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Aphrodisiac Foods Spice Up your Love Life

Named for the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, aphrodisiacs are foods and other items that are thought to enhance one’s love life. The idea that certain foods can do this is a phenomenon that goes back centuries. It is said, for example, that Madame Pompadour ate vanilla and truffles to increase her desire for Louis XIV during the 17th century and there is even evidence that the ancient Romans used unusual foodstuffs to entice their desire for one another.

Generally, foods that are exotic in nature or that resemble “certain” body parts are often lumped into the aphrodisiac category. But the U.S. FDA says there are really no foods that are truly aphrodisiacs. That’s okay, say most psychologists. It may just be a mind-over-matter issue. In most cases, if people think they’re eating foods that might increase their libido and liven up their night, chances are they’ll experience a few more frisky feelings. Furthermore, some of these foods may just happen to contain vitamins and minerals that aid the body in many ways.

Throughout the centuries, certain foods have remained on the aphrodisiac list and seem to appear on Valentine’s Day menus worldwide. If you’re planning an at-home Valentine dinner for your loved one, consider including some of these favorites.

Asparagus – Considered a phallic symbol by some ancient cultures because of its shape, asparagus is a tasty vegetable that is low in calories and a good source of potassium and fiber. For a tasty dish, simply steam fresh asparagus and serve them with classic Hollandaise sauce.

Avocado – Ancient Aztecs referred to avocado trees as “testicle trees” because the fruits hang in pairs from the branches. The main ingredient in guacamole, avocados can also be used in salads or simply sliced and drizzled with oil and vinegar.

Bananas – Also included on this list because of their shape, bananas may actually enhance libido by providing large amounts of potassium and vitamin B. Eat them plain or make them into a yummy dessert, like Bananas Foster, a hot dish made with rum and often served with vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate – What could be more appropriate for Valentine’s Day! The chemicals in chocolate are believed to affect the brain’s neurotransmitters and to produce a substance similar to caffeine, providing more energy and, hence, more stamina. So, don’t be afraid to buy that big heart-shaped box of chocolates!

Figs – It has long been believed that this fruit resembles a woman’s sexual organs, hence, its connection with lovemaking and the idea that eating them would enhance the sex act. Today, you can eat them alone, put them on green salads, or stuff them with sweet ricotta or mascarpone cheese. Yum!

Honey – The Egyptians believed honey could cure sterility and the word “honeymoon” is believed to have originated from a Northern European custom which encouraged newlyweds to drink “mead”, a honeyed wine, every day for the first month of their marriage. Today, most people put this sugary product in their tea or use it in baking.

Nutmeg – The ancient Chinese have long considered this spice an aphrodisiac and would include it in soups and beverages. Consumed in large quantities, it can be a hallucinogen. So, just sprinkle a little on your favorite creamed soup or over your baked acorn squash.

Strawberries/raspberries – Good for dessert after a heavy meal, this ripe red fruits have been likened to the nipples of the breast. Most people enjoy eating them as is, but you can certainly add some sugar or even dip them in chocolate and hand-feed them to your love.

Vanilla – The story of vanilla as an aphrodisiac goes make to Mexican folklore. It is said that the daughter of the Mexican fertility goddess was in love with a commoner, but couldn’t marry him because of her status, so she turned herself into a plant that would “provide pleasure and happiness.” Hmm…