A dozen long-stemmed roses are on the table. The candles are lit, the wine is poured a box of chocolates are on hand. Soft music is playing in the background and you hope this is the start to a romantic evening with your Valentine. But what foods should you serve to help ensure the romance? Are there such things as aphrodisiacs?
Are they real?
Named for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, aphrodisiacs are substances — including food or drink — that are believed to have the effect of increasing sexual desire.
Although required biologically, food also served a psychological purpose. For centuries it has been debated whether aphrodisiac abilities really exist or whether they are all in our mind.
A Psychology Today article by Dr. Frank Lawlis calls upon modern science to determine that aphrodisiacs may be more truth than myth. Lawlis says biological benefits of many foods, contribute to sexual pleasure.
Foods considered aphrodisiacs
Many foods are considered aphrodisiacs. Eat Something Sexy provides readers with an alphabetical guide to aphrodisiac foods.
Some on the list, like apples, bananas, coffee, tomatoes and watermelon seem ordinary, nothing sexy about them. But many foods like oysters, conch, sea urchin and shark sound more exotic, but share the similar benefits as their more basic counterparts – they have nutrients and benefits that may contribute to increased sexual desire.
For example, oysters — perhaps the most famous aphrodisiac — are high in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Zinc increases sperm count while the omega-3s improve nervous system function. Both benefits contribute to increased sexual desire.
The apple’s high pectin content delivers a steady amount of energy need to you through vigorous activity, unlike sugar that creates a quick burst of energy followed by a letdown.
In 2008, researchers at Texas A&M discovered that watermelon contains citrulline, a nutrient that has the power to relax blood vessels, similar to Viagra does. It isn’t clear how much watermelon you have to consume to benefit from the properties, but the studies continue.
Asparagus and avocados help produce hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. Bananas, high in potassium, help build muscle strength. Red wine contains an antioxidant that increases blood flow, when consumed in moderation. Soy and papaya are estrogenic and act as the female hormone estrogen.
When you plan your Valentine’s Day menu, consider using some of these savory recipes to help ensure your evening is a romantic one.