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Sensuous bites: 6 foods to dine your way to great sex

Amy Reiley, a Le Cordon Bleu Master of Gastronomy awarded by Le Cordon Bleu, is considered the leading American authority on aphrodisiac foods. She is the author of Fork Me, Spoon Me: the sensual cookbook.

Sexy foods for love

Just think of aphrodisiac foods as the culinary world's love vitamins, and you'll be well on your way to nirvana. Here's a look at a small sampling of nature's gifts for enhancing your life between the sheets.

Woman and Pepper

Chili peppers

Chili's potent effects are almost immediate. Chili peppers release endorphins, causing the high of extreme physical exertion — a floating, energized feeling so powerful in its pleasure that it can cause addiction to spicy cuisine. They also increase heart rate, doubling the pleasure of a mealtime rendezvous.
Swiss Cheese

Cheese

Embraced in Italian culture as an aphrodisiac, cheese contains ten times as much PEA (phenyl ethylamine) — believed to release the same rush of hormones as sexual intercourse — as does chocolate, the world's most famous aphrodisiac. And all it takes is the time to digest to enjoy cheese's pleasure principles.

Vanilla

Vanilla's power is aroma. Before a vanilla-spiked morsel even hits the tongue, the hypothalamus — the gland that controls memory and emotion — jumps into action. Dropped into bath water, vanilla will transform the body into sensuous mind tease. (Girls -- take note: in scientific studies, vanilla has proven most effective on older men. Did anyone say Sugar Daddy?)

Ginger

You know that almost stinging spiciness you initially feel when you pop a piece of ginger in your mouth? This irritant is so successful in puffing lips to their most kissable, it's the secret ingredient in most lip-plumping glosses. Ginger also has the ability to increase circulation — to every part of the body. Try popping a chunk of crystallized ginger and feel this wonder drug's immediate effects.

Figs

Summer's most sensual fruit is thought by some historians to be the true forbidden fruit that tempted Eve into sin. FigsIts sexy reputation comes in part from appearance -- the pink flesh of a ripe fig is said to resemble a woman's most private parts. But figs are also an excellent source of iron and potassium, two nutrients essential for keeping in peak sexual health.

Honey

A sweet decadence colored the hue of royalty and wealth, golden honey is energy-boosting syrup. The Nectar of Aphrodite, this all-natural sweetener is at the root of the term "honeymoon." Even in its creation, honey's lore is that of pure romance. Culled by honeybees, it is created from the nectar of flowers, the ultimate emblem of sexual ripeness.

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