Money tops lust food
Champagne, caviar and oysters may set the scene for some romantic action, but it is his bank balance that is the real turn-on.
Debunking the myths of edible aphrodisiacs, University of KwaZulu-Natal dietetics and human nutrition lecturer Suna Kassier yesterday explained that the romantic allure of champagne, caviar and oysters was not in its ingredients.
"There is no proof that caviar has an aphrodisiac ingredient other than the wealth and status associated with it. Because it is an expensive item, the wealth and power it exudes is a turn-on for many women," she said.
Similarly, champagne's seductive charm is largely psychological.
"Its fizzy, bubbly nature makes it fun to drink. In addition, good French champagne retails at up to R1400 a bottle, which makes it a symbol of wealth and power - a turn-on for many women," Kassier explained.
Oysters have an effect on the male reproductive system, but not the libido.
"Contrary to popular belief, sexual desire is actually controlled by the central nervous system, not the heart. Oysters are in fact a rich source of amino acid taurine, which has cardio-protective properties and functions in transmission of nerve impulses."
Oysters, said Kassier, are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, D, niacin, iron, iodine, selenium, and zinc - a combo that is "excellent for men's reproductive health and endurance".
"Moreover, alkaloids in oysters have been shown to stimulate the reproductive system."
What about chocolate?
"We know that chocolate contains caffeine and that its phenylethylamine and theobromine content stimulates the hypothalamus," said Kassier.
"This causes pleasurable sensations, affects brain serotonin levels, which is a feel-good hormone, and enhances the libido."
Women are reported to be more susceptible to the effects of phenylethylamine and increased levels of serotonin induced by it.
Kassier said marketing of libido enhancers has resulted in the placebo effect on many users.
"If one believes that something will enhance virility and pleasure, it could possibly do that."