Foods as Aphrodisiacs: Any Scientific Evidence?

Foods as Aphrodisiacs: Any Scientific Evidence?

Food & Drink

Foods as Aphrodisiacs: Any Scientific Evidence?


By Cari Martens

Well, how about it? Is there really anything to the notion that chocolate, for instance, has an effect on the libido?

It’s a highly exaggerated reputation, food researchers say. Sure, chocolate is romantic and quite pleasurable—and there’s some evidence that it’s a mood elevator. Chocolate contains some chemicals, such as phenylethylamine, which produce feelings of euphoria.

But, as reported in a story by Sarah Kershaw, writing for the New York Times, one prominent study indicated that a 130-pound person would have to consume 25 pounds of chocolate in one sitting to significantly alter the mood. That’s a lot of Hershey’s Kisses.

Another study claims male sexual response is heightened by the scent of doughnuts—but only if it was combined with licorice. Another potent combination, the study said, was lavender and pumpkin pie.

Chili peppers quicken the pulse and induce sweating, which is kind of like the state of sexual arousal (in July and August, anyway), as well as stimulating the endorphins, which actually do induce play a role in sexual pleasure.

Foods with nutrients that could possibly enhance fertility and virility have gained more interest with researchers in recent years. Oysters are one food, long considered an aphrodisiac, that has been linked to increased sperm production, because it contains zinc. But again, you’d have to down a boatload of the slimy stuff.

The same study that discovered the connection between doughnuts and licorice in men, found that women were somewhat turned on by the scent of Good & Plenty candy when paired with cucumber. Second place: Good & Plenty with banana nut bread.

(Note to self: put Good & Plenty on shopping list.)

Other foods said to have arousal powers include: cinnamon, saffron, mint, vanilla, and guacamole. But there’s not much science to back any of it up.

Guess we’ll just have to judge for ourselves by trial and error.

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