Here are some of the food ingredients (and my own favorite recipes) that have been major players in aphrodisiac history and lore, and also have modern-day science to back up their claims.
The Aztecs referred to avocados as, ahem, testicles, because of their physical shape. But the scientific reason why avocados make sense as an aphrodisiac is that they are rich in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fat, making them good for your heart and your arteries. Anything that keeps the heart beating strong helps keep blood flowing to all the right places; in fact, men with underlying heart disease are twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED).
The color red is known to help stoke the fire: A 2008 study found that men find women sexier if they’re wearing red, as opposed to cool colors such as blue or green. Strawberries are also an excellent source of folic acid, a B vitamin that helps ward off birth defects in women and, according to a University of California, Berkley study, may be tied to high sperm counts in men. This Valentine’s Day, try making dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries. And while we’re on the subject, there’s a reason we give chocolate on Valentine’s Day: It’s full of libido-boosting methylxanthines.
Despite their slippery and slimy texture, oysters may be the most well-known aphrodisiac. They’re also one of the best sources of libido-boosting zinc. But other types of seafood can also act as aphrodisiacs. Oily fish—like wild salmon and herring—contain , which are essential for a healthy heart.