5 health benefits of aphrodisiacs

13 February 2014
Chocolate hearts
Chocolate hearts


Casanova – the 18th century man infamous for his sexual pursuits – used to tuck into 50 oysters each morning, apparently. Although this Casanova story might be a myth, the fact that oysters are an aphrodisiac is not. A study undertaken by American and Italian scientists and presented to the American Chemical Society discovered that the amino acids within molluscs could increase levels of sex hormones. 

Health benefit: As well as being low in fat and low in calories, oysters are great because they’re extremely high in zinc. For example, a 3-ounce portion of oysters contains 67mg of zinc, which is plenty, when you consider that the NHS recommends men should consume between 5.5-9.5mg of zinc per day, whilst women should aim to consume between 4-7mg per day.


Throughout history chocolate has been used to ‘awaken’ sexual desire. Today, it still is, with $1billion dollars worth of chocolate being sold for Valentine’s Day in the US each year. Studies into chocolate’s aphrodisiac properties have found little evidence that chocolate really can increase desire, although the chemicals tryptophan and serotonin, which chocolate contains, have been associated with both love and sexual arousal. 

Health benefit: Although eating copious amounts of chocolate isn’t great for you, there are several health benefits to eating this treat. A study conducted by the University of California found that chocolate can boost your metabolism, whilst researchers from Wayne State University found that dark chocolate could replicate the same muscle response we gain from exercise, and could therefore help to slow down muscle ageing.

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Wild salmon

Although not a common aphrodisiac, salmon is a sexual powerhouse and can help to turn your night into one to remember. Not only can the omega-3s found in salmon boost your libido by boosting your levels of dopamine, but eating this fish can also increase the flow of blood to your genitals, which means you’ll be more sensitive during sex. 

Health benefit: Salmon is a food that boasts many health benefits. According to WHFoods the omega-3 fat that is found in the fish has been linked to a decreased risk of many serious health conditions, such as heart attach, stroke, macular degeneration, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and high blood pressure.


When you make your curry dish make sure you add fenugreek. Why? Well, in a study published in Phytotherapy Research, researchers found that fenugreek boosted their male participants libido. Fenugreek also helped the males maintain their testosterone levels and improved energy and stamina.

Health benefit: As well as boosting your libido, New York University researchers found that fenugreek can lower your cholesterol and your blood sugar levels.

Doughnuts and liquorice or liquorice and cucumber

Although you might not necessarily associate doughnuts, liquorice or cucumber with red-hot arousal, a study undertaken by neurologists at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation found that the smell of doughnuts and liquorice triggered a 32 per cent increase in penile flow in their male participants. For the ladies, the smell of liquorice and cucumber increased vaginal blood flow by 13 per cent.

Health benefit: According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre liquorice has been used to treat eczema and psoriasis, whilst cucumbers contain many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits according to WHFoods. Sadly, doughnuts don’t provide many health-boosting properties and have been linked with heart conditions, according to a report published by the Hong Kong Consumer Council in 2008.

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