Celery may not be the first food that comes to mind when it comes to increasing sexual desire. But this crunchy, low-cal veggie contains an odorless hormone called androsterone, which, when released through male perspiration, is known to increase female sexual arousal.
Hot, spicy chilli peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical known to release endorphins and create a feeling of happiness and pleasure. Chillis can increase blood flow and heart rate, and they also stimulate nerve endings, resulting in increased sexual urges.
Dubbed the “love chemical,” the Aztec emperor Montezuma was said to consume large amounts of chocolate in an effort to enhance his sexual prowess before entering his harem. During modern times, researchers have attributed chocolate’s aphrodisiac properties to the stimulant phenylethylamine, which creates a general sense of well-being, similar to an endorphin rush.
Chocolate also releases the amino acid tryptophan, which produces the neurotransmitter serotonin. Known as “the feel-good brain hormone,” serotonin helps to stabalize mood and diminish anxiety, all great calming aides that ultimately boost sexual desire.
Originally from Syria – and allegedly Cleopatra’s fave food – this ancient, erotic, fleshy fruit replicates female genitalia in its appearance. Figs are high in amino acids, which increase libido and boost sexual stamina. In some Southern European countries wedding guests toss figs instead of rice, to encourage fertility.
Reports on the effects of ginger date back as far as Chinese philosopher, Confucius (500 B.C.), who was said to never be without the tangy herb. It is also referred to in the Kama Sutra as a powerful aphrodisiac. Fresh ginger root stimulates your circulatory system, improves blood flow to sexual organs, and contains libido-lifting Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium.
Bearing a strong resemblance to female genitalia, oysters are widely-regarded as a powerful aphrodisiac – and for good reason. High in the mineral zinc, which contributes to testosterone production, these slippery mollusks also contain D-aspartic acid, a powerful chemical that triggers the release of sex hormones.
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Jill Rachel Jacobs is a New York-based writer. In her spare time, she consumes copious amounts of almonds, asparagus and oysters.