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Foods For Lust

The old adage 'The way to a man's heart is through his stomach' is also true of women too! In babyworld's Sex survey 60 per cent of parents said their love life needed a pick-me-up so, why not try some of these famous aphrodisiacs to get your sexual appetite running! However, if you are trying for a baby make sure you read this article especially for you!

Goat testicles, bat blood and reindeer penises

It would appear that the human race has always had a little trouble in getting the home fires burning. Boredom in the bedroom goes back as far as we do, judging by the amount of cures and aphrodisiacs that have been around. Luckily the worst thing a man may have to ingest today is a dose of Viagra. Pity the passionless man in ancient India, though, who had to try goat testicles boiled in milk. Roman satirist Juvenal was along more pleasurable lines when he discovered the qualities of oysters. In The Arabian Nights, the herb coriander was the miracle cure for a childless merchant, while honeyed mead was the medieval equivalent of Sex and the City's Cosmo cocktails.

Odd animal body parts are still used in some areas of the world to relieve a flagging libido or sperm count, including fresh snake blood, bat blood, reindeer penises, shark fins and ground rhino horns. However, we think bringing back the spark into the boudoir should be more enjoyable than a trip to the witchdoctor, so here are our top foods to get you in the loving mood!

Forbidden fruit

Avocado: The Aztecs certainly bestowed a lot of faith in avocados. Their word for the tree is "Ahuacuatl" which means "testicle tree" as they thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled a pair of testicles. So great was their respect for the fruit's powers that virgins were not allowed anywhere near the trees during harvest time. Avocados are great for you and are delicious served in slices with a small amount of Balsamic vinegar and freshly ground pepper. Peaches: This fruit isn't just enticing in shape (round, like a pair of buttocks!). The ripe, juicy flesh and sweet flavour of peaches has been a firm favourite for centuries with the Chinese for juicy loving, which might have something to do with its sensual appearance or because they are packed with vitamins and minerals that ensure your body's well-being. For ultimate results, select firm peaches, free from bruises, and keep them in a paper bag until ripe.

Bananas – these contain an alkaloid compound called bufotenine which acts on the brain to improve your mood, self-confidence and possibly your sex drive. The most beneficial part is just below the skin, so make the most of it by baking bananas and scraping the flesh from the skin. Bananas are also rich in B vitamins, which are believed to be important in the manufacture of sex hormones.

Pineapples: are rich in vitamin C and used homeopathically to treat impotence. They are delicious on their own or why not add a spear to a Rum cocktail for a tropical treat.

Pomegranates: The pomegranate has long been renowned as a symbol of fertility, probably because of its abundant seeds!

Veggies with va-va voom!

All veggies contain valuable nutrients that help your body function to its optimum level and this alone may help a flagging sex drive. However, it is thought that the shape of particular vegetables, such as asparagus and artichoke, is so erotic as to ignite the flames of passion - I guess it's a matter of trial and error!

Asparagus – Definitely a veggie that enjoys a phallic shape, and its juicy interior has made it one of the most sensual vegetables. Buy young stems or just the tips, lightly steam and drizzle with dripping butter before popping them into your mouth for a healthy and satisfying treat.

Celery – this contains androstenone, which is a biochemical cousin of the male hormone testosterone and is believed to be the principal chemical of attraction or pheromone. The Romans dedicated celery to Pluto, their god of sex and the underworld, and crushed celery seeds (easily added to salads or breads) are said to be particularly potent.

Cucumbers: are not only phallic in shape and aphrodisiac in nature but they also stimulate a woman's olfactory senses, according to recent research. Just make sure you have a nice shower or bath and add some exotic deodorant before hitting the bedroom. Cucumbers can be eaten raw in a salad or as sticks or served pureed in a chilled soup.

Onions: have a bad reputation for causing pongy breath so these are the last things you would expect to eat before wooing your one and only. However, they have been used in ancient Hindu, Egyptian and Arabic kitchens to increase libido! Share a bowl of French onion soup with your lover and see what happens … just remember to buy a pack of Extra Strong Mints for afters…

Potent protein

Jane Clarke, in her book Bodyfoods for Women, emphasises the role nutrients play in maintaining a healthy sex drive. In particular, she highlights a lack of B vitamins, zinc and iron as common culprits for a lagging libido. So why not try some of the following suggestions to put the oomph back in your bedroom?

Nuts: All nuts are high in protein but certain ones are specifically good for increasing your sexual appetite. Try sprinkling some pine nuts onto a salad or into a stir fry for an instant hit of zinc (important to maintain male potency). Alternatively, munch on some almonds, whose aroma is thought to induce passion in a female. Gingko nuts are also great for improving blood circulation to extremities, which obviously can improve one extremity!

Sexy seafood: Jane urges women to regularly include some of the following food in their diets, which are all rich zinc and iron: oysters, prawns, mussels and clams. As mentioned earlier, oysters were first documented by the Roman satirist Juvenal for their lust-giving properties. He described the 'wanton ways' of women after ingesting wine and eating 'giant oysters'. Additionally, oysters are said to resemble the female genitalia, which might give an added dimension to their powers!

Herbs and spice and all things nice!

Adding a few touches here and there to your cooking can really spice things up later! Try the following herbs and spices to see how they relight your fire!

Aniseed: is an extremely popular aphrodisiac that is widely used in cookery. The Greeks and Romans certainly believed in its powers and sucking on aniseed seeds is said to increase your desire!

Basil: (not the 'Fawlty' type) is reputed to stimulate your sex drive and boost fertility, as well as producing a general sense of well-being for body and mind.

Chocolate: Finally! Scientists have now proved what we women have been saying for centuries - chocolate makes you feel great! It is now acknowledged as one of the most effective aphrodisiacs available, as chocolate contains chemicals thought to effect neurotransmitters in the brain and a substance similar to caffeine called theobromine. Chocolate also contains higher levels of antioxidant (cancer preventing enzymes) than red wine but the secret lies in the density of cocoa. So ditch the Mars bars and treat yourself to a more luxurious brand, such as Green & Blacks. If it gets you into the bedroom, he can't complain!

Cinnamon – the spice is thought to tone the kidneys and produce a strong flow of energy; Chinese medicine links it to virile sexuality. Try sprinkling a little cinnamon on your baked bananas, stirring a cinnamon stick in hot chocolate, or even burning a little in a vaporiser to scent the room.

Cocoa – the emperor Montezuma used to drink chocolate before entering his harem, which gave rise to the belief that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) actually contains the stimulants caffeine and theobromine, plus phenyethylamine, which is a mood-elevator. Some researchers say that the chemicals in chocolate stimulate the production of endorphins – feel-good chemicals found in high levels in new lovers. So finish off your meal with some good dark chocolate…

Garlic's aphrodisiac effect is twofold. Firstly, it improves blood circulation, and secondly scientists have found that it can stimulate the production of an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase, which is responsible for the mechanism of erection. Try making your own wholemeal garlic bread – wholegrains are rich in zinc, which is important for healthy sperm production.

Ginger – this is one of the oldest medicinal spices in the world; its allegedly increases the blood flow to your genitals and therefore acts as an aphrodisiac. Try it in a spicy dish served with saffron rice. It can also be used as part of an aromatherapy blend for massage or a room scent.

Honey: has a long tradition linked to fertility. Medieval lovers used to ply their partners with Mead, an alcoholic drink made from honey, while lovers on their 'honeymoon' drank Mead to sweeten their marriage. Serve it on toast, in drinks or drizzle it on your tongue! (You will need runny honey for this!)

Liquorice: not really the Bertie Bassett type but pure liquorice has been used by the Chinese for medicinal purposes since ancient times. The essence of liquorice is 50 times sweeter than sugar and chewing on liquorice roots is supposed to enhance love and lost, particularly in women. Remember to clean your teeth afterwards to remove the black bits.

Nutmeg: if you need a little help to get your mind wandering in the right direction, try adding some nutmeg to your cooking. It was highly esteemed by Chinese women as an aphrodisiac and can apparently produce a hallucinogenic effect!

Saffron – this is the most expensive spice in the world. In Ayurvedic medicine, saffron is used to help treat infertility; it’s used widely as an aphrodisiac in Asia and the Middle East.

Truffles – truffles are at their best in January and February, and are thought to be aphrodisiac because of their musky scent; they contain substances that mimic pheromones. They’re also a good source of phosphorus, which some experts believe can increase sex drive and responsiveness.

Warning: Not all of the items listed in this article are suitable for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. Please check with your doctor or midwife about the suitability of any of the items.