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According to the ancient Greeks, the apple represented abundance and fertility. In some quarters, it was customary for a bride to eat an apple on her wedding night. This was believed to ensure sexual desire, as well as fertility leading to babies.
You might think that's all a silly superstition. But Italian researchers discovered women who eat an apple a day may in fact enjoy better sexual function.
Doctors in Trento, Italy, recruited 731 healthy sexually active Italian women, not complaining of any sexual disorders. The women were aged 18 to 43. Each woman completed the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire. The FSFI is designed to assess certain aspects of sexual functioning (e.g. sexual arousal, orgasm, satisfaction, pain) in clinical trials.
The participants also reported their daily apple consumption and their eating habits. Based on their apple eating, the women were split into two groups. One group ate at least an apple every day. The other group did not eat apples regularly.
According to the researchers, the women who ate a daily apple scored significantly higher on the FSFI sexual function index.
How could an apple improve a woman's sexual function?
The authors acknowledged studies showing a link between phytoestrogens, polyphenols, antioxidants and women's sexual health. Apples have an abundance of all three.
Phytoestrogens are weak plant compounds that have an estrogenic effect on the body. Polyphenols and antioxidants have a positive effect on reducing inflammation and increasing circulation of the blood.
But it's not just a daily apple that has this beneficial effect on women.
Previously Italian researchers found a daily glass or two of red wine also works.
They recruited 798 healthy women living in the Chianti area of Tuscany. The women, aged 18 to 50, were divided into three groups. The groups consisted of teetotalers; daily moderate drinkers of one to two glasses of red wine; or occasional drinkers or those taking more than 2 glasses of red wine or other alcohol per day.
They found that moderate red wine drinkers had significantly better sexual function. They scored higher on the FSFI questionnaire for sexual desire, lubrication, and overall sexual function than the other two groups.
Like apples, red wine is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants. In addition, it contains a high concentration of resveratrol which is actually a form of estrogen.
But the Italian researchers didn't stop there...
Yet another team recruited 153 women around Milan in Northern Italy to report on sex and chocolate. They found women who reported daily chocolate intake had significantly higher total FSFI scores as well as higher scores on sexual desire.
Like apples and red wine, chocolate is high in phytoestrogens, polyphenols and antioxidants. Chocolate is also rich in magnesium which soothes nerves and relaxes muscles. It also contains a compound called phenylethylamine which releases the same endorphins that flood the body during sex.
Apples, red wine and chocolate make a great recipe for better sex. Maybe even better than sex? For more information on libido enhancement visit our aphrodisiac research page.