What do Cleopatra and Casanova have in common? They both indulged in aphrodisiacs.
Raw oysters sucked right out of their shells. Buttery foie gras melting on the tongue. Salty caviar pearls bursting between your teeth.
Whether these sexy treats have the magical, mood-enhancing properties ascribed to them or not, it is certain that certain foods boost the immune system and are chock-full of nutrients and vitamins such as B and E that enhance our physical well-being and good looks.
After all, isn't attractiveness generally associated with the vibrant skin and fit look that comes from eating a healthy diet?
Here are our selection of the top aphrodisiacs you should try now. Find out which of these romantic foods rev your lover's engine.
Almonds We are nuts about almonds. Although they don't look particularly sexy (although almond-shaped eyes certainly do), they have been regarded as fertility symbols throughout antiquity. And we suppose, there's something about these dry little nuts that recalls, well, testes.
The aroma of almonds supposedly arouses passion in females — or so thought the poets and scribes of bygone eras. French writer Alexandre Dumas, the author of The Count of Monte Cristo, dined on almond soup every night before meeting his mistress. And Samson wooed Delilah with these tasty nuts, which lower cholesterol and provide abundant doses of vitamin E, magnesium and fiber to improve your general well-being. So you can keep going, and going, and going....
Asparagus Our love affair with this member of the Lily family dates back hundreds of years. Asparagus "stirs up lust in man and woman," wrote English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper in the 17th century. In 19th-century France, bridegrooms were served three courses of the sexy spears at their prenuptial dinner.
Apparently for a good reason: asparagus is a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin and folic acid. The latter is said to boost histamine production necessary for the ability to reach orgasm in both sexes.
Avocadoes Avocados are va-va-voom. But despite their voluptuous and feminine shape (here's a Rorschach question: without the pit, an avocado resembles a ...?), they have been associated with male sexuality. In fact, the Aztecs' name for the avocado tree was Ahuacuatl, “testicle tree.And indeed, we can agree with the ancients who thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled a dude's "crown jewels."
But not everyone was cool with the idea. The Spanish, in fact, found avocados so obscenely sexy, that Catholic priests prohibited their consumption. Be sure to load up on the nutrient-rich fruit (guacamole, anyone?). While the creamy, cancer-fighting goodness packs in the calories, it's also high in folic acid, vitamin B6, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids and oleic acid, which fights "bad" cholesterol.
Yes, the green-skinned delight is high in fat, but guys, you need fat for your body to make testosterone.
Bananas This shapely and nutritious fruit is a complete meal, loaded with potassium, magnesium and B vitamins. It also contains chelating minerals and the bromelain enzyme, said to enhance the male libido — maybe that’s why Central Americans drink the sap of the red banana as an aphrodisiac, while Hindus regard it as a symbol of fertility. A banana left on a doorstep indicates that a marriage is about to take place. Bananas made an early appearance in the Garden of Eden; according to Islamic myth, Adam and Eve covered themselves not with fig but banana leaves.
Basil This fragrant member of the mint family has an alluring aroma; so alluring, in fact, it can cure headaches. Hint, hint. All kinds of headaches. No wonder the Greeks regarded it as their royal herb.
Its botanical name is derived from the Greek "to be fragrant." Basil has a warming effect on the body and promotes circulation. In some parts of Italy, basil is a love-token.
Chocolate Why does eating chocolate make us so happy? It's a chemical thing. The "food of the gods" contains theobromine, a stimulating alkaloid similar to caffeine. Chocolate also helps the brain produce feel-good serotonin. Be sure to indulge in the dark variety — it contains incredible amounts of antioxidants, whereas milk chocolate is just that: milk and sugar with trace amounts of cocoa.
Eggs The egg is one of the most ancient fertility symbols. Eggs are high in B6 and B5, which help you balance hormone levels and fight stress. Raw chicken eggs eaten before sex are considered to enhance one’s libido. But we’re talking eggs of all sorts, fish or fowl. Think of the way caviar gently bursts in your mouth or the delicacy of little darling quail eggs.
Figs Said to be Cleopatra's favorite food, the sweet, purple fruits are sexy in both appearance and texture. For obvious reasons, they've been a synonym in erotic literature for female sexual organs. To the ancient Greeks, they were "more precious than gold" and many cultures associated figs with fertility.
Foie Gras One of the most luxurious foods, foie gras is controversial, expensive, decadent and sought the world over. Like diamonds, furs and Champagne, it is associated with fine living, and both its buttery texture and mythical status are sure to put you in a sexy mood.
Oysters These mouthwatering mollusks are the classic aphrodisiac. And, there's research to support it: raw oysters are very high in zinc, which raises sperm and testosterone production, thus increasing libido. Like some fish, oysters contain omega-3 fatty acids, considered to increase one's overall well-being and even fight depression. They are also a source of dopamine. No wonder Casanova ate 50 raw oysters every day.
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