As it turns out, they do. Nutrition experts say that aphrodisiacs do have some science to them, although that doesn’t mean that there are foods which automatically heighten sexual desire.
“Food can act as an aphrodisiac in several ways,” Dr. Lauri Wright, spokesperson for the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and associate professor at the University of North Florida, told Salon by email. “Some foods relax blood vessels and improve blood flow to the genitals, similar to Viagra. Foods that increase blood flow include red wine, dark chocolate, strawberries, beef, walnuts and avocado. Individuals that don’t have compromised circulation won’t see any changes from consuming these foods.”
She added that, in the case of foods like chocolate, caviar and oysters, which pop culture has accepted as aphrodisiacs, “there is no scientific evidence to support” the belief that they are, and “in fact, no evidence has shown that there is any food that heightens sexual desire.” She said that “one ‘food’ that has been shown to increase sexual arousal is alcohol, by decreasing inhibitions. The downside however is alcohol can decrease sexual performance.”