Do aphrodisiacs really work?

What actually is an aphrodisiac?

Derived from the name Aphrodite – the Greek goddess of love – an aphrodisiac is a food, drink or substance that stimulates sexual desire.

But do aphrodisiacs really work or are they a fallacy?

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we thought we’d do a little research to see which foods have been scientifically proven to stimulate sexual desire and boost faded libidos.

You may be surprised to hear that many of the classic foods associated with inducing sexual appetite, such as champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, don’t contain any properties proven to stimulate libido. Still, don’t let this put you off serving them if you’re feeling in the mood to impress. Instead, why not supplement them with the foods linked to arousal and sexual performance listed below.

  • Zinc is one of the best nutrients to help support a healthy reproductive system. It increases both testosterone levels and sperm count in males. This might be where the idea of oysters, steak and lobster came from as the ultimate Valentine’s Day meal – these foods are all high in zinc. Vegetarian foods bursting with this magical mineral include almonds, pumpkin seeds, lentils and chickpeas.
  • Maca is a Peruvian plant that has become popular due to its hormonal balancing and libido enhancing properties. It’s easy to find in powder form and is a cinch to add to smoothies, soups, salad dressings and baking recipes.
  • Ginseng is an herb that has been shown to increase energy levels. Assuming this heightened vigour is then used in the bedroom, it’s fair to say that ginseng is an indirect aphrodisiac. Used in Chinese medicine to promote blood flow and strength, ginseng has been claimed to improve erectile dysfunction. Take it as a tea or in powder form.

The key to an enhanced libido is to improve your energy levels holistically. As well as incorporating the above foods into your diet, make sure you eat a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables and carve out time for good quality sleep.


Close up of young couple toasting with glasses of red wine at restaurant