The history of aphrodisiac foods

In today’s society, we are bombarded by information about the nutritional benefits of certain foods, maintaining a healthy physical and mental state and a balanced diet. The connection between food and a healthy sex life has also become a well discussed topic among health professionals. Natural therapy and alternative medicine have made sure that we are well aware of the benefits that certain foods can have on our sex life. Furthermore, foods such as oysters and chocolate have become easily identifiable as aphrodisiacs due to popular culture. The role of food in sex is not new. Throughout history, food has been used for various sexual purposes. Below are a few examples:

The word ‘aphrodisiac’ comes from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. Indeed, the ancient Greeks were very enthusiastic about the role of food in creating lust and desire. In Greek mythology, the sparrow was considered sacred and this bird was connected to Aphrodite herself, so in Ancient Greece, the brains of a sparrow were commonly eaten as a food to seduce and to enhance libido.

Many aphrodisiac foods in Europe came from the writings of the Roman physician, Galen who believed strongly in good nutrition and foods that produce a “vital spirit”. Therefore, nutritious foods such as meat, potatoes and certain root vegetables were commonly used as a source of desire throughout Europe up until the 19th century.

Today, the most popular form of aphrodisiac is still food. While the more common aphrodisiac foods such as oysters have historically been used because of their symbolic representation of sexuality (due to their shape and aroma), there are various foods that are now associated with great sex because of popular culture. Chocolate, honey, asparagus and pine nuts, to name a few, are said to have strong sexual symbolism and they also contain ingredients and vitamins that stimulate libido.

Modern day lovers seem to believe in the power of food as an aphrodisiac just as much as people from ancient times. Although the effects may differ from individual to individual, the old age saying “You are what you eat” rings true here. Why not indulge in the food that contributes to a healthier body, healthier state of mind and more enjoyable love life?

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