Having just finished celebrating one of the best Valentine’s Day ever at Cafe 207 with Mr. Man, it got me wondering whether the oysters, wine and chocolate we enjoyed deserved any credit. Could it be that aphrodisiacs really work?
The short answer: probably not.
No scientific evidence exists to support the claim the certain foods or beverages increase sexual arousal. What’s more likely at play is the placebo effect.
For those unfamiliar with the placebo effect, it works like this: Folklore tells us that eating oysters or chocolate with our lovers will ignite passion, so this knowledge primes our brains to put the appropriate signals into motion as we indulge. Low and behold, we find ourselves feeling randy, which fulfills the "aphrodisiac" prophecy but has nothing to do with the actual food or drink.
That’s not to say many so-called aphrodisiacs don’t have plenty to offer. See what nutritional benefits lay within some of history’s favorite naughty noshes.
Health benefits: Chocolate is practically a health food! Well, dark chocolate that is. And in very small doses, like one ounce a day.
Dark chocolate has less sugar and fat than milk chocolate. Also, it is much richer in antioxidants called flavonoids than milk chocolate. The flavonoids are what help prevent heart disease and stroke as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Why it’s considered an aphrodisiac: These flavonoids help promote blood vessel health, which means blood easily flows throughout the body (and in this case, to the sex organs).