You know you've earned your matchmaking stripes when you set up two friends and soon after they have plans to take a class at a cooking school called "Sex on the Table."
Intrigued by said hot spot for "horny haute cuisine," I did some research and was pleasantly surprised that it's run by a chef who, among other things, earned a Michelin star at the Auberge du Raisin on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. With his cooking school, Chef Fed (or Cheffed as he calls himself), hopes to "use aphrodisiacs you can find at any organic store to create dishes with unique flavors." Here, he shares 10 you've probably never thought of.
Artichokes are flowers. Flowers are the sex organs of plants. That says a lot right there. Artichokes have long been considered a powerful aphrodisiac. They contain a large amount of potassium and sodium salt, things good for the cardiovascular system. The result? We'll keep this PG-13 and just say that they get the blood flowing. Plus, with artichokes, you get the sensual pleasure of touching your food. You pull the leaves off the flower, undressing it as you eat, to get to the best part of the Artichoke: the heart.
Beetroots contain the antioxidant betalain. It has been used to treat cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation and, most commonly, depression. Together with the high dose of tryptophan that comes with beets, these roots relax the mind and create a sense of well-being — a natural Xanax, so to speak. And that's what aphrodisiacs are all about. You have to set your mind in the right place for things to fall in place.
Image: Earth Eats
We don't undress them while we eat them like artichokes and they don't come with a sexy price tag like oysters, but chick peas are the queens of aphrodisiacs. They're high in fiber, high in protein, low in fat, high in complex carbohydrates, and are a good source of zinc (the number one sex mineral). Plus, they're full of Vitamin C and B6, Thiamin, Niacin, Iron. When Dodonaeus, a physician during medieval times, found out about the hidden qualities in chick peas, priests and scholars were banned from eating them.
How do doctors explain the effect of coffee on erections and sexual desire? Coffee contains caffeine, which stimulates the heart and increases the adrenaline levels in blood. More blood flow down south increases the strength of orgasms. But be careful not to drink too much coffee — in large doses it may harm your health.
Coriander is the most commonly used spice in the world. As an aphrodisiac, it works through it's unique, citric smell. Coriander is used in most commercial perfumes, the oldest manmade aphrodisiacs. The FDA claims there's no such thing as aphrodisiacs, but we find it hard to argue with the $30 billion/year perfume industry.
Image: Cynthia Nelson
Fennel and anise are plants which have been used as estrogenic agents for millennia. Specifically, they have been reputed to increase libido. The main constituent of the essential oils of fennel and anise, anethole, is considered to be the active estrogenic agent. Further research suggests that on top of that anethole and photoanethole serve as pharmacologically active agents in Fennel.
Like cocoa, cheese contains phenylethylamine (PEA), one of the ingredients that gives chocolate its reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. PEA is responsible for the release of endorphins, so people who eat chocolate in response to a break up have the right idea. However, fresh cheeses like young goat cheese are reported to contain more than ten times as much PEA as chocolate. Plus, like other protein-rich foods, cheese also promotes dopamine production. Yes, cheese is one of those foods that should not be eaten in excess, but in small portions, cheese offers protein, promotes hormones that make us feel happy — and more kissable. That's right, cheese helps to kill bacteria in the mouth and has a similar smell to that of human pheromones (read: the ability to turn on both sexes). Pucker up.
The key to lavender’s reputation as a love aid lies in the sensual appeal of its fragrance. The buds of lavender have been used for ages in recipes enhancing love and health. The remarkable thing about lavender is that it can induce a soothing sensation without drowsiness as most chemicals do. Stress and anxiety can put a damper on even the healthiest of libidos — impotence and low sex drive are usually traced back to tension and negative emotions. By easing away performance-related anxiety or stress in a sexual situation, lavender can help to bring about a feeling of relaxation and create the right mood for love. And the best news is: Women eating lavender have this uplifting and relaxing smell, an irresistible vapor for men.
Nuts are one of the most important sources of protein, which has been shown to naturally boost levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, two chemicals in the brain that heighten sensitivity during sex. Nuts are also rich in essential fatty acids, which are the building blocks for the production of sex hormones. Long story short, nuts are complete foods in themselves, so their consumption, even in small quantities over a period of time, goes a long way in maintaining the overall health of the human body. And when all the physiological systems are working well and in harmony with each other, the individual is bound to be open to pleasurable sexual experiences.
Watermelon is high in citruline that, just like Viagra, relaxes the blood vessels. The body converts citrulline to argenine, which boosts nitric oxide. The result is a natural prevention from erectile disfunction in both men and women. But even without knowing the nutritional impact it can have on the body, watermelon is still a food of romance. Pink in color, watermelon’s flesh is a symbol of summer — long, hot days and lots of skin.