Top | Sift

In the mood

(article, Melanie Mesaros)

In some cultures, chiles and other spicy foods are considered aphrodisiacs because they cause your heart rate to rise and may prompt sweating. But the claims of most aphrodisiacs to improve libido and sex drive might just be tradition, not science.

Chocolate, that classic food of love, may have gotten its sexy reputation because of the rarity and mystery that originally surrounded the treat. According to Global Chefs Magazine, the Aztecs perpetuated the idea that chocolate invigorated men and made women less inhibited. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine and seratonin, mood-lifting agents associated with the euphoria of being in love.

In ancient Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, sprang from the sea on an oyster shell. The dashing lover Casanova also used to start a meal by eating 12 dozen oysters.

But according to the FDA, there's no proof that any of these foods — spicy, sweet, or slimy — have an effect on sexual reaction. Sexual appetite is more difficult to measure. John Renner, the founder of the Consumer Health Information Research Institute (CHIRI), said in an FDA article that the placebo effect has always been a stumbling block for scientists:

bq. 'The mind is the most potent aphrodisiac there is,' explained Renner. 'It's very difficult to evaluate something someone is taking, because if you tell them it's an aphrodisiac, the hope of a certain response might actually lead to an additional sexual reaction.'

Party on.