Love potions have been capturing our imaginations for centuries, as every generation becomes entranced with the fairy tales and legends where these love charms live.
But love tonics don’t have to just be the stuff of far-away fairy tales. There are actually a lot of everyday foods you perhaps already unwittingly pick up on the weekly supermarket haul that can make you feel more attractive and even tempt feelings of passion.
The great thing is they’re usually inexpensive to buy and are a great addition to a balanced, healthy diet, too. So it’s win-win all round!
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It's luxurious and lovely and can be used in all sorts of dishes, including to cool down a curry. But a simple tub of Greek yogurt is also said to help spice things up in your love life. It got its aphrodisiac status thanks to a Greek honeymooning tradition where newlyweds were encouraged to eat the local yogurt alongside walnuts.
As well as contributing to your love life, yogurt also contains bacteria that benefits your gut, helping look after your immune system, your general health, and even your mood.
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You might not think much about the sweet stuff you swirl over your cereal or stir in your tea, but ancient civilizations considered it to be a strong aphrodisiac. As well as providing energy, honey — or actually boron, which honey contains — was thought to be responsible for raising testosterone levels in a 2011 study. Add it to smoothies, over desserts, or stir it into your coffee.
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Figs have developed a saucy reputation over the years as Cleopatra, one of the best known seductresses of ancient history, is thought to have eaten a lot of them. And scientifically speaking, figs do contain potassium, which is good for the heart as well as zinc, which a study in 2009 showed to be linked to how hot things get in the bedroom.
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Forget strawberries dipped in chocolate, it’s actually carrots you should be feasting on for a taste of passion. According to American expert Brian Clement, carrots contain vitamins (especially A and E) which are important for keeping our estrogen and testosterone levels healthy. They're also good for helping you see in the dark, which is pretty useful.
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The nuts that you whizz up into pesto? Really? Well, yes. Ovid, the Roman poet who wrote The Art of Love reckoned that you should make up a concoction including the "nuts of the sharp-leafed pine tree" to get you in the mood. Pine nuts do actually contain magnesium which can help balance the sex hormones in both men and women.
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The Aztecs were the first ones to link this unsuspecting fruit to passion, when they spotted the resemblance between the way the fruit dangled from the trees in pairs and well, something else.... But is it all down to the looks? Well, avocados, like figs, are rich in potassium and also B vitamins, which can help you to get that loving feeling.
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It’s the world’s most expensive spice, which means it does feel special and ever so slightly naughty to eat. But studies from Canada also say it could make your date ever more exciting.
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It certainly seemed to help Baby in Dirty Dancing and the science backs this up, too. Watermelons contain something called citrulline that improves blood flow, helping things along when you're up for a bit of what you fancy.
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Who doesn’t love the heady scent of vanilla? And according to Neurologist Alan Hirsch, it's one of the best aromas to help in the bedroom, along with buttered popcorn, pumpkin pie, and orange. So no need for expensive perfumes — just whip up a vanilla cheesecake, instead.
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This curly salad leaf has been thought to be an aphrodisiac since at least Roman times. It’s mentioned in ancient Roman literature as a "hot" food which they believed could ignite passions, and was associated in poems with the rather well-endowed Roman God of Fertility, Priapus.
And actually, arugula is a nutritional powerhouse, providing important nutrients such as vitamins A and C.