As Valentines approaches, many of us are looking forward to a romantic night in. And creating the perfect meal – rife with aphrodisiacs – can get us in the mood for love.
While many might avoid garlic, fearing bad breath, it has actually been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient Egyptian times, Healthista reports.
And we may recall liquorice as a sweet we ate in the playground, but in ancient China the sweet-smelling roots are believed to intensify sexual arousal and lust.
Throughout history, different cultures have heralded berries, figs, honey as having erotic powers.
Here, Stephanie Wickens explores the folklore of aphrodisiacs, revealing the top 10 foods that will put you in the mood for passion.
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.
The bulb is extremely high in allicin, which improves blood flow making you feel more alert, increased stamina, and a surge of untamed energy.
Try black garlic for more of a sweet and balsamicky flavour to your dish.
In the medieval era people would consume honeyed drinks in order to increase their sexual appetites.
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.
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.
Brew ginger in hot water, then add some lemon and honey for an immune boosting spicy tea.
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.
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.
This oily spicy red meat consists of high levels of protein and zinc, which aids the production of testosterone.
It is also a good source of thiamine which allows your body to absorb amino acids, and helps turn food into energy.
Tip: No need to use oil as chorizo will release it’s own oils as it cooks. Maybe drizzle a little of its spicy juices on his tongue to awaken his taste buds.
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.
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.
It is clear that this soft, plump fruit has entwined history and culture with its erotic sweetness.
Figs are loaded with antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber, potassium, and are a source of iron, which aids the function of the heart and blood cells.
Iron also helps to prevent fatigue, which will make you feel energised for more activities.
7. 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 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.
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 per cent – 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.
Legend has it that an age-old pagan tradition was to crush the liquorice root for spells and potions to guarantee fidelity.
One of the secrets to berries’ bedroom-boosting prowess lies in their high zinc content, a nutrient that is key to stimulating libido.
Zinc regulates testosterone, vital for sperm production in men, and helps women get in the mood by enhancing their sex drive.
Berries are also full of plant chemicals called proanthocyanidins, which help increase blood flow around the body, vital for sexual arousal.
Atrawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries as are packed with manganese, which helps us get energy from our food.
They also contain proanthocyanidins, which relax the blood vessels allowing blood to flow to those sensitive areas for greater arousal.
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, 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.
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.