Some foods are supposed to have aphrodisiac qualities — and chefs have special dishes to get the mood right
Looking for some food that will help get you in the mood for love? There are mythical foods that have been associated with love and fertility and have been around for centuries. Believe in their powers or not, here are some that might perk up your romantic date ….
Dark chocolate is the thing. It’s reputation as an aphrodisiac goes back to the Aztec ruler Montezuma, who supposedly drank upto 50 cups of the chocolate drink before heading to his harem. Well, there is no need to consume as much chocolate as Montezuma. Chocolate contains caffeine, theobramine and pheyethylamine, a sort of ‘love chemical’, said to be an anti-depressant.
Priyam Kumar, Head Chef of United Coffee House Rewind recommends his favourite pick of an aphrodisiac-based food i.e. ‘Chocolate Plum Pudding with Strawberry and Custard’— a rich, indulgent dessert concocted with the two key ingredients that is bound to be as powerful as it is delicious.
Experts say that cinnamon heats up the body, which in turn boosts your sex drive. It has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in normalising blood sugar too. Try crushed cinnamon in a glass of milk before going to bed and enjoy the results!
Ginger is known to increase circulation and body temperature, which helps in stimulating the desire.
Did you know that watermelon can set the right mood? It is said, the fruity flesh closest to the rind causes blood vessels to expand and contract and that really helps.
Fennel’s nutrients are said to have the same effects as estrogen and have been rumoured to increase breast size.
It’s no surprise that when vanilla became commercially available in the early 1900s, it heralded its use as a perfume.
Pomegranates, eaten regularly by Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love, are said to be a wonderful, stimulating ancient fruit.
Adam and Eve wore fig leaves and Cleopatra is fabled to have called figs her favourite fruit. Is it to do with their voluptuous shape, sweet dark flesh and honey scent?
Pine nuts have been used to stimulate the libido as far back as medieval times and are back. These earthy nuts are well-endowed with the miracle-working mineral.
Experts say, asparagus is considered to be a great source of folic acid which boosts histamine production. For its aphrodisiac properties, it is said that bridegrooms in the 19th century were served various course meal of asparagus at the prenuptial dinner.
Well, it’s not just about the shape but bananas contain chelating minerals and bromeliad enzymes which are said to enhance the male libido. They are also loaded with potassium and vitamin B, both of which aid sex-hormones production.
Believe it or not, hot chilies too help in setting the right mood. They contain capsaicin which increases blood circulation and stimulates nerve endings so one feels more turned on.
Experts say it is a great source of boron, a trace mineral that enhances testosterone levels in the blood. It is also said to assist the body in using and metabolising estrogen, the female sexual hormone.
Rich in vitamin E, it helps develop testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, which stimulate sexual responses.
Vaibhav Bharghava, Corp-orate Chef, at The Drunken Botanist recommends his favourite : ‘Salmon Sushi Roll With Asparagus, Avocado and Aragula Pesto’. He says, “The ingredients used in this dish are Salmon, avocado, asparagus, arugula, rice, olive oil and rice. Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which keep sex-hormone production at its peak. The vitamin E in these asparagus and avocado eats helps your body churn out hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, which circulate in your bloodstream and stimulate sexual responses.”
Head Chef Parth Bharti at Pikkle recommends ‘Safed Haleem, Sago Fritter’ which is a favourite pick from his menu. He says, “It’s a very old, traditional mutton dish which was made during Mughal era to showcase love and affection to queens by the kings.”
Food has been known to scientifically affect a man or a woman’s moods. Just as there are mood foods, sleep-inducing foods and anti-ageing foods (rich in antioxidants), there are aphrodisiac foods like saffron, banana, milk, honey, almonds, truffles and chocolates that rev up the libido. But these are not to be classed with Viagra. It is the suggestive power of these foods that contributes to this quality. As for that feeling of romance, that must come from the heart, even when your body is all pumped up.
— Neelanjana Singh, Consultant Dietician,
Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute, New Delhi