Happy Valentine’s Day. Want to get you in a sexy mood–what better way than with the top aphrodisiac foods to turn you on or amp up how turned on you are? As we started doing our research we discovered foods we had no idea were aphrodisiacs (more on that below) and gained insight into how the most popular love tonics may work. Although in most cases the science was questionable, mixed or just not there, here’s what we found.
Probably the food most associated with being an aphrodisiac, oysters are thought to increase sexual desire because they are loaded with zinc. Zinc increases sperm production and testosterone production—which actually increases libido in both sexes, bet you didn’t know that! Oysters are also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated omega-3 fats that may fight depression and anxiety, and D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, which both increase testosterone levels.
Considered the culinary version of “blood diamonds,” foie gras is controversial to say the least. What we can’t debate is that it is considered an aphrodisiac, it is expensive, and it is associated with the finer things in life. It contains high amounts of zinc and iron, which increase nerve sensitivity and blood circulation to intensify orgasms. And its mythical status may signal to our primitive brain that the person buying it can take care of us and our offspring, so we want to mate and have their babies.
We couldn’t find any studies to show that chocolate turns us on but neuroscientists studying the brain have plenty to say about how chocolate makes us happy, just like sex. Chocolate contains natural feel-good compounds including phenylalanine, which lights up our brain’s pleasure centers and peaks during orgasm. It also contains tryptophan, which helps our brains build the “happy” neurotransmitter serotonin, and theobromine, a stimulating compound similar to caffeine (another aphrodisiac). Always opt for dark chocolate to get more benefits and less libido-killing sugar!
Chilies are considered to be an aphrodisiac the world over, and the magic behind the love spell they cast may be caused by capsaicin, the compound that gives chilies’ their characteristic heat. Capsaicin increases the body’s production of endorphins, our natural reward chemicals. It also increases nerve stimulation, heart rate, and blood circulation, mimicking what we experience when we are turned on or having sex. And that slight flush we get from them? Sure looks like a sign of sexual attraction!
Alcohol is truly a false aphrodisiac, at least as far as the scientists are concerned. It is not a libido-enhancer but rather, changes how we perceive our environment. It is shown to relax the body and lower inhibitions, making us possibly do something we otherwise wouldn’t if we weren’t feeling a bit tipsy. Long-term or excessive use can even contribute to erectile dysfunction by negatively affecting blood flow and can lead to reduced sex drive in both sexes by reducing testosterone production. Once in a while is fine, and our recommendation is red wine for its heart-health and immune-boosting benefits.
And now onto what our research uncovered about the other top aphrodisiac foods that get your brain thinking about sex, get blood flowing to your sexy parts, increase sex hormone production, and in some cases look just enough like sex organs that they make our minds wander. We love them because they follow our whole foods approach to optimum health — add great sex to your list of health benefits with these:
arugula, asparagus, almonds, avocado, bananas, basil, carrots, eggs, figs, garlic, ginger, goji berries, honey, pine nuts, pomegranates and pomegranate juice, salmon, and watermelon. Who Knew? Enjoy!