Buying chocolates for Valentine's Day is a good idea, but why is buying chocolates with almonds even better? What fruit was banned by priests for being too sexy? And what turn-on food is known as "happy berries" in China? If you're planning a special meal for two, add these Top 10 Romantic Foods to your shopping list. Some you may know, while some may surprise you. According to experts, these foods can help excite your partner. The rest is up to you.
Chile peppers score near the top of love's leader board. Their ability to release endorphins can cause a boost in mood and surge in energy as good as a runner's high. Chile’s heat warms the body from the inside out, and has the potential for sending an urge to tear off clothing. Capsaicin, the compound that causes chile's burn, will make the tongue tingle with a need to be kissed and cause lips to swell with desirable plumpness. Most famously, chile was used as a key ingredient in the fortifying chocolate drink the great ruler Montezuma consumed to make his tongue dance and his pulse quicken in preparation for his daily visit to his beautiful concubines.
These tiny, nutrition-rich fruits are known as "happy berries" in China, where they are held in high regard for their aphrodisiac powers. It is in this nation that the berries are most often found, worked into both savory and sweet dishes and even used as the base of wine. However, as word of goji berries' nutritional prowess spreads, they are becoming increasingly available around the world. It is now known that goji berries offer a higher concentration of beta carotene than most fruits. Also, clinical tests have shown their potency for treating metabolic syndrome, a precursor to erectile dysfunction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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....