Do Aphrodisiacs Work?

Being the confirmed sensualist that I am, I’m a true believer in the power of food to affect our moods and desires.  That said, I loved this terrific article by Diana Herrington (@DancinginLife) on the power of aphrodisiacs to affect our love life.

Do aphrodisiacs really work? Can you change your mood with food chemistry? Here are famous foods and activities known for love, the science behind them, and tasty recipes to share with your sweetie.

Aphrodisiacs

  1. Honey
  • 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.

Chocolate

  1. Chocolate

“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!

Almonds

  1. Almonds
  • 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.

Beets

  1. Beets
  • 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

  1. Garlic
  • 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

  1. Exercise
  • 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.

Licorice

  1. Licorice
  • 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.

Ginseng

  1. Ginseng
  • 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.

Basil

  1. 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? Well…yes. 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.

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I can’t say it better.  Let’s eat real food for love of our self and our loved one. And to feed all of our senses, check out this terrific Box Set from my Author’s Billboard gang.

Sweet and Sassy Heroes

 

My book in this Sweet and Sassy Heroes collection is:

Exposed Taylor Lee

EXPOSED

Prequel: The Criminal Affairs Collection

By

Taylor Lee 

 EXPOSED: The Prequel Novella in USA Today best-selling author Taylor Lee’s Sizzling Hot Detective Series, The Criminal Affairs Collection.

  • A renegade police officer infiltrates a dangerous cartel intending to take down its leader. 
  • Little does she know that the handsome Drug Lord is a special operative hotshot heading up a mission two years in the making. 
  • Learning who the outrageous woman is, the undercover commander does the only thing he can to protect the mission, and her. He claims her for his own.  

WARNING: Romance so HOT it singes the pages.  HOT, tough, explicit. Not for the faint at heart.  Definitely bring a fan!

 

7 Mind Blowing Reasons to Exercise

“IF I’D KNOWN I WAS GOING TO LIVE THIS LONG, I’D HAVE TAKEN BETTER CARE OF MYSELF.” Eubie Blake 

I’ll admit it.  I’m a health nut.  I don’t know how anyone could sit on their butt all day the way we writers do and not be concerned about their health  much less the size of their ‘butt.’

I’m a seven day a week exerciser and am seriously out of sorts if I miss a day at the gym where I do a minimum of seven miles on the elliptical and fifteen minutes on the rowing machine.  For a start!

I’ll admit, vanity is probably a bigger impetus for me than paying attention to my health, but both spur me on.  I like my toned abs, my buff arms and keeping my weight well under control.  BUT even I know that the benefits of daily exercise are more than looking good or better yet feeling good.

I like the fact that I’m warding off the big killers like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. I also like the fact that I’m improving my mind—and my spirit! And I hope, my ability to do what I love to do—write books!

“Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. “Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.”

Here’s a list of 7 Mind Blowing benefits of exercise I found in an article in US News &World Report.

  1. Reverses Detrimental Effects of Stress
  2. Lifts Depression
  3. Improves learning
  4. Enhances Self Esteem/ Improves Body Image
  5. Leaves you Feeling Euphoric
  6. Keeps the Brain Fit
  7. May Keep Alzheimer’s at bay

If these 7 Reasons don’t get you up and moving then maybe you’re of the Joan Rivers school of physical fitness.

“I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.” Joan Rivers

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