Here in my club, we believe there are 365 days (or in this year’s case 366 days) a year to celebrate love, passion and sensuality. That’s why we’re keeping the February love alive with this playful and informative guest post by our favorite Nutritionist Jackie McCaffrey. Jackie helps us take a look at some culinary aphrodisiacs and separates the facts from the myths. Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from savoring these delicious treats, whether on your fabulous own or with someone you can be playful with.
I love to be excited. And I love to feel sexy. There are many ways that I can achieve both of these feelings but being a nutritionist, I like to play with my food. I wanted to dig deeper into foods that can heighten both my excitement and my sexuality and so I did a little research on some of the classic aphrodisiacs and whether there is any merit behind the myths.
We’ve all, at one time or another, raised an eyebrow and had a little smirk when our date ordered oysters to go with our chilled vodka martini. We know that oysters can often be a precursor for the sexy fun that may come later in the evening, but is it the oysters themselves or just the sexy indulgence of eating the oysters and sipping booze that put us in the mood? From the studies I found, there are no direct links to throwing back an oyster and a raise in libido. That said, oysters are an incredible source of zinc. Zinc, as a friend of mine so eloquently says, is good for the dink. Adequate zinc is needed for sperm production and hormone metabolism and when men are deficient in this trace mineral, sperm quality is negatively affected and levels of testosterone decrease, resulting in lowered sexual capacity and drive.
Picture this: a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, a bearskin rug. If that isn’t already enough to put you in the mood, then I don’t know what is! Chocolate has long been touted as a replacement for sex so does that mean that eating it will also get our engines running? Yes, as it turns out, but only when we consume it in its raw form. Raw cocao contains a compound called Phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA’s are considered the love drug. That is to say, PEA’s are the chemical our body produces when we fall in love! PEA has a unique rapid uplifting effect on mood, motivation, creativity, energy, stamina, physical activity, pleasurable feelings, sexuality, and sensory perceptions. The key is that you need to consume it raw as chocolate loses the PEA’s in the roasting process. Make yourself some pudding using raw cocao powder and see where the night takes you.
Aye carumba! Nothing gets me hot like something spicy in my mouth and it turns out that there is a legitimate reason for that. Hot chillies contain capsaicin, which stimulates the circulation and, in turn, the genitals to give a feeling of sexual excitement. Also, researchers say that eating hot peppers release endorphins, which are involved in love chemistry. Under no circumstances should you put hot chillies on or near the genitals. I hope I don’t need to say that, but I’ve heard some crazy stories.
In the holistic foods world, Maca is often touted as a Superfood, which it really is. It’s a Peruvian food and member of the cruciferous family of plants. Maca is also considered an adaptogen, which helps the body adapt to stress and is linked to an increase in energy and libido. There is no doubt that the nutritional properties of maca are backed up by the studies I’ve found, but I will say that the evidence on whether it helps with sexual libido is 50/50. Some studies did find an increase in sexual activity when taking maca and others did not. Perhaps like all things, some foods react differently in some individuals than in others. Maybe we should start our own little study group?
Avocados make me think of sitting on a beach, drinking a margarita, eating guacamole and watching the sunset with my sweetie. Not only is the avocado an incredibly healthy fat that helps give our body energy, it is a rich source of zinc and vitamin E both of which are a vital part of sexual health. They maintain and restore the sex organs, help in the rejuvenation of sex glands and perk up sexual expression, enjoyment and lovemaking. In other words, they maintain male and female health by promoting normal function of the reproductive systems.
Wolfe D. Superfoods. The Food and Medicine of the Future. North Atlantic Books. 2009.