When Aphrodite – the Greek goddess of love – rose from the sea on an oyster and then gave birth to Eros, she also gave birth to the notion of the aphrodisiac, a food or drink that increases sexual desire. Do oysters really arouse the libido, or is this a myth as well? Read on as I’ve been doing some research into why some food gets us in the mood…!
The almond has long been a symbol of fertility and it is believed that the aroma stimulates female passion. Mmm, maybe that’s why almonds are one of my favourite snacks!
High in healthy fats and fibre, the avocado is already an amazing vegetable, but its vitamin B6 helps increase testosterone production, and, for you ladies, avocados are a good source of folate.
Nicholas Culpepper – a medical herbalist in the 1600’s - said of asparagus, “it stirs up lust in man and woman”! A few centuries later, it’s now been dubbed “Nature’s answer to Viagra” due to its levels of potassium and vitamin A (and because of its suggestive shape!)
Definitely the winner in the ‘suggestive shape’ category, but does well in the nutritional category, too, due to its levels of potassium and B vitamins, which are essential for the production of sex hormones.
Historically, cherries have been thought of as both an aphrodisiac and an analgesic as it helped relieve the pain of arthritis and gout – hence the stories of old men seeking young brides with “lips like cherries”! They’re packed with vitamins A, C and E, as well as calcium, iron, selenium and folate. This great nutritional profile contributes to good all-round health a healthy sex drive.
These contain capsaicin, a chemical that raises our pulse and stimulates our nerve endings. They’re also believed to trigger the release of endorphins, the ‘happy hormones’ that give our bodies a natural ‘high’.
There’s no denying its effect as an aphrodisiac, due to the phenylethylamine which is a stimulant that produces a sense of wellbeing and excitement, similar to the natural high of endorphins.
One of the numerous different vegetables I recommend in my cookbook Rainbow Recipes, this relative of the carrot has a distinctive aroma of liquorice. The key to its reputation as an aphrodisiac, besides producing fresh breath, is that it produces chemicals similar to the female hormone oestrogen.
Apart from being a good all-round source of vitamins and minerals, there doesn’t appear to be anything specific about the nutrition of figs that make them the aphrodisiac champions that they are. It must, therefore, be all about their resemblance to the female unmentionables that made them Cleopatra’s favourite fruit and makes them the food of choice that’s thrown at newlyweds in certain southern European countries!
Ginger is a circulatory system stimulant, which has the added benefit of increasing sexual powers and desire! I use ginger in quite a few dishes including a Chickpea & Ginger Stew, Lentil & Spinach Dhal and Chicken with a walnut topping. I always start my day with fresh ginger and lemon with hot water!
A rich source of zinc, an important mineral for testosterone production.
Strawberries are the perfect fruit of passion – heart-shaped and bright red, the colour associated with love and passion. A symbol of Venus and used as an aphrodisiac since the time of ancient Rome.
Do oysters really arouse the libido, or is this a myth as well? Read on as I’ve been doing some research into why some food gets us in the mood…!
Barbara’s Cookbook Rainbow Recipes
Inspired by the many health benefits of the Rainbow Diet, Barbara has written a cookbook with over 100 different combinations of recipes to make to enhance your wellbeing.
Proceeds from the cookbook go to Cancer Active Charity so please purchase from www.canceractive.org
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