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Aphrodisiacs can help 'spice up' the New Year

The Savory Spice Shop on Main Street in Old Town Littleton
The Savory Spice Shop on Main Street in Old Town Littleton
Photo courtesy of the Savory Spice Shop

Looking for some entertaining and creative ways to help ‘spice up’ your sex life? How about giving the ancient practice of using aphrodisiac foods a try?

Caviar and chocolate are usually the first things that come to mind when we think of decadent foods that put us in a romantic mood. But are you aware that there’s quite an impressive lists of delicious foods that for centuries hopeful romantics have used to help lure their lovers to the bedroom.

Top Ten List of Aphrodisiac Foods:

Asparagus. That’s right, asparagus! It tops the list of aphrodisiac foods and its history goes a long way back. It’s been said that in the 17th century, English herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper, once wrote that asparagus "stirs up lust in man and woman." This started the frenzy of eating substantial amounts of asparagus in hopes of increasing ones sex drive. To add to the growing popularity and fascination of this strange looking vegetable, in 19th century France, a tradition to serve this vegetable to bridegrooms at their prenuptial dinners became commonplace and expected.

Almonds. Not surprisingly, almonds have always been regarded as fertility symbols and it’s said that the sweet aroma of almond arouses passion in females. Hmmm, now that’s an interesting theory.

Avocados. By just looking at the shape of an avocado, you can see why it’s associated with sexuality and fertility. Supposedly the Aztecs called the avocado ahuacuatl, or "testicle tree" as they thought that when the fruit would hang on the tree in pairs, that it resembled part of the male anatomy. It was also rumored that Catholic priests in Spain found this fruit so sexually obscene that it was forbidden by the Church.

Bananas. Obviously due to its unusual shape we can see why the banana is always connection with sex, but this delicious fruit is also loaded with chelating minerals and the bromeliad enzyme which both are said to enhance the male libido.

Basil. Basil has an amazingly sweet aroma that many believe has an aphrodisiac effect. You’d be wise to follow the lead of the Greeks and Italians who have used it for centuries to spice up their cuisine as well their sex lives.

Chocolate. Dark chocolate is undeniably the king of natural aphrodisiacs because it contains a host of compounds including anandamide, the feel-good chemical, and phenylethylamine (PEA), which has been labeled the "love chemical," which causes a release of dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain. The history of chocolate or rather the cocoa bean, goes back some 1500 years, but it was the Spanish technique of mixing the ground roasted cocoa beans with sugar and vanilla to make a delicious powder. With the discovery of cocoa butter and then the added ingenuity of the Dutch, English, French and of course the Swiss, over time cocoa eventually evolved into the scrumptious chocolate treats that we enjoy today. Chocolate is called the ‘God of aphrodisiacs’ and most will agree, that title is well-deserved.

Figs. This sweet tasting fruit has long been thought of as an arousing stimulant and even the ancient Greeks held them as sacred and associated them with love and fertility. It was once even suggested that the delicious fig was Cleopatra’s most favorite fruit.

Garlic. It may have surprised you that garlic made the top 10 list, but this wonderful little clove that dates back more than 6,000 years has been used for centuries to spice up varieties of foods.

Oysters. There’s no question that oysters would rank high on the list as they are probably the food most associated with being an aphrodisiac and nearly everyone is aware of their reputation for increasing sexual desire.

Honey. It’s so easy to see why this is the number one aphrodisiac foods on the list! Its sweet tasting and sticky and… need I say more? Honey is also a great source of boron, a trace mineral that assists the body by metabolizing the female sex hormone estrogen. Recent studies have shown that this mineral may also help to increase testosterone levels in the blood, thus encouraging the sex drive and orgasm in both men and women.

So now you’ve seen the top ten list but maybe you’re the type of person who likes to color outside the lines. Perfect! How about cooking up a dish for that special someone that’s more on the spicy side? Get creative and add some zing to your cooking! Spices have been used for centuries to help increase the libido and to boost fertility. Cilantro, cayenne peppers, cinnamon, garlic, ginger and nutmeg have long been used to help intensify the flavor of foods and their popularity is increasing as research has shown that some of these spices actually have wonderful health benefits as well.

If you don’t have a favorite saucy recipe on hand you’ll have no problem finding something new and scrumptious as there’s an assortment of fantastic zesty recipes to be found. Do some research and check out the latest cookbooks that have just hit the shelves at Boarders or The Tattered Cover Book Store. If you’re looking to make it an entertaining read as well as informative, one interesting cookbook that you might find fun is Fork me, spoon me: the sensual cookbook by Amy Reiley. This amusing cookbook comes complete with delicious ‘sexy’ recipes and Amy’s humorous and suggestive commentary throughout the book will be sure to get your kitchen or bedroom a little steamy.

So you think you have the perfect recipe but you can’t find that one perfect, specific spice at your local neighborhood market? Check out the Savory Spice Shop. The Savory Spice Shop carries more than 140 seasonings that are hand blended on-site in addition to numerous extracts and sauces. Any particular spice, whether it’s common or more on the unusual side, will be sure to be found at this unique shop.

Though the question of ‘if’ aphrodisiacs really work will always remain, but there’s really no harm in giving some of them a try. Why not plan an intimate and romantic evening with your lover and enjoy a delicious, spicy meal. You never know what it may lead to. Bon Appétit.

Source: Cambridge World History of Food

 

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