Named after Aphrodite – the Greek goddess of love – aphrodisiacs are said to increase libido, potency, and sexual pleasure.
Truffles, oysters and champagne have all been considered some of the must-order date night foods for decades... but it may be a little more complicated than downing a few chocolate-covered strawberries and waiting for the magic happen.
Research suggests the allure of rare and expensive foods puts us in the mood because we feel indulged, and foods commonly thought to be aphrodisiacs make us horny thanks to the placebo effect. And while there is no scientific evidence proving that any one food heightens sexual arousal or desire over the course of a single meal – incorporating certain foods into your diet more frequently may offer long-term benefits when it comes to libido and performance.
Here are the top 10 foods you should be eating on the reg to boost your sex-drive and staying power.
Dubbed the ‘Peruvian Viagra’, maca is a sweet root vegetable commonly use it to boost fertility in South America. Mainly grown in the mountains of central Peru, it has been found to increase libido and erectile function in rodents and humans, and has even been shown to reduce the loss of libido that commonly occurs as a side effect of certain antidepressant drugs.
Derived from the Crocus sativus flower, saffron’s reputation as an aphrodisiac dates back to Cleopatra, who reportedly bathed in saffron-infused milk for its aphrodisiac qualities. It’s one of the most expensive spices by weight and is often used as an alternative remedy to help treat depression, reduce stress, and enhance mood. Studies show is can improve erectile function in men and result in higher levels of arousal and increased lubrication in women.
Add it to your coffee, your desserts, even your veggies—cinnamon has long been used to help control blood pressure, improve overall alertness, and get you feeling cosy. Research suggests cinnamon can relax and dilate blood vessels, which is crucial for sexual arousal and performance. The spice is also a good source of manganese, which is thought to help increase male sex drive.
Basil has also been a symbol of love since Roman times. Its aphrodisiac properties are thought to correlate directly to its fresh scent, which is said to be stimulating and promote blood flow.
A legendary aphrodisiac of ancient Rome, truffles are still among the most prized ingredients in the culinary world. Rare and expensive (which only adds to their allure), truffles are said to have a musky scent that mimics that of the male pheromone androstenone, and subconsciously makes people want to gobble them up. They’re also high in protein, which promotes stamina.
Legend has it that Madame du Barry, the famed mistress of King Louis XV, often served ginger to her lovers to help set the mood, thanks to its aphrodisiac effects. According to science, ginger can improve blood flow and circulation, which may help enhance sexual arousal and libido.
An apple a day isn’t guaranteed to keep the doctor away, but a 2014 study showed a correlation between eating apples and with better sexual quality of life for people with vaginas. Apples, like wine and chocolate, also contain polyphenols and antioxidants that can stimulate blood flow to the genitalia, helping with arousal.
8. Hot Chillies
Capsaicin – the stuff responsible for making chili peppers spicy – stimulates nerve endings on the tongue, which releases adrenaline, the chemical that increases your heart rate and releases endorphins. Capsaicin is known to boost testosterone levels and increase libido.
According to experts, chocolate contains the chemicals phenylethylamine and serotonin – mood-boosting stimulants that elicit excitement and a sense of well-being, and that are thought to be mild sexual stimulants. The natural caffeine doesn’t hurt either.
The legendary lover Casanova is said to have seduced a virgin by sliding an oyster from his lips to hers. While we can’t think of anything more decidedly UN-sexy, oysters are, in-fact, considered a solid libido-booster given that they contain high levels of zinc – a mineral important in the production of testosterone and sperm production. These slippery suckers are also said to contain dopamine, a brain chemical that increases desire.