Valentine's Day: The A-Z of aphrodisiac foods to devour with your date

Sex expert Samantha Evans explains why some foods turn us on

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Can oysters put you in the mood for sex? A centuries old way of boosting your libido is to eat certain foods to put you in the mood. Many ancient civilisations attributed aphrodisiac properties to specific foods which have developed a mythical status, even though they vary from culture to culture.

The ancient Chinese believed that warm snake’s blood gave men prolonged sexual stamina: the more venomous the snake, the better. The Aztecs were more practical and believed that avocado was endowed with magical powers of arousal, and the Romans thought garlic could pep up their virility and fertility.

But how true is this? Scientific studies have shown that foods associated with sexual enjoyment have merely a placebo effect and the US Food and Drug Administration even went as far as declaring that aphrodisiac foods have no effect upon sex drive.

Sex takes place in the mind and in your imagination, so certain foods can affect our sex lives differently from person to person.

Some foods contain substances which can affect the body physiologically by lowering inhibitions, increasing blood flow to the genitalia, and some can cause the release of mood boosting hormones which may lead us to believe that they can enhance sexual desire and enjoyment. Many foods, with their suggestive aromas, visual appearances or the sensual or luxurious surroundings in which we eat them can prove to be highly seductive.

Visual foods

Foods with sexy or phallic shapes create visual stimulation. Oysters, fresh figs, carrots and even avocados are said to look like genitalia and anything which is visually erotic may trigger your brain to think sensual thoughts. Phallic-shaped foods being eaten by a woman may arouse some men but it all depends on how you eat it.

Aromatic foods

There is a whole host of foods that can turn us on just by smelling their aroma. Parsley, cooked chestnuts, truffles and nuts have smells similar to the musky scent of males; while champagne, camembert, olives and fresh figs give off fragrances which are stimulating to both sexes.

Browse the gallery below to see the A-Z of aphrodisiacs

The most erotic organ is the brain and if you think something will turn you on, it probably will. So let your imagination run wild with ideas and start stocking up your fridge and cupboards now.

Samantha Evans is a former nurse, sexual health and wellbeing expert and co owner of retailer JoDivine.com.

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