Aphrodisiacs: Our Hero Ingredients.
If you’re looking for an aphrodisiac, ignore your boudoir and peek inside your kitchen cupboard!
The Aztecs allegedly called the avocado "ahuacuatl" - their word for 'testicle'... but if that doesn't turn you on (it doesn't do much for us either) avocados are at least a veritable treasure trove of vitamins and good stuff.
The flesh of the avocado is without doubt sensuous & silky but there are good things beneath that dark green skin. Avocados are rich in Vitamins E & B6
as well as potassium. All of these help relieve stress – always a good thing. They will also help you look good. High sterol levels in avocado oil help boost collagen production, keeping skin soft, supple & springy and lips plump & ready.
It’s all about the potassium. While the phallic shape may immediately fuel the passion, and that’s enough to get this fruit on the aphrodisiac list, the banana is also making an appearance due its levels of potassium and B vitamins which aid your sex hormone production and help deliver muscle strength, so in theory intensifies orgasm. Get your lover to undress one and then eat it! See what we mean.
Champagne packs a poky punch of aphrodisiac trace minerals. These include potassium, zinc & magnesium, all absolutely essential for male & female sex hormone production. It is also said that the yeasty bouquet of dry Champagne accurately mimics the scent of female sex pheromones.
The ritual involved in serving champagne is testament enough. There is a pent up energy in the heavy reinforced bottle, a teasing provocation in the undressing & unwiring of the bottles phallic neck & bulbous cork. The release is either sudden with a foamy jet of excitement or controlled as the pressure is released with a sigh of anticipation. The choice is yours…
The faintly mushroomy smell of a ripe Camembert is apparently stimulating to both sexes. Cheese boasts an array of goodies including one shortened to PEA which triggers the release of the pleasure – craving chemical dopamine. Some varieties contain as much a ten times that of chocolate.
Try a simple cheese fondue by baking it in the oven in its box. Here comes the sensuous bit. Dip in crusty bread and crisp fresh crudités – be careful not to drop anything in or you will have to pay a forfeit!
Eggs are a storehouse of vitamins B6 and B5, which help to balance hormone levels, and also vitamin B12, which is key to healthy testosterone production. Little wonder they're traditional symbols of fertility and rebirth. Eggs can help boost libido in both men and women. A 2 egg breakfast provides an abundant quantity of good nutrition which will help to keep eyes bright, tails bushy & libidos alert & ready. Chicken eggs are said to be a good aphrodisiac if eaten raw before sex – think mayonnaise or Zabaglione!
MACA ROOT & POWDER
Known as the "Peruvian Viagra", the sex-enhancing power of this radish-like root is legendary in its native country and beyond. Cherished by the Incas back in the day and now used as dietary supplement around the world, a 1998 study by Pure World Botanicals found maca root to contain two unique compounds, macamides and macaenes, which are directly related to its aphrodisiac effect - including a lift in energy and libido. It’s a good source of calcium, iron & zinc – wink, wink!
The ancient Greeks used anchovies as an aphrodisiac increasing their potency by marinating them in white wine. Where would we be without Lea & Perrins Worcester Sauce – made from anchovies, go on add a bit extra.
They contain a high level of the B Vitamin – Niacin. This feeds the glands that secrete the hormones that make you firm & frisky for perfect pokey-pokey.
Testosterone is great for your sex life - it makes both men and women more randy and sexually stimulated. Zinc, found in caviar, stimulates the formation of testosterone so it stands to reason that posh fish eggs are, in fact, an aphrodisiac. Not only is it packed full of nutritional goodies but also a whammy of amino acids, some of which act like a natural Viagra for more intense & longer orgasms in both men & women. It is a sensuous, silky smooth eating experience with a burst of the sea sensation.
The most famous & expensive (an aphrodisiac in itself) are the wild Beluga, Ossetra & Sevruga from the Caspian Sea.
There are more than 500 varieties of this exotic, intriguing & mysterious little fruit that packs a surprising number of health benefits. It contains a high percentage of vitamins & minerals which among many other properties can help boost the immune system, improve eyesight & boost our old friend circulation – crucial. Drinking a glass of cold passion fruit juice helps to relax our nerves and has a calming effect on the mind.
Parsley is known as a wonder herb and is one of the most nutritious herbs containing high amounts of vitamin A & C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and other essential minerals. Now that collection can certainly pack a healthy punch. It was used as far back as the time of Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) believed to improve general health with aphrodisiac properties so its an all round good guy.
Oysters are without doubt sex on a plate. They are probably the world's most well-known aphrodisiac and they've been top of the sexy food list since the time of the ancient Greeks. They're full of zinc which helps in the production of testosterone which not only acts on male libido but is also great for the female libido too.
The Romans were probably the first to delve into the delights of the oyster.
Ladies would dip oysters into honey before embarking on a night of lustful decadence. Not sure about the combo but it obviously worked for them
In Rome walnuts were thrown at newly weds instead of rice. During harvest festivals in Rome maidens would offer bowls of nuts as symbols of fertility. These nuts have had a reputation as aphrodisiacs for centuries.
In Italy and France walnuts are believed to intensify desire. Nuts in general contain high levels of fatty acids which are key to the production of hormones needed to maintain a healthy sex drive.
The mango’s nutritional bounty of beta-carotene & vitamins C & E is responsible for its rich colour & addictive sharp-sweet flavour as well as its aphrodisiac reputation. Mangos are rich in copper, a mineral necessary for the production of red blood cells & hence good circulation.
In India, where they produce a massive 13 million tonnes a year, it is believed that the mango tree can grant wishes & is a symbol of fertility & love and that the leaves bring luck at New Year & the fruit is the food of the gods. That’s good enough for us !!
This ‘morning after’ staple can also be your pre-bedtime fuel, high in testosterone boosting L- arginine and rich in B vitamins.
Oats are probably the humblest & heartiest of all the aphrodisiacs. Oats thrive in a cool climate and cost very little, but don’t be misled. They have long been associated with virility & have been shown to free up testosterone in both men & women.
A great favourite of Venus, the Roman Goddess of love, “her pleasure and loves delight”. And just in case you get lost among the duvet or the Gods, it will help you see at night. Carrots are believed to be a stimulant to the male; the phallus shaped carrot has been associated with stimulation since ancient times.
Artichoke is a ‘turbo charged’ aphrodisiac.
The globe artichoke was praised as an aphrodisiac by the ancient Greeks. They believed that Zeus turned a former lover into the first artichoke plant – watch out girls!
Artichokes make for sexy eating, sucking the dipped leaves and finally discovering the heart hidden under the bristly choke
In France newly weds are given onion soup after their wedding night to restore their libido. Since pre-historic times onions have been considered aphrodisiacs. They are mentioned in many classic Hindu texts on the art of making love and were commonly used as an aphrodisiac in ancient Greece.
Mushrooms contain zinc and zinc is key to blood flow – without blood flow you can’t have an orgasm, simple as that! Zinc has also been shown to boost SEX drive by increasing the flow of testosterone. Shitake mushrooms are used in the orient as they are believed to make girls more responsive…
Thyme is used widely in cooking in many areas of the world. The ancient Greeks used thyme in their baths and as incense In their temples believing that Thyme was a source of courage, so if you are a bit reserved or shy break the ice by sharing a Thyme bath – it works every time…
At the end of a perfect date you stand on your doorstep & think of mentally undressing each other for a night of hot lust but instead you say ‘how about a coffee?’ However coffee is on the aphrodisiac list for its stimulating properties as well its power of suggestion.
Broad beans are the main ingredient in the Egyptian national dish ful Mesdames and a key ingredient in the ubiquitous falafel. They are a good source of protein and iron and unlike other beans they contain the active amorous ingredient levodopa, a chemical the body uses to produce the feel good dopamine.
Succulent red fruits are perfect to feed to your lover. It’s a fact that women who eat red berries taste better. In addition they are high in vitamin c, which may not turn you on but will certainly help you stay healthy.
The flavour and heat in ginger comes from three oils – gingerol, shogaol & zingerone – great names! Ultimately through a biological sequence these can cause a warming effect that can become totally arousing. If you want to inflame your loins (and frankly who doesn’t) do as the Romans did … eat sweet spicy ginger before the orgy!
Rosemary is known not only for its intoxicating aroma but also the fact that its oil is an excellent physical stimulant. For the perfect Sunday slow cooked lamb studded with rosemary will do the business – who cares about Monday.
In classical myth rocket was sacred to the ever randy son of Aphrodite & Dionysis – best known for his large and ever ready erect member. It’s the hot peppery taste that does it by lifting the metabolism & dilating the blood vessels, and we know what happens next – rampant sex!
Nutmeg can imitate the effects of serotonin otherwise known to us as the Happy Hormone allowing for greater relaxation and elevated moods – always a good way to start. Nutmeg was highly prized by Chinese women as an aphrodisiac. A light sprinkling of the spice in a warm pumpkin soup can help perk up your sex life
Mint grows plentifully in any garden and is a wonderful aphrodisiac. Mente, the alluring wood nymph whose name mint is derived from, is said to have seduced the god Pluto with mint leaves in ancient sexual rituals. Don’t hold back on the mint sauce…
The Greek physician Hippocrates, who was one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine, prescribed honey for sexual vigour and encouraged the taking of milk and honey to induce love and ecstasy. Always keep a jar in your store cupboard to drizzle whenever and wherever you wish!
Try a glass of warm mead at bed time – wow…
Ancient Romans used beetroot to improve their sex drive and the vegetable's libido-lifting qualities remain true to this day. Beets also have high levels of the trace mineral boron, which is directly related to the production of sex hormones. Since Roman times beetroot has been seen as a potent aphrodisiac. The walls of the Lupanare, Pompeii’s brothel were adorned with murals of beetroot
Garlic is a pungent member of the lily family. It has been used as an aphrodisiac by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Japanese – They can’t all be wrong!
A professor at USC Medical School has suggested mixing garlic with lard used externally to bring on an erection (Do not try this around a hungry Doberman!)
When Baby talked about carrying a watermelon in Dirty Dancing, she perhaps wasn't aware of its sexual potency. Both the rind and flesh of this glorious fruit are packed with amino acid citrulline, which relaxes the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the genitals, in an effect similar to Viagra. In turn it can bring on erect nipples, sexual flush and a gun in the trousers in the words of Mae West.
This perfect little pink crustacean is known to create sensual delights in heart & body. You may never have considered doing this but eating prawns in bed can help your staying power & is believed to give you mega orgasms. What’s not to love!
The Perfumed Garden has many references to this seed of the pine tree including this to restore a man’s libido. “A glass of thick honey plus 20 almonds and 100 pine nuts repeated for 3 nights” Good luck with that one.
Originally known as love apples by the French, maybe it was the texture or just maybe that the acids they contain stimulate blood flow to the lips and mouth and can improve muscle control (!!) but whatever fresh, ripe tomatoes locally grown and eaten in season are a very seductive food
Drop this luscious symbol of Venus into your champagne glass or dip it in melted chocolate…this little edible Valentine is sensual, sexy and we love it’s slut red, zinc loaded essential sex appeal.
This powerful aphrodisiac spear not only looks phallic but contains Vitamin E which makes you gorgeous (think healthy skin, nails & hair). It is also packed full of goodies said to be hormone boosters and who doesn’t want that?
As an aphrodisiac this deliciously fragrant herb is famous for it’s mention in the “Arabian Nights” where it was used in a concoction to cure a merchant of impotence. The Chinese, the Greeks & the Romans all used it in their love potions so who are we to doubt it’s powers!
The scent of basil has long been associated with arousal, with women rubbing basil powder and oil on their bodies back in the day to attract the guys. Granted, we’re more likely to pesto up a linguine with it these days, but the fact remains that basil is great in boosting circulation for a super-revved libido and its fragrance is a natural aphrodisiac.
There’s a reason why red hot chillies have long been associated with a spicy sex life. The hot flavour comes from a massive dose of capsaicin, a chemical which releases mood-enhancing endorphins and increases blood flow and heart rate to stimulate nerve endings and can actually plump the lips. Forget the curry but instead try chilli in ice cream and chocolate brownies.
This one’s for your partner - ask them to open a ripe fig and eat it seductively in front of you. This is supposed to be a powerful aphrodisiac because the fruit’s insides look like a female love nest. Ancient Greeks celebrated fig harvests with an orgy. Good for them! Figs peeled and quartered wrapped in Parma ham – very sensuous on the taste buds.
The seeds of this luscious red fruit improve blood flow and are said to increase genital sensitivity. Some say that the forbidden fruit referred to in the Bible wasn’t an apple at all but a pomegranate. The luscious fruit has long been considered a sensual symbol and with its antioxidant properties it increases vitality and is a very sexy food to share with someone you love. Scatter like jewels over salads and meats.
Legend has it that the goddess Aphrodite was transported to earth on a scallop shell and since then scallops have enjoyed a gold star aphrodisiac reputation. The scallop is a frisky aphrodisiac when cooked the right way, meunière, deep fried in golden breadcrumbs or wrapped in pancetta and threaded onto a skewer. King scallops for him and Queen scallops for her and you will both feel like royalty in a four poster bed. Their texture is soft and voluptuous on the tongue and their shells make beautiful serving dishes.
Not a universally loved veg but apparently it gets women going. Granted it’s not the sexiest of vegetables, but raw celery boosts production of an odourless hormone released via male perspiration. This in turn is thought to act as a pheromone to turn women on. Something to bear in mind the next time you deliberate in the supermarket aisle...
Food photography and digital manipulation by Helen Ives