Aphrodisiac food: myth or reality?
It's surely not the first time you hear about aphrodisiac food. Since many centuries there have been foods that are said to have positive effects on sexual drive. These foods can be classified as aphrodisiac, term that comes from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. There are many foods that have been labeled as aphrodisiac and you have surely heard of them: first of all, chocolate, oysters, strawberries, mango and other kinds of fruits.
In reality, contrary to expectations, these foods are not really aphrodisiac as their effects are not scientifically backed-up. They are, basically, a myth.
This means aphrodisiac foods don't exist at all?
Not really. There are many foods that might have aphrodisiac effects, and they are mostly herbs and roots that are not easy to find. These foods have some kind of scientific study that was made to find actual evidence of their effect, even though it's mostly small studies or researches that were contrasted by other studies.
Maca is a Peruvian root that is nowadays defined as a superfood for its beneficial effects on energy. It reduces stress and anxiety and apparently it has the ability to improve sexual drive. Even though there is a study that talks about their aphrodisiac effects, other recent researches claim that studies made on the effects of maca may have been overblown.
Gingko is a tree from which food supplements are made. A study suggests that this plant might have aphrodisiac effects, even though it doesn't give enough proofs that Gingko can improve sexual drive in women.
It's a popular belief that alcohol, red wine specifically, can improve sexual desire. A study from 2009 affirms that red wine does have aphrodisiac effects. Nonetheless, it's quite a small study and the results were self-reported.
Moreover, it's well known that ingesting a high quantity of alcohol can lead to sexual dysfunctions both in men and women. So, beware!
Fenugreek is a plant used to cook as much as a food supplement. A study says that its consumption might improve sexual desire in women. However, most studies focus on the effects of fenugreek on masculine's sexual desire.
What can actually have aphrodisiac effects?
To sum up, there is not food that 100% guarantees aphrodisiac effects. The truth is that sexual desire depends not only on a single food, but also on physical (doing sports and staying fit can help) and psychological (it's known that depression, anxiety and stress can lower libido) factors.
For all these reasons, what doctors really advise to keep a healthy sexual drive is to take care of your nutrition and to follow a Mediterranean diet, to stay active and avoid stress. Nonetheless, you can keep eating chocolate as its effects on happiness are scientifically demonstrated ;)