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Ask Health Coach Maria: Are Some Foods Really Aphrodisiacs?

February 14, 2014

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Hi, I’m Maria Marlowe, a Certified Health Coach and author of Detox without the Deprivation. I love to explain why you are what you eat and have made it my mission to help the world get healthy through better nutrition. In the “Ask Health Coach Maria” series, I answer frequently asked questions that relate to health and wellness.

Mankind has always been interested in foods that will “get you in the mood.” From Egyptian pharaohs to ancient Greeks, people have long been searching for love potions. The word “aphrodisiac” itself comes from the ancient Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

There’s a long list of purportedly aphrodisiac foods said to heighten sexual desire, though there’s not much hard research to back up these claims. Still, there is plenty of anecdotal (and even some nutritional) evidence for the aphrodisiac effects of the following foods, so give them a try!  I’ll let you be the judge. 

Asparagus: First revered as an aphrodisiac in a 15th century Arabic sex manual titled The Perfumed Garden, this long rod of a vegetable is said to resemble the male sex organ. Visuals aside, it does contain some vitamin E, which helps lift the libido.

Avocados: Adored by the Aztecs, their word for this creamy fruit, ahuacatl, directly translates to “testicles,” because that’s what they thought it looked like growing in pairs on the tree. They revered it as an aphrodisiac, and they might be right, as the high vitamin E content helps your body produce hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, keeping your sexual interest and stamina up. 

Almonds: Another food high in vitamin E, almonds have been revered as a symbol of fertility throughout the ages, and some believe that their sweet smell arouses passion in women. Whip out the almond body oil! 

Banana: Another one given love potion status because of what it resembles, bananas are packed with potassium and B vitamins, both of which are needed to produce sex hormones. The enzyme bromelain is especially libido-enhancing for men.  

Chiles: Chiles get your blood pumping, increasing circulation and stimulating nerve endings so that you feel more turned on. 

Chocolate: Ahh chocolate, the food that is inextricably linked with Valentine’s Day, and for good reason. The chemicals in cacao help boost serotonin, the hormone that makes you happy, as well as phenylethylamine, the same chemical that’s released when you fall in love. While researchers think you’d have to eat copious amounts to get any sort of physiological aphrodisiac effect, it could be that love and chocolate are so intertwined in our minds that it ‘s more the psychological association that turns us on. 

Figs: Lusciously sweet and juicy, figs get their aphrodisiac status for resembling the female sex organs.  Considering the fact that they are said to be the favorite fruit of one of the most well-known seductresses, Cleopatra, perhaps there is some truth to it? 

Honey: This sweet and sticky nectar is filled with B vitamins, needed for testosterone production, and boron, which helps the body use and metabolize estrogen. Lore has it that the term “honeymoon” comes from an old tradition in which newlyweds drank a honey drink for 30 days after marriage to help them get acquainted in the bedroom, and thus set the foundation for a healthy marriage.

Maca: This Peruvian root doesn’t have any effect on hormones, but studies show it does seem to improve sexual function and increase sperm count in men.   

So there you have it, nine foods to help turn the heat on in the bedroom this Valentine’s Day. Comment below if you’ve found any of these foods to be an aphrodisiac for you!