salmon also contains vitamins A, D, B and calcium, which are all known to boost the sex drive.
Salmon contains vitamins that are known to boost the sex drive
In nineteenth century America, salmon was featured in cookbooks for women who were looking to keep their husbands ‘encouraged’.
The sweet and fresh hints of the salmon flavour is enough to make anyone’s taste buds erupt in pleasure, and even their eggs have been cited to be powerful aphrodisiacs. So to conclude, salmon seems to be one raunchy fish.
It’s surprising that garlic would be considered a sexy food, considering its reputation with causing bad breath. But in fact, garlic has been acknowledged as an aphrodisiac since the legends of ancient Egypt.
garlic has been acknowledged as an aphrodisiac since the legends of ancient Egypt
The bulb is extremely high in allicin, which improves blood flow making you feel more alert, increased stamina, and a surge of untamed energy – bites lip.
Figs are one of the most infamous foods historically associated with sex and sin. Their alliance with sexuality has been recognised in almost every culture.
In the biblical story of Adam and Eve, figs are a symbol of sexuality as their leaves are used to cover both of their naked bodies.
the inside of a fig resembles the female sex organ
It is widely thought that the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden were figs, meaning they are also a symbol of temptation and sin. Even their shape could hold erotic connotations for people, and their many seeds are a representation of fertility.
Cleopatra, former pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, and who is celebrated for her beauty and sexually amorous lifestyle, was rumoured to have considered figs as her favourite fruit. And in ancient Greece figs were considered a symbol of love. It is even believed that the inside of a fig resembles the female sex organ. Racy.
It is clear that this soft, plump fruit has entwined history and culture with its erotic sweetness.
they are a symbol of temptation and sin
Figs are loaded with antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber, potassium, and are a source of iron, which offers aid the function of the heart and blood cells. Iron also helps to prevent fatigue, which will make you feel energised for more exciting activities.
6. Medjool Dates
Dates are found in the dry deserts, and they are considered exotic and sacred. They are known aphrodisiacs for women, and in Iran and Nigeria it is thought that dates can improve a person’s sex life.
Their squishy, sticky, dark, and sweet flesh is packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that replenish energy, and revitalise the body.
They are rich in amino acids, which boosts sexual stamina
They are also rich in amino acids, which boosts sexual stamina. It is thought that even the act of eating dates is highly sexual as their powerful flavour dominates the taste buds, and the flesh melts on your tongue.
These sweet and sticky fruits could be the perfect food to involve in a romanic evening with your partner.
Ginger has been deemed a powerful aphrodisiac of increasing sexual prowess. Its scent is thought to stimulate the circulatory system, allowing the blood flow to reach every corner of your body.
It helps to restore strength to someone who is overcoming an illness, and its aphrodisiac virtues originate from its ability to tone the whole body, rather than only effecting the hormones directly.
Tip: Brew ginger in hot water, then add some lemon and honey for an immune boosting spicy tea or try taking ginger as a supplement such as Bio Health Ginger Root £7.83
In the medieval era people would consume honeyed drinks in order to increase their sexual appetites.
honey aids the body to use and metabolise the female hormone estrogen
Ancient Persia saw couples devote an entire month to drinking beverages made with honey after their weddings. They believed that it would help to forge a successful marriage – hence the term ‘honeymoon’.
Honey is rich in B vitamins and boron, which is what’s needed for the production of testosterone for men, and it also enhances blood levels. It also aids the body to use and metabolise the female hormone estrogen.
Try a rich raw, preferably local honey such as Raw British Hilltop Honey £3.50 from Healthista Shop
It was believed in ancient China and Egypt that liquorice could intensify sexual arousal and lust. Even its scent seems to be stimulating. Apparently, a whiff of liquorice can increase the blood flow to the penis by 13 percent – as Captain Jack Sparrow might say, ‘liquorice all-around.’
It is thought that liquorice contains phytoestrogen sterols, that is known to affect sex hormones, although there is no real scientific proof of it.
a whiff of liquorice can increase the blood flow to the penis by 13 percent
Legend has it that an age-old pagan tradition was to crush the liquorice root for spells and potions to guarantee fidelity.
Try: taking liquorice as a tea (We LOVE Pukka’s Licorice and Cinnamon Tea which is great for keeping sweet cravings at bay) or as a supplement such as Bio Health Liquorice Root £7.83 from Healthista Shop
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