It is believed that aphrodisiacs are foods and substances with the ability to increase libido (sex drive) by chemical means. But whether they really exist is a difficult question that can be answered both yes and no at the same time.
To help understand the work of aphrodisiacs, 7Days.ru was asked by Natalia Denisova, Ph.D., dietitian at the Federal Research Center for Nutrition, Biotechnology and Food Safety.
Are there aphrodisiac foods?
At first, only plants with properties to enhance sexual desire were considered aphrodisiacs, and then foods and smells were added to this group. Much has been written about aphrodisiacs, but opinions vary. Someone believes that they help, and someone – that they do not, for someone a specific product will be effective, and someone does not feel any effect at all.
“If a person believes in aphrodisiacs, then in this case the placebo effect is activated,” explains Natalya Denisova. – I.e. he is tuned in and believes that the product activates the libido, and this works. The body is programmed for the appropriate result.
Most doctors are still sure that real aphrodisiac products do not exist, the expert continues. Thus, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes that aphrodisiacs are more a part of human history, a kind of folklore than a real medical phenomenon. Back in 1989, the FDA said there was no scientific evidence that aphrodisiacs increased libido.
However, people do not stop looking for magical products that make sex life brighter.
From a scientific point of view, foods rich in zinc and selenium can be aphrodisiacs – these are the elements necessary for the synthesis of testosterone. In addition to them, these are foods high in vitamins A, B1, C and E and another important group – foods rich in complete proteins and useful polyunsaturated fatty acids.
It must be understood that these products are not directly related to arousal, they do not affect as quickly as, for example, drugs for potency. Rather, they can promote sexual desire, improve reproductive health.
In addition, not a single aphrodisiac will work in a weakened body. Therefore, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle are key factors for a vibrant sex life, the doctor adds.
Products that promote libido
Strawberry. A source of pleasure hormones – endorphins, which not only improves mood, but also increases attraction to a partner. The berry has a rich composition, it contains a lot of antioxidants and vitamin C, zinc.
Mushrooms. Rich in protein and zinc – these are sources of sexual energy. Delicious truffles and morels are considered effective.
But mushrooms are heavy food. There are practically no enzymes in the body that can digest this product. Even a noble porcini mushroom can be absorbed by the body by a maximum of 20 percent.
Oysters and other seafood. They contain a lot of zinc, which increases the production and mobility of spermatozoa, improves metabolism and stimulates blood circulation in the genital area. Oysters also saturate the body with dopamine – the hormone of pleasure.
By the way, the effectiveness directly depends on the method of preparation of these products – the most noticeable will be the effect of raw oysters with lemon juice.
Also, do not forget that seafood is a powerful allergen, so you need to eat them with caution.
Dates. It has long been a well-known aphrodisiac. Ancient Arabic books say that dates were able to give strength even to the elderly. It was believed that the effect of the fruits extends to women.
Dates increase endurance, saturate with energy, increase mobility and sperm count due to the high content of vitamins and minerals, increase libido.
However, dates contain a large amount of mono- and disaccharides, so you should not abuse them. And for people with diabetes, they are not suitable at all.
Spices. Stimulate blood flow to the reproductive organs. Various spices are useful, there are aphrodisiacs among them: cardamom, curry, ginger or red pepper. They contain almost all existing vitamins, are rich in antioxidants.
If dinner is seasoned with these spices, then the dishes will increase blood circulation, tone up the body and, according to some scientists, accelerate metabolic processes in the body.
In this case, any spices in any combination are useful. Focus on your taste.
Artichokes. It has long been considered aphrodisiacs. So, for example, thought the Romans and the ancient Greeks. This flower improves blood flow, including to the genitals.
Red wine. Contains a large amount of natural antioxidants, promotes the production of hormones of pleasure.
Alcoholic beverages should be consumed wisely. A glass of good dry wine, a glass of liquor or a cocktail at the right moment can provoke desire, but if you overdo it a little, the effect will be the opposite.
Black chocolate. It increases the concentration of the hormone of happiness, as a result of which, under appropriate conditions, desire also increases. In addition, theobromine, theophylline and caffeine alkaloids have a stimulating effect on the central nervous and cardiovascular systems.
Chocolate is a high-calorie product, do not forget that the maximum daily dose is 30-50 grams.
Red or black caviar. They have a positive effect on libido, as they are rich in zinc, selenium and iodine.
Natural caviar is very useful. In addition to protein, it contains a lot of amino acids, minerals, vitamins A, D, C, PP, B2, B6, B12. Nourishes, promotes excitation and does not cause the slightest feeling of heaviness in the stomach.
Of the negative qualities, the high content of table salt in canned caviar is noted. Therefore, it is also better not to abuse it.
Garlic and onion. Bad candidates for a romantic dinner, because have a specific smell. But they contain zinc, vitamins C, E, B, PP, as well as iodine, iron, copper and essential oils – this is a useful set for male potency.
Garlic also contains the substance allicin – the most powerful antioxidant known, and in addition, it also promotes blood flow to the genitals. And by the way, eating these products directly on a date is not necessary. If they are simply present in your diet, it will already have an effect.
Egg whites. Stimulates the formation of testosterone. Chicken and quail eggs are the best source of easily digestible protein. And that’s why they deserve the title of a powerful stimulant. Vitamins B5 and B6 in eggs are needed to regulate hormones and help the body with stress.
Nuts and seeds. It is best to stimulate the synthesis of testosterone, accelerate the formation of spermatozoa. Nuts are quickly absorbed by the body and saturate with the energy necessary for love. Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts and sesame seeds deserve special attention.
These nuts are high in protein, vitamin E, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and healthy fatty acids. Vitamin E is especially isolated – it stimulates the functioning of the pituitary gland and is responsible for the functioning of the reproductive system, including the genital organs.
Avocado. The fruit is rich in protein and vitamin B6, which makes it a serious competitor to meat. Moreover, avocado does not leave a feeling of heaviness in the stomach and drowsiness, like, for example, a steak.
Avocados also contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, potassium, vitamins A, D, E, PP – all this is an excellent basis for a romantic dinner.
Female and male aphrodisiacs
“Most aphrodisiacs “do not distinguish” between men and women and equally contribute to the libido of both sexes,” says Natalya Denisova. “Meanwhile, experts in the field of sexual relations tend to conditionally classify aphrodisiacs into female and male pathogens.”
For example, for men, such products are called: shellfish, which stimulate the production of testosterone, as well as greens of root vegetables, especially parsley. Nuts also have a positive effect on the male reproductive system. From drinks – coffee, which tones up, increases stamina and excites.
According to experts, more sophisticated aphrodisiacs are suitable for women. These are mainly sweets and fruits, as well as some smells and special music – these are emotional stimulants-irritants. Foods such as chocolate, strawberries or a glass of red wine help to relax the female brain.
A woman’s libido is perfectly stimulated by celery. Not the most romantic product, but it contains androsterone, a specific hormone secreted by the male body during physical exertion, including during sexual activity. Women respond to androsterone with increased arousal.