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It’s time for a lesson in food love. Can food really get us in the mood? I know we’ve all thought about marrying a Quest Bar or Quest Protein Cookie, but for reals. Is there anything to the foods that are said to double as aphrodisiacs? Let’s take a look at the top five (supposedly) sexy foods.
Chocolate is the most famous aphrodisiac. Makes sense, since it raises dopamine levels in the brain, leading to happy thoughts, positivity, and eventually, confidence. Well, recent studies looked at those who eat chocolate and those who don’t and concluded that chocolate provided no boost in libido. Chocolate does contain the chemical compounds theobromine, phenethylamine, anandamide and tryptophan—all pleasure-inducing compounds—but the truth is chocolate is only activating the same reward centers as sugar. Sorry, Chocolate Casanovas, you’re not eating the essence of eros, you’re just experiencing a sugar buzz.
While technically a root vegetable, Maca Root is one of the Peru’s oldest “performance enhancers” and one that actually has some science backing its reputation. Studies showed men suffering from mild ED had stronger desires, and women were less prone to anxiety and depression and saw the same boost in libido. Now, before you go out and buy all the maca right this second, keep in mind these were early trials and there’s still lots of research to be done.
Popularized by 18th century ambassador of love, Giacomo Casanova, oysters have been the go-to shellfish for shedding your shell. Sorry to be selfish, shellfish, but science is saying no. It is true that oysters contain lots of zinc, which produces testosterone, but studies on mice showed no link between oysters an increased performance.
Another recent addition to the field of feel-good foods is ginseng. It’s been used for decades as an antioxidant, but in 2011 ginseng was crowned as one of the true natural aphrodisiacs when a study found that red ginseng helped treat ED and increased desire and arousal in both men and women. Finally, something for women!
The word “honeymoon” comes from the tradition of giving honey to newlyweds to increase their attraction one another. While the association of the sweet substance is synonymous with similar practices, the effects of honey as a bedroom booster are a big, sticky myth. Honey is rich in vitamin B and supports testosterone and estrogen production, but not enough to create any meaningful effect. In fact, studies are showing the coitus-boosting reports of honey are nothing more than our brain’s reaction to getting a dose of sugar. Best leave this one to the birds and the bees…and flowers.
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