Love has not always been associated with mushy cards, cuddly toys or helium filled balloons. The cheesy element aside, it has been intimately associated with food for centuries. Montezuma drank 50 cups of chocolate every day to boost his virility before visiting his harem of 600 women. Casanova swore by oysters, along with Champagne and chocolate, and managed to seduce a nun or two using this particular combination. Nineteenth century bride-grooms were given not one, not two, but three courses of asparagus on their wedding day due to its aphrodisiac properties. Here are some of our favourite foods historically considered to have aphrodisiac powers:
· Caviar: it’s high in zinc, which stimulates the formation of testosterone and also appears to have qualities that promote nerve cell activity, which can heighten our romantic feelings. It’s powers are enhanced when taken with vodka apparently…
· Truffles: these contain a chemical that is similar to the male pig sex hormone. This is why sows are used to search them out. The chemical in truffles is also similar to a human male sex hormone, which gives truffles their romantic reputation.
· Chocolate: this traditional food of love contains a mild central nervous system stimulant that helps heighten mood, as well as a sedative which relaxes and lowers inhibitions. Chocolate was actually banned from some monasteries centuries ago.
· Asparagus: according to a 17th -century herbalist, asparagus 'stirs up lust in man and woman.'
· Coffee: coffee drinkers are reportedly more sexually active than non-coffee drinkers. Perhaps because they stay awake longer at night?
· Radishes: celebrated as aphrodisiacs by the ancient Egyptians, probably because of their spicy flavour.
· Garlic: the heat in garlic supposedly fires the flames of passion…
· Banana: some studies show its enzyme bromelain enhances male performance.
· Alcohol: in moderate quantities it lowers inhibitions and increases confidence; however too much will have you snoozing instead of schmoozing.
· Champagne: the lovers’ tipple, a glass or two will lower inhibitions and cause a warm glow in the body; too much could burst your bubble.
· Figs: these exotic delicacies were celebrated by ancient Greeks
· Scents and smells: a recent survey in America showed that the smell of pumpkin pie was the most sexually stimulating aroma in younger men and that vanilla had the same effect in older men. Whatever that means in terms of our men-folk here, the smells of natural foodstuffs such as almond, vanilla and other herbs and spices can act as a pheromone to communicate emotions by smell.
· Oysters: some oysters repeatedly change their sex from male to female and back, giving rise to claims that the oyster lets one experience both the masculine and feminine sides of love.
· Tomatoes: called "love apples" in the Renaissance – enough said
· Spam: my favourite, allegedly relished by post-WWII Italians (yikes).
Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.