It has been said time and time again that if you want to get frisky, order the oysters. It is the delicacy that is a staple on valentines day and often makes an appearance on anniversaries. The rumour of this aphrodisiac is one that has been around for many, many years and likely started with the 18th century lover Casanova who is believed to have eaten 50 oysters for breakfast in order to keep up his sexual vitality.
Oysters are 50% protein, 26% fat and rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Their high protein content makes them great for weight loss, and the rich omega 3 content makes them excellent for brain health and joint pains. Oysters are an excellent source of zinc, copper, selenium, and B12. Oysters can be an excellent aid to preventing the cold and flu (rich in zinc and vitamin C), great for your antioxidant profile and thyroid health (selenium), and maybe even great for your sex life. If you can handle the texture of an oyster, and you have access to the beauties, take advantage of their benefits.
The aphrodisiac quality of oysters is believed to go back centuries, with old wives’ tales claiming that oysters stimulate the libido and enhance desire. Previous speculation about the powers of oysters is believed to stem from their high zinc content which is necessary for strong male fertility. However, it is unlikely that the zinc boost in oysters provides an immediate increase in libido. Further speculation about their aphrodisiac quality comes from their slippery, silky texture, and their sexual appearance. Many believe that their appearance and texture provides a sensual experience that can heighten your senses and increase your imagination.
A more recent, and more scientific explanation for the aphrodisiac quality of oysters comes from the identification of two amino acids, D-aspartic acid, and N-methyl-D-aspartate. Investigations into these amino acids shows that when they are injected into rats, it triggers a chain reaction of hormones that ends with the production of testosterone in males and progesterone in females. Increased levels of these hormones in the blood can mean that you are more sexually active.
Spring oysters and raw oysters are considered the best for their aphrodisiac quality, as this is the time that oysters are mating, and when these amino acids are highest.
Enjoy them raw, or check out our May recipe for an excellent oyster dish.
Written by Samantha Mainland