With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our thoughts turn to adding a little more love and romance to our lives. Can certain foods boost romantic relationships and enhance sexual desire? According to St. Thomas Aquinas, aphrodisiac foods had to produce good nutrition and a “vital spirit.” In other words, the nutrients that contribute to overall well-being will also help to ensure a healthy love life. Chocolate is typically at the top of my list for Valentine’s Day, particularly dark chocolate. It truly is one of the best superfoods for lovers. Dark chocolate can help relieve stress, sharpen our minds, improve blood flow and even aid weight loss. Read more about the great benefits of chocolate, and where to find some delicious varieties in my 6 Super Reasons (Excuses) To Love Chocolate. But chocolate is not the only food that can boost the libido, here are 12 suggestions that are not only delicious, but will help keep romance in your life:
Rich in heart-healthy, energy-boosting monounsaturated fats, avocados help keep blood flowing to all the right places. According to the Prevention website, they’re full of libido-boosting vitamin B6,folic acid, and vitamin E, which is often called the “sex vitamin” due to its youth-boosting antioxidant properties and ability to increase oxygen and blood flow.
Both contain energy-boosting protein and are rich in trace minerals that are important for sexual health and reproduction, such as zinc, selenium, and vitamin E. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids that keep blood flowing to where it needs to be.
Red, ripe, heart-shaped strawberries are an excellent source of folic acid, a nutrient that helps ward off birth defects and has also been associated with higher sperm counts. And what could me more romantic than strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and shared with a loved one?
Watermelon may be 92 percent water, but the remaining 8 percent is packed with compounds that can keep your love life vibrant. Research out of Texas A&M University suggests that the lycopene, citrulline, and beta-carotene all found in watermelon may relax blood vessels, which is similar to how medications such as Viagra® work.
Oysters are traditionally considered ‘aphrodisiac’ and they happen to be one of the best sources for zinc, a mineral necessary for testosterone production. Oysters also contain a good amount of vitamin B-12, which helps keep blood vessels elastic and free-flowing. Oily fish like wild salmon and herring contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats which help keep your heart pumping and can also raise dopamine (feel-good) levels in the brain. For a heart-healthy, romantic meal, try preparing Salmon with Ginger Apricot Sauce from my book, The Age BEAUTIFULLY Cookbook.
Arugula contains trace minerals and antioxidants that block absorption of environmental contaminants that can negatively impact libido. Iceberg lettuce, besides being a slimming food, contains an opiate that helps to activate sex hormones, according to Jenna Birch of Fitness The recipe for Arugula and Radicchio Salad (see Recipe below) from The Aging BEAUTIFULLY Cookbook is colorful and satisfying.
Sometimes, it’s the shape of a certain food that accounts for its sex drive boosting appeal. In addition to its appearance, asparagus contains plenty of folate and vitamin B6, which can boost reproductive health. Serve Citrusy Asparagus from my Age BEAUTIFULLY Cookbook and you’ll be packing a lot of romance-enhancer into the meal!
Full of folic acid, broccoli is also a good source of vitamin C, which aids blood circulation to organs and, according to dietitian Keri Glassman, provides a boost to female libido.
Figs are a sexy fruit due in no small part due to their appearance. They are also said to aid fertility, enhance the secretion of pheromones and their fiber is important for heart health. Try the Fig Salad from my Age GRACEFULLY Cookbook. Slightly sweet and tart, it can be either a dessert or an appetizer.
Any citrus fruit is rich antioxidants, vitamin C, and folic acid, all of which are essential for health. The passionate color in red-fleshed citrus such as ruby grapefruit and blood oranges indicates the presence of a high level of lycopene, a carotenoid associated with reduced risk of prostate and other cancers. Try my recipes for Spinach and Grapefruit Salad and Citrusy Asparagus and feel the love. If you love arugula like I do, try serving this salad at your next romantic dinner. There are so many other benefits, too:
Arugula and Radicchio Salad
Arugula and radicchio are bitter lettuces that taste great with a sweet pomegranate molasses dressing. Pomegranate molasses is made by boiling down pomegranate juice into a syrup. A few ounces of goat cheese are excellent on this salad. Arugula has isothiocyanates and indoles, two powerful cancer-protective compounds. Radicchio contains lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant, and lutein for eye and skin health. The anthocyanins in pomegranate inhibit the growth of cancer cells and improve capillary function for beautiful skin.
Chef’s Note: To make a pomegranate molasses with a less concentrated pomegranate flavor, mix ½ cup pomegranate juice with 3 Tbs. molasses.
Ingredients Serves 4
4 cups whole arugula leaves
1 cup shredded radicchio leaves
¼ cup shaved fennel
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
4 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. crushed garlic
1–2 tsp. sea salt or salt substitute
¼ tsp. black pepper
- Make the dressing: Whisk the pomegranate molasses, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper until the molasses is well incorporated. Chill in the refrigerator for 1–2 hours.
- Assemble the salad: Toss the arugula, radicchio, and fennel. Place in bowls and sprinkle with the walnuts and raisins. Serve with the dressing on the side.
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GRACE O is the creator of FoodTrients®, a unique program for optimizing wellness and longevity. She is the author of two award-winning cookbooks – The Age Gracefully Cookbook and The Age Beautifully Cookbook, which recently won the National award for Innovation from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She is a fusion chef with a mission to deliver delicious recipes built on a foundation of anti-aging science and her 20 years in the healthcare industry. Visit FoodTrients.com to learn more. Email us at email@example.com