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(SPOT.ph) Named after the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, aphrodisiacs were believed to arouse sexual desire since ancient times. But many widely considered aphrodisiacs are actually less scientific and more, well, suggestive. While there are no scientific studies that prove certain foods directly affect libido, some do provide helpful physiological or psychological effects. If you've got something planned on Valentine's Day, an aphrodisiac on the menu can be a fun way to keep you and your beloved in an amorous mood, or at the very least, have a fantastic meal out of it. Here are 10 popular aphrodisiacs to feast on and where you can get an ample serving of passion on a plate.
This article was originally published on February 13, 2011.
10 Aphrodisiacs and Where to Eat Them
What It Is: In ancient times, many foods were considered to be an aphrodisiac by their mere likeness to the male or female genital. The banana’s phallic shape was one of them.
Science says: Beyond its shape, bananas do contain potassium and B vitamins and the enzyme bromelain—all of which are necessary for the production of testosterone.
Lust effect: Pumped up with testosterone (also considered as an aggression hormone), it might just make you more excited to pursue your object of affection.
Best Place To Find It: Cap off your date with a favorite Pinoy banana dessert—turon! The popular Choco Turon from Pino Resto Bar is lovingly blended with chocolate and served with vanilla ice cream. You’ll be getting more than one aphrodisiac in this dessert.
Pino Resto Bar is at 39 Malingap St., Teachers Village, Quezon City and 38 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati City
What It Is: This aromatic, peppery and bitter leafy green vegetable often used in salads was considered by ancient Romans and Egyptians to be a good aphrodisiac.
Science says: It’s also considered a superfood as it’s packed with different vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium and other minerals that improve blood quality and provide energy.
Lust effect: As a stimulant and energy booster, this just might keep you going, and going, and going...
Best Place To Find It: Enjoy a hefty serving of arugula in Cyma’s Roka Salata. We love its peppery bite against the candied walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, lettuce, and slivers of parmesan cheese.
Cyma branches: TriNoma Mall, Shangri-La Plaza, Greenbelt 3
What It Is: The ginger root or the humble luya has actually long been elevated to aphrodisiac status and was commonly used by royalty to tame their lovers.
Science says: The spice is highly effective in stimulating blood circulation all over the body.
Lust effect: It spices things up in the bedroom as the increase in blood flow means stimulated nerve endings, increasing sensitivity in the erogenous zones.
Best Place To Find It: Among the rich, hand-rolled truffles and pralines at the Patisserie Filipino by Chef Jacqueline is a Sugar-free Salabat-flavored (ginger tea) White Chocolate Truffle that’s sure to keep things hot.
Patisserie Filipino branches: Eastwood Mall, SM Megamall
7. Almonds and other nuts
What It Is: It was a symbol of fertility back in the day and used to get tossed at ancient Greek weddings (instead of rice) for a productive honeymoon. The smell of almonds and some nuts were believed to excite women.
Science says: Almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, and all sorts of nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids and zinc, both of which are necessary for normal testosterone production and maintaining "male alertness."
Lust effect: While the smell can supposedly make women nuts (don’t think the jury’s out on that one though), the men will be able to deliver by staying alert longer.
Best Place To Find It: Have your serving of almonds in the King Oscar Cake at the Peninsula Boutique Manila. The almond meringue is layered with custard filling and topped with shaved almonds and fresh strawberries.
The Peninsula Boutique Manila is at The Peninsula Manila, Corners of Ayala and Makati Avenues, Makati City. Tel. 887-2888
What It Is: The bean’s powerful scent is long believed to heat things up under the sheets, tracing its seductive history from ancient Mexican lore.
Science says: There’s not a lot of science behind the scent, but there has been a study by Alan Hirsch and his team in the Science of Smell that discovered that vanilla is one of the scents that aroused men the most.
Lust effect: Unless your significant other abhors the scent of vanilla, you might get a rise from your man with it.
Best Place To Find It: Have your dessert a la mode, and make sure the ice cream on top is vanilla. Share a Crepe Suzette at Manila Hotel’s very old-world and chic Champagne Room. The crepe is cooked in orange-lemon butter sauce, flamed, and served with vanilla ice cream.
Champagne Room is at Manila Hotel, One Rizal Park, Manila. Tel. 527-0011
What It Is: A highly-prized mushroom known for its earthy, musky scent that the Greeks and Romans considered an aphrodisiac
Science says: Truffles do give off a scent that sows respond to, a porcine pheromone if you will, which is similar to something found in the boar during arousal—no wonder pigs have long been used to find truffles.
Lust effect: Eating truffles and inhaling its musky aroma can be a turn-on for many. Just stay away from pigs in heat.
Best Place To Find It: At chic Elbert’s Steak Room, order the Chef’s Burger and bite into the juicy medium-rare tenderloin burger with richly flavored bone marrow and a satisfying smear of black truffle paste. (Reservations are a must and order the burger two days in advance.)
Elbert’s Steak Room is at 3/F Sagittarius Building III, 111 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Tel. 339-3363
What It Is: In ancient Egypt, and even until the time of Hippocrates, honey was prescribed to cure impotence and promote sexual vitality. The tradition of the honeymoon is also traced to newlyweds being offered a honey concoction to sweeten their first bedroom encounter.
Science says: It is rich in amino acids and B vitamins that boost energy.
Lust effect: Beyond its sensual texture and golden appearance, the "nectar of Aphrodite" can help with one’s stamina.
Best Place To Find It: In the elegant-home-turned-French-Asian restaurant Ninyo Fusion Cuisine, order one of its bestsellers, the Honey Glazed Salmon with sweet citrus miso, served with light wasabi mashed potato, grilled asparagus (another aphrodisiac) and demi dried tomato.
Ninyo Fusion Cuisine is at 66 Esteban Abada Street, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Tel. 426-0301
What It Is: Considered food for the gods, it was thought to increase sexual desire and figured in betrothal and matrimonial ceremonies during ancient times among the Aztecs.
Science says: It contains serotonin and phenylethylamine, two chemicals that produce those pleasant endorphins; and methylxanthines, which boosts libido. Later studies suggest though that these chemicals do not significantly affect our brain and neither do they actually increase sexual desire.
Lust effect: We say, if you love chocolate and they uplift your mood, then go ahead and share some with your sweetheart. Nothing like a happy and satisfied couple to get into another kind of mood.
Best Place To Find It: Museum Cafe’s Chocolate Creme Brulee Trio, where you can have three small bowls of chocolate goodness with the added flavors of ginger or chili (both aphrodisiacs). That’s a triple threat of aphrodisiacs for you!
Museum Cafe is at Ayala Museum Complex, Makati Ave. corner Dela Rosa St., Makati City. Tel. 757-3000
What It Is: Colored blood-red and heart-shaped, this sweet fruit was the symbol of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility. The ancient Romans also believed that strawberries can whet sexual appetite.
Science says: Strawberries are high in vitamin C and folic acid, and a study has discovered that it may be linked to an increase in sperm count in men.
Lust effect: It’s good for the body, but it’s the shape that gives it a more sensuous quality.
Best Place To Find It: If you want to satisfy your strawberry craving indoors, then bring home Qitchen Queens’ Strawberry Shortcake, one of the best in Manila. Or you can evoke the erotic by sharing strawberries dipped in chocolate with your sweetheart at chocolate hot spot Chocolate Fire.
Qitchen Queens, Tel. 0917-532-3682. Chocolate Fire is at G/F PDCP Building, Leviste St. corner Rufino St., Salcedo Village, Makati City. Tel. 840-3473
What It Is: Classic or cliche, these slippery mollusks have long been considered an aphrodisiac since 2nd century AD, primarily because of its shape, which resembles the female sex organ. Casanova supposedly enjoyed some every breakfast.
Science says: Oysters are also high in zinc, that essential mineral that controls the hormone progesterone, which in turn can increase libido.
Lust effect: While zinc may help fight off impotence, the long-established association of oysters with sexuality can also mean a psychological effect for one’s arousal.
Best Place To Find It: Fresh oysters abound in the city. You and your better half can feast on some at any branch of Cafe Via Mare’s Oyster Bar, or at steak resto Myron’s Place, which has a number of different tasty oyster dishes.
Myron’s Place branches: Greenbelt 5, Power Plant Mall. Click here for a list of Via Mare branches