We’re all familiar with the quintessential aphrodisiacs; oysters, champagne, and strawberries – but what everyday foods, if any, stimulate our sexual vitality? Here’s a list of ten edible aphrodisiacs that you might find in your cupboard right now. Many of these foods have rich, cross-cultural histories as aphrodisiacs, symbolizing fertility and replenished desire.
This plant has been a symbol of love since Ancient Rome. It has a magical, stimulating scent that promotes blood flow. Basil is rich in manganese, Vitamin C, and folate, which are all linked to sexual health and fertility.
Ahh, the fertile, Mediterranean Coast. The Greeks have an old custom of giving newlyweds bread dipped in olive oil, to encourage conception. It’s no wonder, since olive oil is rich in antioxidants, which have amazing benefits for our body and skin. Antioxidants relax blood vessels and are associated with improved testosterone levels.
Obviously, the inside of a fig has sexual connotations, but these magical little fruits are high in amino acids, which are actually great for boosting sexual stamina and libido. Not to mention, the highly sensual scent and texture of the humble fig.
Madame du Barry, the famous mistress of King Louis XV, was rumored to feed ginger to her lovers, to set an erotic mood. Ginger is an aphrodisiac used in many cultures, as it improves blood flow and circulation (common causes of erectile dysfunction). In earlier centuries, it was said to “increase lustful yearnings”.
The Ancient Greeks believed that the Gods of Olympus drank ambrosia, a sweet nectar that conferred immortality and longevity onto all who drank it. Many historians suggest that ambrosia was a type of honey, thanks to its cleansing qualities and sweet, delicate flavour.
Honey contains boron, which has a beneficial impact on the body’s use of estrogen and testosterone. It also contains nitric oxide, which is great for improving blood flow
Legend has it that Cleopatra herself bathed in saffron-infused milk, to absorb its aphrodisiac qualities. Saffron contains a compound, crocin, that has been found to increase sexual stamina and libido. It has also been found to reduce menstrual discomfort and PMS symptoms, and it can be effective for increasing sperm motility.
Fenugreek and fenugreek extract have shown to increase sexual desire and arousal. Not surprising, since the herb contains compounds that the body can use to create sex hormones. Fenugreek is also known for its antioxidant and immunological value.
This sexy little fruit is as nourishing for your body as it is delicious. Rich in antioxidants, pomegranates can help decrease inflammation and improve blood flow throughout the body (which, again, can help with erectile dysfunction). It was also the culinary symbol of Aphrodite in Ancient Greek times, which must be a good sign.
In Ancient Rome, walnuts were given to newlyweds as a symbol of fertility. Walnuts appear as fertility symbols in many other cultures and religions too. As it turns out, these little nuts actually can help with hormone production, as they are rich in beneficial fatty acids.
Add this to the list of reasons to eat dark chocolate. Chocolate contains serotonin, which can boost your mood and provide mild sexual stimulation. It can also improve heart health and blood flow, which are crucial aspects of sex.
Lots of these foods can be found in a well-balanced Mediterranean diet. While this list is by no means exhaustive, a useful foundation is to eat foods high in antioxidants, magnesium, and zinc.