Valentine’s Day is almost upon us (dontcha love it!), and it is certainly a time when the heart and taste buds mingle in (what one hopes) is perfect harmony. But what are these foods of love and how do they work? I pondered upon this riddle for a while as I thought about what foods were the most amorous and then came upon a very cool website that appeared to have all of the answers, howstuffworks.com. And so I perused this site and discovered some very interesting things about some very interesting foods. So, if you are cooking up a dish for your loved one, or going out to eat, be mind (or heart) full of some of these ingredients, and you are sure to warm the cockles of the heart of your Valentine.
Aniseed:Also known as anise, the ancient Greeks and Romans believed that you could increase desire by sucking on anise seeds. Aniseed does include estrogenic compounds (female hormones), which have been reported to induce similar effects to testosterone.
Bananas: This fruit is rich in potassium and B vitamins, which are said to be necessary for sex-hormone production.
Basil (sweet basil): For centuries, people said that basil stimulated the sex drive and boosted fertility, as well as producing a general sense of well-being. The scent of basil was said to drive men wild — so much so that women would dust their breasts with dried and powdered basil. Basil is one of the many reported aphrodisiacs that may have the property of promoting circulation.
Cardamom: This is an aromatic spice. Certain cultures deem it a powerful aphrodisiac, and also claim it is beneficial in treating impotence. It is high in cineole, which can increase blood flow in areas where it is applied.
Chocolate: This sweet has forever been associated with love and romance. It was originally found in the South American rainforests. The Mayan civilizations worshipped the Cacao tree and called it “food of the gods.” Rumor has it that the Aztec ruler Montezuma drank 50 goblets of chocolate each day to enhance his sexual abilities. Researchers have studied chocolate and found it to contain phenyl ethylamine and serotonin, which are both “feel good” chemicals. They occur naturally in our bodies and are released by our brains when we are happy or feeling loving or passionate. It produces a euphoric feeling, like when you’re in love.
Chili Peppers. Eating chili peppers generates physiological responses in our bodies (e.g., sweating, increased heart rate and circulation) that are similar to those experienced when having sex.
Ginger. People have deemed ginger root an aphrodisiac for centuries because of its scent and because it stimulates the circulatory system.
Honey. In medieval times, people drank mead, a fermented drink made from honey, to promote sexual desire. In ancient Persia, couples drank mead every day for a month (known as the “honey month” — a.k.a. “honeymoon”) after they married in order to get in the right frame of mind for a successful marriage. Honey is rich in B vitamins.
Oysters: Romans documented oysters as aphrodisiacs in the second century A.D. They are known to be high in zinc, which has been associated with improving sexual potency in men.
Papaya: Like aniseed it is estrogenic, meaning it has compounds that act as the female hormone estrogen.
So there you have it, a few foodstuffs that are sure to raise the temperature on February 14th. I myself will be enjoying some oysters flavored with basil and cardamom, and preparing a chocolate covered banana, with sliced papaya, spiced up with a chili-ginger sauce, dripped with a touch of honey, and chewing on some aniseed as a breath freshener afterwards.
Mirror Contributing Writer[email protected]