Foods that touch our senses

Foods that touch our senses – aphrodisiacs

Andrea Zentai, Nutritionist

Although it is only a few decades that Hungarians have been celebrating Valentine’s Day, in the Anglo-Saxon cultures, it has been a tradition of long centuries. Many people dislike even to hear about it and wish to be as far as possible from the flood of little red hearts, toy animals, picture postcards and musical bouquets. However, there is a really practical aspect of this holiday: we read a lot about aphrodisiac foods, which we can make for our loved one not only on the 14th of February but on any other day of the year.

For many people, a meal serves only a practical purpose, for others it is a source of joy and delight, but there are few who would reflect on the fact that the flavor, the aroma, the look and the serving of foods affect our senses as a complex whole. These effects are complemented by certain nutrients such as vitamin E and zinc. The connection between certain foods/ food substances and sexual desire has been part of our cultural traditions for long centuries. Countless foods and herbs have been known to be effective aphrodisiacs (named after the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite). Eggs, pomegranates and ginseng were believed by our ancestors to be aphrodisiacs because of their shape.

The Aztec tribes named the avocado tree “Achuacuatl”, which translates as ”testicle tree”, the association coming from the shape and the “twin” bearing of the fruit. It is extraordinarily rich in antioxidants, is a valuable source of vitamin E (one avocado covers one fifth of our daily need of it). Due to its creamy consistency and unique taste and savor, it can be used in versatile ways.

Oysters are an extremely rich source of zinc. 100 g oysters provide for us about half of our daily zinc intake. Insufficient intake of zinc may result in the decrease of testosterone levels and thus cause impotence and – by controlling the level of progesterone – it may have a negative effect on the libido. Casanova consumed, allegedly, 70 oysters a day.

From the point of view of increasing sexual desire, pumpkin seed and pumpkin seed oil can also be important - not only because of their well-known effect of preventing prostate inflammation but also because the plant has a high zinc content and therefore very beneficial to sexual functions and fertility. 2 handfuls of roasted pumpkins cover our daily need of vitamin E intake and half of our daily zinc intake.

Ginger stimulates our circulatory system, and thereby intensifies our mental alertness and physical sensitivity. It was a renown love spice in medieval England: according to contemporary histories, in the brothels they served dried plums sprinkled with ginger to help the increase of sexual desire.

Asparagus has been considered to be an aphrodisiac for ages, on account of both its external and internal qualities. Due to its special shape and fibrous consistency, its taste and savor, its nutrient content and the versatile ways that it can be prepared (cooked, braised, served with balsamico, etc.), it can be a special part of a substantial, nutritious dinner.

The connection between certain foods/ food substances and sexual desire has been part of our cultural traditions for long centuries.


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