With Valentine's Day around the corner, many may look
to food as a way to rekindle the libido. But is this merely
Like red wine, so-called love foods — chocolate,
oysters, cucumbers, strawberries and cream, licorice,
alcohol — may taste great, but will these foods
tickle your libido as much as your taste buds?
According to Lawrence Cheskin, director and founder of
Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, there are some
foods that can keep individuals in good sexual health, but
as far as aphrodisiacs are concerned, there is no
scientific evidence that they do the trick.
"The reputed sexual effects of so-called aphrodisiacs
are based in folklore, not fact, and there is no scientific
proof that any food or beverage can treat sexual
dysfunction or increase desire," Cheskin says.
Cheskin does point out that chocolate contains certain
interesting chemicals, such as phenylethylamine (also known
as the "love chemical"), that do stimulate the brain. They
are found in high numbers of people who are in love, which
is how we get the idea that chocolate is an aphrodisiac.
"However, eating chocolate does not raise levels of
phenylethylamine in your brain and increase your libido,"
Cheskin says. "Candy may be dandy, but it doesn't enhance
your chance for romance."
Healthier alternatives to chocolate, with the same
sweet taste, are fruits like pineapple, banana and
strawberries, which contain plenty of vitamins and are high
in antioxidants. "Fruits may not be sexy, but they are at
least healthy," stresses Cheskin.
Oysters are another food with a reputation for
increasing the libido. Cheskin calls oysters "good food"
because they are low in fat and high in protein, vitamins
and minerals, and because they contain some nutrients that
are important for the production of hormones that can
improve fertility. "There is no proof that oysters have an
aphrodisiac effect," he says, "but they are good for your
sexual health and your overall health."
Part of good sex health, he says, is having a good
body weight, because being overweight can contribute to a
decreased libido and fertility. For those who want to
increase their libido, Cheskin says the best approach is
"to exercise and eat the right foods."