What do eating avocados, bananas, chocolate, honey, and asparagus have in common? Well first off, that procrastinating sentimentalists hoping for a romantic night this Valentine’s Day should put them on the menu.
Better answer: research shows chemical compounds found in these foods create an atmosphere conducive to lovemaking.
“The first thing that comes to mind when I think of an aphrodisiac is seafood and wine or champagne. The reason behind this is because it’s an item that is served on many romantic special occasions,” said Garret Ahlstrom, a senior Food and Consumer Packaged Goods Marketing major at Haworth College of Business.
Many people find fault with the chemical compound theory, though, and attribute aphrodisiac powers completely to atmosphere.
“I believe an aphrodisiac is a mind-over-matter situation. It’s not the type of food that is served. It is more of the atmosphere that is given off around you,” said Ahlstrom.
Some social practices and traditions also often make people associate certain foods with romance.
“[Also], the type of situations like being given a box of heart shaped chocolate on Valentine’s Day that is a ‘norm’ in today’s society, as well as many generations before us,” said Ahlstrom.
In other words, it’s all in your head.
“I have no idea whether they work – I think it’s the act of giving the gift rather than the aphrodisiac itself. I don’t know about the science behind it but I think it’s more about the gift,” said Doug Wheelright, also a senior Food and Consumer Packaged Goods Marketing major at the Haworth College of Business.
Others said they think the shapes of certain foods can lead to their aphrodisiac tendencies.
“Overall, an aphrodisiac is something that creates sexual desire; like a romantic sit down dinner, or a box of chocolate and a dozen roses. Yes, people claim that it is the chemicals inside the food creates this aphrodisiac, but in my opinion it could also be related to the shape of the food. Take an oyster or even a banana for example; what do these two items resemble on the human body?” said Ahlstrom.
Whether or not people consciously notice the phallic and vaginal shapes of aphrodisiacs, though, is questionable.
Despite the fact that many aphrodisiacs are found in the produce section of your local grocery store, most food companies sell mass amounts of chocolate as the most desirable aphrodisiac for Valentine’s Day.
“I think the reason companies sell chocolates [rather than other aphrodisiacs] is because it tastes good and it is easy to eat. The reason you wouldn’t sell an avocado is because it isn’t a treat. I don’t think of chocolate as an aphrodisiac, but it is more of a treat. I think because when you eat chocolate it makes you happy, and Valentine’s Day is a day when you make your significant other happy, chocolate is an easy way to do that,” said Wheelright.
Whether or not truffles, lobster and abalone really do get people in the mood is debatable, but its worth a try this Valentine’s Day.
“What one desires in their mind to be an aphrodisiac, is indeed, their own aphrodisiac,” said Ahlstrom.