Chillies are rumoured to have a powerful aphrodisiac effect.
Chillies are rumoured to have a powerful aphrodisiac effect. iStock

Food to get you in the mood

CHOCOLATE, oysters and chillies are well-known foods rumoured to help get you in the mood.

But watermelons, celery, pomegranate and rocket may also experience an increased demand coming up to Valentine's Day, with rumours of their aphrodisiac powers.

Watermelon's apparent aphrodisiac powers are less well-known, but are rumoured to be because the fruit contains the amino-acid, citrulline.

Citrulline can help relax the blood vessels, having a similar affect to Viagra.

However, Senior Lecturer for Food Science at the University of Southern Queensland, Dr Polly Burey, said the aphrodisiac effects of these foods was all about perception.

"There is no food that has actually been proven to have an actual aphrodisiac affect," Dr Burey said.

"Even if you ate the entire watermelon, it still might not be a high enough amount (of citrulline) to have an aphrodisiac effect.

"In 100g of watermelon there is just 115 milligrams of citrulline.

"Things like chilli can feel like an aphrodisiac by causing similar physiological affects.

"It can cause your heart rate to lift and your temperature to rise. As can other (more romantic) things."

According to Dr Burey, the power of aphrodisiac foods may not be as strong as the power of suggestion.

"It's a perceived effect rather than an actual effect," she said.

"The power of suggestion can be quite strong.

"And just thinking something might have an aphrodisiac affect can cause it to happen."