Do aphrodisiacs really work? Can you change your mood with food chemistry? According to Diana Harrington,Head Chef at Real Food for Life, they sure can!
Here are famous foods and activities known for love, the science behind them, and tasty recipes to share with your sweetie.
• Honey is a great source of boron, the mineral that helps the body metabolize estrogen, the female sex hormone.
• Studies show that boron may also increase testosterone, the hormone responsible for promoting sex drive in both men and women.
• Medieval hopefuls drank mead, a fermented honey drink, to promote sexual desire.
• Ancient Persian couples drank mead every day for a month (known as the “honey month”–a.k.a. “honeymoon”) after they married to prepare for a successful family life.
Tip: Start the morning with Honey Syrup on pancakes or waffles.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz
• Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which mimics the brain chemistry of a person in love. It also promotes serotonin production. Together they give you a hormone rush that feels like the rush of love or love making.
• There are other foods that may contain more of these ingredients (like cheese) but who cares? Chocolate tastes so good!
• The problem with chocolate is that you risk a sugar crash, putting a damper on your “happily ever after.”
Tip: Create Homemade Walnut Dark Chocolate, a healthy choice since it has no refined sugar unhealthy oils, or preservatives!
• Through history, almonds were regarded as fertility symbols.
• The aroma of almond supposedly arouses passion in females–or so thought the poets and scribes.
• Almonds provide high doses of vitamin E, magnesium and even fiber.
Tip: Share some Almond Milk that you made yourself with love.
• One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac.
• Beets contain high levels of nitrates which increase blood flow by expanding blood vessels walls. Increased blood flow to the genital areas is one of the mechanisms Viagra and other pharmaceuticals create their effects.
• Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
• Beets have a host of other health benefits.
• Garlic is full of allicin, another ingredient that will also increase blood flow.
• In eastern traditions monks and priests are not allowed to eat garlic (or onions) because they are particularly stimulating.
• Garlic has a host of other health benefits, many of which boost your immune system.
• The obvious trouble with this food is that unless your partner is also a garlic eater, they might not like your smell!
• Exercise doesn’t sound romantic unless it’s a “moonlit walk on the beach.” But it turns out, exercise is so good for the body, that it triggers romantic moods, as well.
• During vigorous activity, endorphins–the ”feel good” chemicals–are released. They can feel like a rush of love.
• Exercise increases blood flow to the whole body and thus like beets and garlic, can increase moods and desire.
• Exercise and building muscle mass also usually increases testosterone levels.
Tip: Go for a walk together. What better way to deepen your love then while connecting with nature.
• In ancient China, people used licorice to enhance love and lust.
• The smell appears to be particularly stimulating.
• Alan R. Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Tip: Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, conducted a study that looked at how different smells stimulated sexual arousal. He found that the smell of black licorice increased the blood flow to the genital area by 13 percent.
• Asian ginseng is an adaptogen, or a substance that helps keep proper hormone balance in your body.
• Ginseng, helps moderate the harmful effects of stress, enhances your energy and stamina and may improve your sexual function.
• Caution: Because ginseng has an estrogen-like effect, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take it. Although ginseng is not a kitchen food in the west, it is so well known and universally used that I have included it.
9. Sweet Basil
• Sweet basil herb is known across cultures to naturally increase sex drive and fertility by fostering a feeling of total relaxation in the body and muscles while increasing circulation.
• In Italy, it is a symbol of love.
• The scent of basil was said to drive men wild–so much so that women would dust their breasts with dried and powdered basil.
Is it all in your head?
Each of these foods and activities can affect your chemistry but the effects are often subtle.
If we are cued for love though, even a boost of energy from carbs could be perceived as an emotion or an attractive force. The body then enhances that effect since it can manufacture any number of its own mood enhancing brain and body hormones.
“Money is a powerful aphrodisiac. But flowers work almost as well.” Lazarus Long
This is why western science officially states that there are no effective aphrodisiacs. Scientists are looking for something as powerful and immediate as steroids or Viagra.
But why would we want to use those strong drugs when we could simply have fun eating real food that will enhance our health? An attractive happy body and mind comes from a healthy body and mind.
I say let’s eat real food for love of our self and our loved one.
For more great ideas on food, life and love, check out, Diana J Herrington @DancinginLife
And if you want some ideas on how to drive your sexy lover crazy, you can’t go wrong with RUBY, a woman who really knows her stuff!