By Kate Carter
Beetroot. The root of the beet. Beta vulgaris. Doesn't exactly resonate with romance, does it? But actually, since Roman times beetroot has been considered a potent aphrodisiac. Murals featuring beetroot have been found on the walls of Pompeii's brothels, and seeds and other traces uncovered in the excavations there (insert your own Vesuvius eruption gag here).
The plant's aphrodisiac qualities have been attributed to high levels of the mineral boron, which is thought to play a key role in the production of human sex hormones. So forget your oysters and your ginseng, beetroot is the true food of Aphrodite.