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The Food of Love – Part One

Admin, February 5, 2015

2015 year of Food & Drink Scotlland

We all have predilections for one type of food over the other, often saying that we ‘love’ chocolate or steak for example. These are foods that we consciously enjoy eating and thus doing so is pleasurable to us. But there is a deeper connection between pleasure and the primal need associated with eating. Over time and across cultures, some foods connected this way have been associated with arousal through various folklore, superstition and mythology  – leading them to becoming known as aphrodisiacs. Some merely because of their aroma, shape or colour, but there are also foods that contain a chemical basis for their aphrodisiac reputation – containing properties that can stimulate pleasure zones of the brain. Whether they enhance amorous feelings and can actually cause arousal has oft been debated, but we’d like to present some of the more commonly touted ‘Foods of Love’

Avocado

A good example of aphrodisiac value through shape association is the avocado, which hangs in pairs from the tree and takes its name from the Aztec word for testicle ‘ahucatl’. Such was the belief, that they forbade virgin women to leave the house whilst they were being harvested!

Asparagus

 Aside from its obviously phallic appearance, asparagus is full of vitamin E, calcium and potassium which cleanse the urinary tract and kidneys whilst providing a shot of extra energy. Aspartic acid in the vegetable also helps neutralise excess ammonia in our bodies, which is said to lead to loss of libido and fatigue. Certainly, both shape and properties have made asparagus an aphrodisiac to many cultures; beholden by the Greeks in poetry, used as part of Kama Sutra ritual and eaten three times a day by the French before their wedding night.

Plan Bee Ltd Red Heart Gift Box

Plan Bee Ltd Red Heart Gift Box

Beetroot

 The Greeks also venerated the beetroot, believing Aphrodite to have eaten them in order to enhance her sex appeal. This led to ancient Romans believing that it’s juice made one feel amorous – they wre even depicted in frescoes of certain brothels. There may be a reason for such folklore; beetroot contains high amounts of boron, a mineral which increases the level of sex hormones in the human body, as well as betaine and tryptophan which promote a feeling of well-being.

 Bananas

 Similar to beetroot in chemical effects on the body is the banana, which is rich in potassium and B vitamins which aid sex-hormone production. The shape of the banana is obviously a reason for its reputation as an aphrodisiac but the banana flower itself also has a phallic appearance.

 Chocolate

 An oft gave gift to loved ones on Valentines Day, chocolate has long been associated with romance from the time of the Mayans who worshipped the Cacao tree as they believed it to produce the food of the gods. They, and the Aztecs used the beans found within cocoa pods as actual currency to be used when visiting brothels and Aztec Emporer, Montezuma would drink around 50 cups of chocolate a day to satisfy his many wives. Added to the erotic symbology of chocolate as an aphrodisiac is the scientific research that shows that chocolate contains phenethylamine, tryptophan, ‘feel good’ chemicals’ naturally produced by our bodies in certain states. The former is a stimulant shown to be released in the brain when we have feelings of euphoria when falling in love and the latter helps produce the brain chemical serotonin, which is associated with sexual arousal and an elevated mood. It may not be the gateway to a passionate encounter for two people though, as many surveys have shown a sometime preference for women for chocolate over sex! So gents, have a think about that when you are looking at the chocolate gift boxes for Saturday!

As part of celebrating 2015  Year of Food & Drink Scotland, Plan Bee Ltd are producing a month long series of articles of the Food of Love and romantic facts about honey.