ONE of the things that makes people fall in love with Spain is the food. The Mediterranean diet, rich in fish and seafood, nuts and fruit, is famously good for the heart.
And not only the heart: the diet is full of ingredients known for their aphrodisiac properties.
With today being a very important (February 14, in case you forget), a dinner date should prove a win-win situation.
These foods provide both psychological and physical stimulation because they trigger an increase in the release of serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone.
The practice of using food to increase sexual desire dates back to the 4th century BC and takes its name from the Greek goddess Aphrodite.
Aphrodisiac foods aren’t always as exotic as ginseng. You might already consume them on a daily basis and not even realise.
WHO doesn’t associate Valentine’s Day with chocolate? Well, chocolate is quite effective in increasing serotonin levels and libido, especially in women. Cocoa beans contain phenylalanine and theobromine, chemicals that help blood circulation and lung function, and they combat fatigue as well, making this a powerful and useful aphrodisiac. Give your partner a big box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day and enjoy the results.
THOUGH you might need to eat half a jar to get the effect, honey contains boron, vitamin B, and nitric oxide, all of which are good for stamina. In addition, nitric oxide is released in the blood during arousal and helps men achieve erections, while vitamin B is said to stimulate hormones associated with sexual desire. Some men even use honey as a natural treatment for premature ejaculation. Anyway, get sensual and creative this Valentine’s day by finding something that’s packed full of honey (but perhaps not a hive).
AS our brains already assume oysters are an aphrodisiac, we get a double stimulation, psychological and physical, as soon as they appear on the table. In addition, the high protein and zinc content helps to improve sperm production in men and lubrication in women. It is a food that provides a great energy boost, guaranteeing good performance and sexual drive – as long as they’re fresh.
THE only natural aphrodisiac recognised as such by medical science, the spice is known to stimulate blood flow, especially in the abdominal area of the body. This improves blood supply to the genitalia, resulting in sexual arousal. Generally, if your partner goes to make a cup of tea during sex it’s not a promising sign. But if it’s cinnamon tea, don’t lose hope: even inhaling its steamy aroma is said to combat loss of sexual desire. In men, like most things on the list, cinnamon helps achieve and maintain an erection.
THEY have somehow become the fruity treat of Valentine’s Day couples, and that association means – for some people – the mere sight of them, all red and juicy, sets off psychological triggers. Rich in zinc (a mineral that helps sustain sexual desire), and vitamin C (which stimulates the endocrine glands and the release of oxytocin), strawberries also work on the physical side. Double their power by dipping them in chocolate.
APPARENTLY the insides of figs bear some resemblance to a female reproductive organ, and this exciting thought has, through the ages, proved very arousing. However, it’s probably the high beta-carotene content involved in the production of sex hormones which gives figs their aphrodisiac properties. The high sugar content makes figs a good source of energy if you are planning a long night.
DOES the shape of a banana really act as an aphrodisiac because it bears a passing resemblance to a male reproductive organ? Apparently so. Try it. The more scientific justification for bringing a banana out on Valentine’s Day is that it’s packed with potassium, vitamin B, bufotenin and magnesium, all of which help do something to the brain’s neurotransmitters that ignites libido– especially in men.
NUMEROUS investigations have been carried out to discover the link between red wine and sexual desire. The main reason red wine seems to increase sex drive is that it helps ramp up blood circulation. But also worth a mention is the fact it contains alcohol. The greatest known disinhibitor, alcohol stimulates the part of the brain where the controls for inhibition and relaxation are kept.
UNLIKELY as it sounds, chickpeas can also be a powerful aphrodisiac and a very suggestive dish. But they need to be prepared properly – go for hummus rather than a winter stew. Being spreadable, a bowl of hummus is perfect for kicking off some spicy games (or eating with celery).
THE potassium the fruit contains is tied up with the body’s capacity for producing sexual hormones, and is more effective in increasing sexual desire in men than women. It’s also one of the oldest aphrodisiac foods in the book – indeed, it predates books. Surprise your partner with an avocado cocktail; the result should please the eye and stimulate the imagination (and more).
If you are planning to try any of these love foods at home on Valentine’s Day, add a side dish of mood music from Spain’s most romantic singer, Jose Luis Perales, for the full effect.