The word "aphrodisiac" comes from Greek mythology's goddess of love Aphrodite. The definition of the word is "a substance that arouses sexual desire", and although the scientific world is not convinced as to whether or not there are such things as natural aphrodisiacs, the general population has believed it to be true for centuries. Aphrodisiacs have been used throughout history to help infertility, spice up one's sex life, aid in seduction, and increase potency.
In ancient times, nutrition was very much linked to a person's sex drive because food was not as readily available as it is now. It is a fact that when a person is not properly nourished they often suffer from a low libido. Greeks such as Dioscordes from the first century AD documented certain foods thought to increase libido (and in turn fertility rates) because of their natural representation of the male "seed" such as eggs, snails, and bulbs.
These days, aphrodisiac foods generally fall into two categories - those which create arousal by conjuring up sexual imagery (visually and through texture), and food which produces an ingredient increasing blood flow and therefore libido.
Foods which create a link in the mind to sex by their appearance are not hard to find; strawberries, bananas, melons and figs are a few examples. These foods visually replicate male and female sexual organs and thus can have an effect, especially subconscious, on the brain's thought patterns. Food texture is also thought to be very important as an aphrodisiac; the sensuous feel or rich taste of food in the mouth creating sexual desire. These foods include chocolate, honey, grapes, avocado and especially chocolate covered strawberries.
A main ingredient in foods that increase libido through their chemical make up is zinc. Zinc has been proven to have an effect on libido, as has Vitamin B, and certain stimulants in moderation like caffeine and alcohol. Oysters have long been considered THE aphrodisiacal food - they are a visual stimulant, they have a sensuous feel in the mouth, and they are high in zinc.
More Aphrodisiacal Foods:
Aniseed: Used as far back as the Greeks and Romans who believed it had special powers. Sucking on the seeds is said to increase desire.
Almonds: Have been a fertility symbol throughout history. The aroma is said to arouse females.
Arugula: This "rocket seed" has been documented since the 1st century A.D.
Avocado: Aztecs called the avocado tree "Ahuacuatl", which translates into "testicle tree". Avocados also have a sensual texture.
Bananas: Obvious in their phallic shape, bananas are also high in vitamin B and potassium, both needed for the production of sexual hormones.
Chocolate: Contains chemicals thought to effect neurotransmitters in the brain - also high in antioxidants.
Coffee: In small amounts, caffeine is a stimulant, but too much and it becomes a depressant.
Fennel: A source of natural plant estrogens. The Egyptians used fennel as a libido enhancer.
Ginger: Stimulant for the circulatory system.
Mustard: Thought to stimulate the sexual glands.
Nutmeg: Thought of by Chinese women as an aphrodisiac; in high quantities it can produce a hallucinogenic quality.
Pine Nuts: Also high in zinc.
Pineapple: High in vitamin C and used in homeopathy as a treatment for impotence.
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