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Mythbuster Monday #14: What are Aphrodisiacs?

An aphrodisiac can be defined as a certain food that awakens sexual desire or increases sexual pleasure or performance. Many questions surround this hot topic, as many people are wondering if it’s a myth or not.

The origin of some aphrodisiac foods is actually from Greek mythology. According to the story, Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and sexuality, emerged from the sea on an oyster shell to give birth to Eros, Greek god of love. Therefore, oysters have become a symbol of sexuality. But, do they really give rise to sexual arousal, or is it just a big myth?

It is thought that the aphrodisiac properties of oysters come from their high zinc content, which increases testosterone levels in men and progesterone in women. Other foods are also said to be aphrodisiacs, like chocolate, which supposedly increases endorphins. There is also wine and champagne, which would reduce any inhibitions, but probably wouldn't increase your sex drive. But what does science have to say about it?

Some food products are known to cause the secretion of pleasure hormones; some of them possess the property to increase blood flow, thus it’s thought that they might induce sexual arousal. However, only a very small proportion of these substances are actually backed by scientific evidence. More research needs to be done in this field, as only a little scientific evidence supports the causality between the consumption of a supposed aphrodisiac and a libido-boosting effect. However, it is important to remind everyone that atmosphere is key, and a romantic dinner for Valentine’s day might set the mood, with or without aphrodisiac foods. Happy Valentine day!


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