June 17, 2022 4:33 pm

Ever wonder what are aphrodisiac food? and do they work? We will discuss these in this episode with Amy Reiley. America’s leading aphrodisiac food authority.

We will cover:

  • What is an aphrodisiac food,
  • The best foods to serve at a romantic dinner,
  • Best foods for men's sexual health and proof that the food work!

Listen to find some tips on how to spice up your date night.

Aphrodisiac Foods Episode Contents

Aphrodisiac Foods Episode Video

Introducing Amy Reiley

Anne: Well, how would you like to know what type of aphrodisiac food to eat that will really turn on your partner from a renowned aphrodisiac expert who is trained in France by the culinary temple, the Cordon Bleu, an author of five books and a renowned speaker? Well, I'm here today with Amy Reiley. She is an aphrodisiac food expert. Who's going to show us what type of food that are aphrodisiac and what type of meal prep that you can prepare for that romantic dinner. So, Amy, tell us about how you got started on aphrodisiac food and how was your story?

Amy: Well, hi there. I started writing about aphrodisiac because I was working as a wine writer and I wanted to make more money. And I just wanted to find, I wanted to find a topic in the food world that was interesting to me and I could… Then I could broaden the topics I could write about because I was working as a freelance writer. There were more stories I could sell and I chose the topic of aphrodisiacs because number one, there was hardly anyone writing or talking about it. So, it was no competition and also it was a challenge because there was a lack of research and a lack of information. And I liked that challenge. So here I am.

Do Aphrodisiac Foods Really Work?

Do Aphrodisiac Foods Really Work?
Photographer: Icons8 Team

Anne: Well you're absolutely right there. Not a lot of people that talk about aphrodisiac food. A lot of myth, but not from a culinary expert, who's trained in France in culinary school so that means a lot. So I heard a really interesting story about how you truly show that these aphrodisiac food actually really work. Tell us about it.

Amy: Yeah, they do. It's funny people always ask me that, "Do aphrodisiacs really work?" And well, I have a little bit of proof, which is that I was single when I was writing my first cookbook, which is called, Fork Me, Spoon Me. I had a friend who was male and he was a bachelor and I knew he didn't really know how to cook. And when you're writing a cookbook, you test recipes over and over and over. So you have a lot of food left over and it's probably the same food you've been eating for days or weeks or whatever. And you just kind of don't want to eat it anymore.

So I was being nice. I would invite him over and say, "Hey, I have all this food. Why don't you come over and eat?" And I just kept inviting him over. And that's how we started dating.

Anne: Well, that's great. But also he became your husband, right?

Amy: He did. He then became my husband and when I was working on my next cookbook, Romancing the Stove, I got pregnant. So yeah, these recipes work at least for one person or a couple.

What Is An Aphrodisiac Food?

What Is An Aphrodisiac Food?
Photographer: Marcus Lange

Anne: And I love the titles of your book and you yourself have proven, "Hey, they work. I got married and I had a baby." So, that lead us into… So what is an aphrodisiac food?

Amy: So an aphrodisiac food, basically the very simplest definition is a food that increases sexual desire. I look at the definition as something a bit more broad than that. To me, there are… If you look historically at foods that have been considered aphrodisiac, there's so many more reasons and largely the foods that are historically considered aphrodisiac, we now understand they are foods that support sexual health. So, there aren't that many foods that kind of can promote sexual desire like in that moment, but there are so many foods that can help support sexual health and that have been historically aphrodisiac. And so I like to embrace all of these things as being aphrodisiac foods.

Top 5 Aphrodisiac Food

Anne: Yeah. So what are the top five aphrodisiac food?

Amy: Ooh, the top five. So I always tell people, number one, they are different for men and women. Our sexual hormones are different. Our nutritional needs are a little bit different. And so I do… I have a website called eatsomethingsexy.com. And on there we provide two lists, one of the 10 best foods for men's sexual health and a second with the 10 best foods for women's sexual health. So, to pick out five foods, it would be hard. Are we talking about men? Are we talking about women? Or are we just talking about, here are five foods you need to serve at a romantic dinner? Because those are probably not, they aren't necessarily going to be the foods that are on either the men's list or the women's list.

Lastly, it also depends on personal preference because I might tell you five foods and you hate three of them. Well, they're never going to work for you as an aphrodisiac.

You're just not going to enjoy them. They're not going to put you in the right frame of mind. If I tell you have to have oysters in champagne, my husband would… He would walk away. I wouldn't be seeing him again at the table for weeks if I told him that's what he had to eat, even though those two foods would probably be on my top five list. So yeah, it's complicated, is the answer.

Anne: Yeah. So, let's say in generality, let's say… We always hear eat oysters, watermelon, chocolates always been known as an aphrodisiac, right?


Amy: Right. So oysters are totally up there at the top of my list, but I know there are so many people who either have an allergy, an intolerance or just can't stand them and that's okay. But if you do like oysters, yes, they are not… They're oyster… And oyster is a sexy food and it's kind of a luxury food. And all of that can kind of put you in the right frame of mind. They also have a lot of nutrients that can support your sexual health. So, absolutely right at the top of my list.


Amy: Chocolate is really, really interesting food. It contains so many chemical compounds. We don't even understand chocolate yet to be honest. There is the potential… There are compounds in chocolate that potentially can help your sexual health and compounds in chocolate that can potentially kind of turn you on. Chocolate can also give you a boost of energy because it does contain a caffeine like compound as well. So chocolate is potentially great.

It's not knowing how much chocolate you would need to eat to experience most of these effects. And so, we kind of say with chocolate, it's probably more the power of persuasion, that power of suggestion, and simply the fact that it's delicious and creamy and melty and wonderful so there's that. Now we did put dark chocolate on our list of the 10 best foods for women's sexual health. And you'll have to go to eatsomethingsexy.com to find out why. But other foods that I would put on my list of great aphrodisiacs chili peppers. Some people are always surprised by chili peppers. One of the best foods, especially if you're planning a romantic dinner and keep in mind, you have to think about, does that person across the table from you or beside you, however you set up your table, do they like spice?

Because if they don't like spice, do not take this advice. You will just… It will be a terrible evening, but if they enjoy spice, chili peppers, raise your body temperature, they make your tongue tingle. They make your lips plump up slightly so you look more kissable. They can kind of make your cheeks flush and you just kind of look excited. If you eat enough of them, you can even get an endorphin rush, like a runner's high. And you just feel like you can take on the world. All of that can help lead you from the table to the bedroom. So, chili is right up there. If you don't like spice that much, you can always try ginger. It does a lot of the same things. It's chili, but it's more subtle. So those are all on the list.


Anne: How does ginger work as an aphrodisiac? That's the first I've heard of ginger as aphrodisiac.

Amy: So similarly to chilies, it will raise your body temperatures to warming spice. It will raise your body temperature, make your tongue tingle and it will make your lips plump a little bit. Also, ginger also has the bonus.

It's such a healthy ingredient. It can also aid in digestion, which we don't think about is quite important.

If you're having a romantic meal, you don't want to have heavy things that you can't digest or things that are… That can be upsetting to your digestive system. So a little ginger in there's always a good idea.


Anne: That's actually a great idea. And how does… And you're also a wine expert as well. You are judge at wine competitions. So, how does wine kind of add into these aphrodisiac food? Does it pick it up another level or not? Or does it really make you more relaxed?

Amy: So, all alcohol is considered aphrodisiac for the simple fact that it all lowers inhibitions. Of course, there's the other side of that, where if you overindulge, like things go south very quickly. So, with alcohol, you always have to find the right balance. That's part of the reason wine is a good choice because it's lower in alcohol than hard liquor. I always recommend champagne or sparkling wine. That is my personal choice because first of all, it feels celebratory, it feels fun. Those bubbles hit your bloodstream and you have that bit of giddiness as you're drinking it.

The other great part is because those bubbles hit your bloodstream and you feel the effects of the alcohol quite quickly people tend to drink a little less. Its kind of like this built in moderation when you're drinking sparkling wine and champagne. And so I do recommend it for romantic occasions for all of those reasons. And by the way, there's some evidence that sparkling wines can support brain health. So, it may be making you a smarter, more creative lover while you're drinking it. So there's another good reason to enjoy it.

Anne: Right. So, in generality, let's say for someone that is pretty open-minded about different type of food, what are the top, three to five food data, aphrodisiac say someone that liked chili and kind of like open like me. I like to try a little bit of everything. I have no particular type of allergy.

Caviar And Other Exotic Foods

Amy: Like the super weird foods, or… Because I went to Aruba and they said to me, and even though you're actually not supposed to eat iguana in Aruba. I was sent by the publicist for the island of Aruba told me go to see this food truck because you have to experience the Aruban aphrodisiac which was Iguana soup.

So, there are some crazy ones out there, but if you want something, that's just maybe for a slightly more adventurous either… I always recommend instead of beef or lamb… If you want red meat instead of beef for lamb, try wild game. Bison, wild bore… Something and it's because it actually is… It is aphrodisiac. It's a source of meat that's more supportive of your sexual health than beef and lamb. It's lower in saturated fat, it's giving you this good leaner protein that you need for sexual performance so that's a fun one. Let's see what else? How exotic do you want me to go?

Anne: Oh, as exotic as you can. Turn it up to level 10.

Amy: Gosh. There are… I will say there are a lot of famous aphrodisiacs that are endangered animals. And with all of them, there is no proof. There's nothing about a shark fin that will improve your sex life. Same thing with a rhino horn. Those things are… It's so terrible that has happened and it's just because it's rarities things that are luxury and rarity. Some of them, you should just stay away from. Caviar on the other hand, amazing aphrodisiac. Did you know caviar will increase nitric oxide levels?

Anne: Oh, I did not know that.
Amy: Yes. So for men, especially.
Anne: Nitric oxide increases blood flow. The same way Viagra increase blood flood.
Amy: Yes.
Anne: Viagra increase blood flow.

Amy: Yes. It increases. It's like nature's Viagra. And also, it's a type of egg, which is a symbol of fertility, which was historically why it was considered aphrodisiac and now we understand. It's got really got something to offer.

Anne: That's right. That's probably why it's so expensive. I mean, there's some caviar, you buy a little bit… A jar and it's a $100 dollars and yeah, you are right. So any type of food that increases nitric oxide or has L-arginine, L-citrulline like watermelon.

Amy: Watermelon, honey. People forget, honey will do that as well. Yeah.

Anne: Yeah, absolutely. By us how Viagra works is increase availability of natural outside availability in the muscles of the genital and that's how it helped with an erection. But instead of taking Viagra, you can actually stimulate it naturally by the food that you eat, like these aphrodisiac food that can increase L-citrulline or L-arginine, which then increases nitric oxide production. Like you said, like caviar. Yeah, you're right. I've heard of it, but I haven't thought about it. Recently, but don't forget also that the brain is a larger sexual organ. Right. And that's why food can be stimulatory because you're using your senses, taste as a stimulatory, for into your brain to start arousal because it… There nothing's going to work below the belt if you don't start from here. I know. Yeah. Everything starts here.

Getting Into The Mindset Or Mood

Getting Into The Mindset Or Mood
Photographer: Milan Popovic

Anne: I tell my patient that if this doesn't start relaxing and start be getting aroused and being in the mood, nothing going to work below the belt. If the sexual response starts here, with visual stimulation, smell, taste, sound and mindset. Mindset just to be in the mood, to be in the moment, to be relaxed. I believe it or not in order for you to have… Be aroused and to be able to have an erection or to be aroused for a woman or man, you have to be relaxed or be in the parasympathetic state.

How often do you hear like, "Oh, I'm stressed. I'm not going to be able… I don't have time for sexual activity." And you're not going to enjoy it because you're just not in that mindset. And that's how food and romantic dinner kind of set you in that mindset with the senses and the mood and the ambience as well.

Amy’s Second Book – Dishes That Can Pull You Into The Moment

Amy: So in my second book, Romancing the Stove, we took that one step further and said, how can we make the foods a part of putting you in that mindset other than putting in suggestive ingredients or the things that I talked about. So what we did was I, wherever possible the recipes have multiple textures and multiple temperatures in the same dish to kind of pull you into the moment more and give you this sensory experience to help you stop and appreciate this moment and the food and the person with you.

Anne: Right. And something to know… And you had mentioned this earlier, is that food that are good for sexual health are usually low fat and more natural ingredient and non-processed food, because if you eat high carbs, processed food, that actually contribute more to high fat content, which then contribute to atherosclerotic heart disease or proof of vascular disease, which then can contribute to decreased blood flow. So, lean meat and vegetables and more of-

Amy: Less cream sauces, more light dressings and all of it.
Anne: Right. And not a hamburger with french fries.

Amy: No. Occasionally, but it's certainly not for a romantic occasion and it's not an everyday thing. Yeah.

Anne: Right. But certainly strawberry or chocolate sounds pretty healthy, right?
Amy: Yes.
Anne: Yeah. Strawberry is an aphrodisiac too.

Amy: Strawberry is an… Not only an aphrodisiac, but we put it on the list of the 10 best foods for women because it's got a fair number of nutrients that will help support women's sexual health. So strawberries are great. That's a great one.

Romantic Dinner Advice

Anne: Yeah. Absolutely. So what advice would you have for a man in preparing a romantic dinner? What type of kind of dish would you kind of… Of course, she could look at your book and go on your website to get the book, but just a dish that you would recommend that he can prepare. And is it going to take some time and is it going to take a lot of time to prepare at all?

Okay. So first of all, I'm going to say there is no shame in takeout.

Amy: If you don't feel up to making the dinner, you should still make the effort of having the other person over. But it's what you do with that takeout that's important. It's setting the scene. It's making it all feel special, making the… Putting the takeout onto a plate and making it look… Putting your signature on it and setting the table. And what is the music and all of those things and putting your phone away.

Anne: What type of food should he get at the takeout?

Amy: Well, it depends on what the person that he is preparing this meal for. What likes… If they just love Chinese fried rice, then get them fried rice. You know what I mean? It's something that I do recommend, as we said, try to stick with lighter foods. Do not serve a big steak and a baked potato because generally after a big steak and baked potato, you just want to go to sleep. Don't put someone to sleep with your meal. And there is a recipe if you're feeling like cooking, I also recommend. Think about things that can be made in advance or partially made in advance. For example, I have a recipe in my cookbook called moist mango meatloaf.

Amy: You wouldn't think of meatloaf as romantic. It's a Turkey meatloaf, but it's got mango in it, which is one of the world's sexiest foods and it's so good. It's so good. It is worthy of a romantic dinner. But the great thing is you could make it the night before, put it in your fridge, then get home from work, turn on the oven and put it in the oven. You are not stressed out.

You are… You're not wasting your energy on the panic of sauteing something or something that just doesn't come out right. Make a sinful salad to go with it. And you're just cool as a cucumber and you are ready to… You are thinking about other things, you're thinking about all the ways you can seduce this person and you have this amazing meatloaf that believe it or not is layered with aphrodisiac ingredients.

About Our Guest, Amy Reiley

Amy Reiley is best known as an authority on aphrodisiac foods. But she is also a speaker, cookbook author and consultant as well as a freelance wine writer and wine competition judge.

In 2004, she became the second American to earn a Master of Arts (MA) in Gastronomy awarded by France’s culinary temple, Le Cordon Bleu.
While at Cordon Bleu, Amy rose to prominence for her work in culinary aphrodisiacs. In 2006, Amy releases her first book, Fork Me, Spoon Me: the sensual cookbook, cementing her role as America’s leading aphrodisiac food authority.

Amy regularly speaks and consults on the topic of aphrodisiacs and has appeared on The Today Show, CBS Early Show, Nightline and even Playboy TV–you’ll recognize her as the one wearing clothing.

In June 2005, Reiley was singled out as one of the five best female wine professionals in the world of the year by France’s Wine Women Awards. And she currently contributes to the wine section of Gayot.com. An internationally recognized journalist, Amy has shared her food and wine knowledge in such publications as Variety, Sunset, The Daily Meal, Los Angeles and Las Vegas magazines.

Amy’s second book, Chile Aphrodisia by Rio Nuevo press, was released in June 2006. Her other books include Romancing the Stove: the unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods and The Love Diet. Amy’s latest book, Eat Cake Naked: aphrodisiac desserts to heat up your love life, co-authored by nutrition expert Delahna Flagg, became an Amazon bestseller in its first week.

Amy lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she works for Rock & Wrap it Up! as a sustainability coordinator. She helps film and television studios including Universal, Netflix and WarnerMedia donate leftover catering to those in need rather than let it go in the trash. These food recovery efforts give her a broad perspective on the social and environmental impact of the food industry.

Amy Reiley's Eat Something Sexy – spicing up your love life

Eat Something Sexy

I tweet @forkmespoonme
Find my recipes on Pinterest: Amy Reiley (ForkMeSpoonMe) – Profile | Pinterest

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