For thousands of years, people have searched for foods with special qualities — those that not only satiate hunger but also whet appetites, if you catch my drift. And while centuries-old versions were more likely to turn stomachs (skunk flesh, anyone?), research can now tell us that certain nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and E and potassium, may help boost sexual health and performance. To discover your inner bunny this autumn, try some of these flirty-time foods:
It wouldn’t be fall without pumpkin, and neurological research has shown that the scent of pumpkin pie is sexually stimulating, too. If you’re near Portland, Oregon, check out Laughing Planet Café‘s vegan version, which gets rave reviews.
Take advantage of after-Halloween sales to stock up on licorice. Studies show that the smell of licorice mixed with cucumber is the most sexually stimulating scent of all for women. Panda all-natural licorice is sold internationally.
Don’t spare the asparagus — this veggie is high in vitamin E, which increases blood flow. I love to get asparagus roll sushi, like the one served at Maru Sushi & Grill in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Ginger helps keep the blood flowing, too, and the jolt of spiciness might be all the kick-start you need. While in New York City, you’re sure to find something to please your palate at Wild Ginger.
Bananas are famous for being loaded with potassium, a nutrient that aids in sex hormone production and boosts energy. If you vacation in Florida, check out Tampa’s Gone Bananas! food truck, which offers several frozen versions of the treat.
Another hormone-helper is vitamin A, and carrots get an A+ for containing loads of this vitamin. Try a carrot and fruit juice smoothie, like the one at 24 Carrots in Chandler, Arizona.
Chili peppers promote the release of feel-good endorphins, but that’s not all. These spicy little suckers get hearts racing, too. Try the tomatillo–red chili salsa on your Chipotle burrito.
Besides being fun for lovers to feed to each other, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are also full of vitamin C, which helps boost sex hormones. You can find seasonal berry mixes and berry sorbets on dessert menus everywhere.
It isn’t nutty. The zinc in nuts, especially cashews, pecans, walnuts, and almonds, can keep men virile. Try a salad with a smattering of different nuts on top, just like you’ll find at Carmo in New Orleans.
Make a woman choose between chocolate and shoes, and she’ll likely opt to go barefoot. And it’s no wonder: Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that is believed to make us happy and excited and to stimulate romantic feelings. The menus at the international Loving Hut chain vary by location, but you can always count on finding a few chocolaty delights.
You might be wondering why oysters didn’t make the cut. WebMD reports that oysters may have gained their reputation as an aphrodisiac only because of their, ahem, appearance. They’re also high in cholesterol, which leads me to the other reason why we hear talk of “veggie Viagra.” Meat and dairy products are full of artery-clogging fat and cholesterol — and that means they affect all the body’s arteries, gentlemen.
But most restaurants’ fall menus will feature dishes full of these ten appetizing aphrodisiacs that will have you eating for your health and your libido. Or for a romantic night in, check out the plethora of sure-to-please recipes in PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk’s cookbook, The Compassionate Cook, and get ready to write your own romance novel.
Michelle Kretzer learned about factory farming while pursuing a degree in Journalism at the University of Kentucky. She immediately stopped eating meat and dedicated herself to the cause of animal rights. When she is not writing for PETA, Michelle enjoys doting on her German shepherd mix, Hannah, traveling, collecting Beatles memorabilia, and finding great cruelty-free shoes and bags.