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Aphrodisiac foods are said to evoke or create a desire. The foods that stimulate that desire are essentially nutrition that activates hormones in the body for men and women. There are those that create sexual desire by working on the mind, and there are those that create desire by affecting parts of the body.

Aphrodisiac foods are said to evoke or create a desire. The foods that stimulate that desire are essentially nutrition that activates hormones in the body for men and women. There are those that create sexual desire by working on the mind, and there are those that create desire by affecting parts of the body.
Throughout history many have thought a resemblance to sexual organs that has often made people think they must have some sexual powers. Vegetables such as carrots, asparagus and cucumbers have all been associated with aphrodisiacs, even if their chemical makeup shows no relationship (although some have been shown to have chemical characteristics that could possibly contribute to improved sexual desire).
Aside from resemblance to sex organs, people throughout history have made aphrodisiac associations with animals that are known to be virile and prolific reproducers. Rabbits, tigers, goats and bulls, for instance, have reputations for prolific reproduction, strength and/or virility. Historically, people ingested the sex organs of these animals to achieve an aphrodisiac effect and/or to enhance sexual performance.
Nuts and sesame seeds have an amino acid called L-arginine that enhances blood flow throughout the body. Arginine forms nitric oxide in the body, which increases blood flow to the genitals. Arginine, when combined with other supplements, is said to enhance sexual desire in women.
Chocolate (70% or more cocoa) releases pleasure enhancing endorphins in the brain. It was originally found in the South American rainforests. The Mayan civilizations worshipped the Cacao tree and called it "food of the gods." Rumor has it that the drank 50 goblets of chocolate each day to enhance his sexual abilities.
Researchers have studied chocolate and found it to contain phenylethylamine and serotonin, which are both "feel good" chemicals. They occur naturally in our bodies and are released by our brains when we are happy or feeling loving or passionate. It produces a euphoric feeling, like when you're in love.
Oysters have zinc which produces more hormones in men and women. Romans documented oysters as aphrodisiacs in the second century A.D. They are known to be high in zinc, which has been associated with improving sexual potency in men. Recently, mussels, clams and oysters have been found to contain D-aspartic acid and NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) compounds may be effective in releasing sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen.
Chilies have capsaicin, which increases circulation and releases endorphins that make you feel good. Eating chili peppers generates physiological responses in our bodies (e.g., sweating, increased heart rate and circulation) that are similar to those experienced when having sex. The capsaicin they contain is responsible for the effects and is also a good pain reliever. Another reported effect of eating large quantities of chili peppers is an irritation of the genitals and urinary tract that could feel similar to sexual excitement.
Licorice candy for women increase circulation through body, though can also increase blood pressure the smell in particular can be stimulating. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that you could increase desire by sucking on anise (licorice) does include estrogenic compounds (female hormones), which have been reported to induce similar effects to testosterone.
Garlic increases circulation. Long ago, Tibetan monks were not allowed to enter the monastery if they had been eating garlic because of its reputation for stirring up passions.
Ginger, people have deemed ginger root an aphrodisiac for centuries because of its scent and because it stimulates the circulatory system.
Ginseng is another long-touted aphrodisiac. Recently, the Journal of Urology reported, "the Mean International Index of Erectile Function scores were significantly higher in patients treated with Korean red ginseng than in those who received placebo." In animal studies, ingesting ginseng doesn't appear to have an immediate effect on testosterone levels, but the ginseng may trigger other mechanisms that lead to increased performance and libido.
Spanish fly though not a food is probably one of the most famous aphrodisiacs. It is made from a beetle that secretes an acid-like juice, called cantharidin, from its leg joints when threatened. Because it would be more difficult to remove just the juice, the entire beetle is dried and crushed to produce the powder. When Spanish fly powder is ingested, the body excretes the cantharidin in the urine. This causes intense irritation and burning in the urogenital tract, which then leads to itching and swelling of the genitals. This swelling and burning was once assumed to be sexual arousal and led to the belief that Spanish fly had aphrodisiac qualities. But cantharidin is highly toxic. The kidneys suffer inflammation as well and can be permanently damaged. Spanish fly can cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances, convulsions and even death.
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